Relationship Forum: Working With An Ex

Relationship forum: working with an Ex is the latest instalment of our relationship forum post. You can go here our Relationship Help Forum page to see the other stories. 

We explore real life relationship crisis stories and offer workable solutions to make life and relationships better. All identifiable details have been changed. Today's story features Cheryl * (not her real name) who has to work with her ex. Here's an edited version of what she said:

Relationship forum: working with an ex

Dear Anne, I would love to follow these steps. My relationship is a little different though. I have to work with my ex. I have to see him every day and hear him talk about all the fun things he is doing. While I go back and sit miserably alone at home. I find myself praying for the weekends to arrive quickly so I can have a couple of days of not having to hear or see him. But all I want to do is call him and hang out with him. 

The ex is still making things difficult

He keeps leading me on. He tells me things like: 'Well I need to make sure it will last for good before we go further'.  He also says he loves me and he knows he won’t get anyone better than me, that he couldn’t ask for more. 

If he really feels like that then why doesn’t he move me back in and make it work? I'm so confused by all this. It’s like he will say whatever he needs to, to make sure I still love him. Yet, he won’t make any kind of commitment to me. 

We have been together for four years. It has been such an on-again, off-again, up-and-down, roller coaster ride. I hate feeling so sad and depressed. I’m still young, pretty, fun, outgoing and I sit at home and cry all the time. I hate it. I cry at work, I cry driving down the road, I cry at random times.  Sometimes I can’t stop it, and sometimes I can tissue it and get it under control until I can get home and then here comes the rainfall!

I’ve recently signed up to walk in a Marathon hoping that would keep me busy and distracted, but it doesn’t.  All it does is make me want to go to him and tell him look, look at me I can move on and have fun too. But that's a lie. I’m not having fun, I just want to be with him and make everything better.

My response:

Dear Cheryl, I can see that you’ve got a problem. 
Your work and your home are the places in which you spend most of your time. Having to make yourself go into your office day in, day out with him there, must be very difficult indeed. 
I can see why you’re so upset. It’s not a perfect situation. I know you must've thought about this and scrapped the idea, but I just have to ask - isn’t there any way you could swap shifts or office with someone else? Is a transfer out of the question? Like I said, this is probably not possible. After all you shouldn’t have to do that. 

Making hard choices for peace of mind

However, if nothing else works, this may be your only choice. You can’t go on in your present state forever. What is more important to you, your state of mind or your job? You seem to be heading in the right direction, signing up for the marathon. Concentrate harder on this. 
Now to get to the problem. I don’t think that this man is having all the fun he’s letting on. I think that he’s making a lot of them up because he’s too immature to accept that the relationship has failed and he’s half to blame. 
You see, in making you think that he’s having a ball, is (in his mind) letting you know that his life is perfect and all the sadness that you’re feeling is because YOU were the one who was the failure (who caused the failure of the union). 
He’s the happy one, after all, ‘Look, I’m still having all this fun.’ Underneath, I’m sure he’s miserable too. No one can walk away after 4 years and not feel SOMETHING. However, this is obviously not a relationship that’s going to work. If after 4 years you can’t get it right, I have a feeling that the fifth year won’t bring any promises. 

Maybe the relationship was never meant to last

It will take time to heal. Four years is a long time to be with someone. Why did you two never marry? It seems as though you were never sure of each other. You lived together, but never made the commitment. I know that it’s not money, because my husband and I didn’t have any money for a wedding, and we got married anyway. 
Get on with your training and look at some of the steps I've already mentioned in the article. Working with him is always difficult. You HAVE to see him every day and this is not the recipe for getting over him. I’m sure that if this wasn’t the case, you'd be able to work on your pain a lot better. Take the week-end to sit down and write down all your options. Consider them carefully, then if you can, request to see your supervisor on Monday, to talk about what has happened and how you’re feeling. He or she may have a solution about the work thing, and would appreciate your honesty about your predicament.

What do you think about working with an ex? Have you ever had to do this before? How did you manage and what advice can you add to this? 

As always, thanks for visiting and please share Relationship Forum: Working With An Ex on your social networking sites. Don't forget to visit the Relationship Help Forum page for more real life relationship stories with solutions. 


Unknown December 31, 2012 at 11:34 PM  

I could not work with my ex and it was certainly tougher at the beginning of the break up. It would not be because I wanted to be with him, but because of the hurt. Wounds would have been re-opened. I agree with Anne that he most likely is not having the time of his life but saying that to save face. But his fun is not the issue here; yours is. You are a complete individual within yourself and you need to embrace who you are and move on. You have not given yourself time to realize what you truly enjoy if you are continually looking for happiness within someone else. Once you open your door to new and exciting things for yourself he will begin to fade from your thoughts. You will want the weekend to be here so you can indulge in your own interests. When someone is passionate about something in their life, it shows - they glow. You will become a beacon to someone who has similar interests and you will bond in a healthy way. In the meantime, love you.

Anne Lyken-Garner January 1, 2013 at 8:35 AM  

That's such a great response, Judy. The important thing here is to love and respect who you are. Like you said, a healthy relationship will come your way when you stop swimming against the tide - trying to milk the death out of a relationship that seems to have long since faded away.

ChopperPapa January 1, 2013 at 3:56 PM  

Her note makes me wonder if there is something she's leaving out. I just have to wonder if there is some physical aspect of their former relationship that remains.

Anne Lyken-Garner January 1, 2013 at 4:05 PM  

I get what you mean, CP. That could very well be the case. Either way, this man is leading her on in a most cruel way. Her best chance of getting over him is to recognise this.

Connor Harley January 2, 2013 at 6:39 AM  

Hi Anne, I think he's using you as a fail safe. Whenever things won't work out he wants you to always be there whenever he needs a backup. He's afraid of not having anyone but don't give him that privilege. Make take his own risk while you take your own.

Anne Lyken-Garner January 2, 2013 at 7:59 AM  

Another wonderful point, Connor. I'm the one writing the post, however, it's not my story. It's an edited story I shared from my relationship forum elsewhere.

Thanks for coming by and taking part in the discussion. I tried to click on your blog but nothing happens.

Harleena Singh January 2, 2013 at 3:28 PM  

Apt reply Anne!

I do feel bad for her and I strongly feel that things never really work out with your ex, no matter how much you try. She too keeps getting affected no matter what she tries to divert her mind or whatever she might do to get away from him.

I guess the answer lies in gradually weaning off from him and truly have your share of fun and live life - not to show him that you too can enjoy - but for your own inner-self, which comes foremost because it is YOUR life.

Thanks for sharing, and wishing you and your family a very happy and prosperous New Year too. :)

Anne Lyken-Garner January 2, 2013 at 3:56 PM  

Thanks for stopping by and leaving your advice, Harleena. I appreciate your input.

All the best for 2013 to you and yours too!

Anne Lyken-Garner is a published author, editor and freelance writer. Her specialities include relationships and confidence building. You can find her inspirational memoir here.
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