How to cope in the workplace during a relationship break-up


By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor  

Sara Davison is a life and business expert whose own personal experience led to her desire to specialise in heartbreak and divorce coaching, creating a unique programme to support individuals with the tools, techniques and advice needed to journey through break-up and divorce.

Here, she talks to  The London Economic, about how to cope in the workplace during a relationship break-up.

For most people juggling a career and a family home life can be tricky. It’s a real balancing act to spend quality time with those you love, managing to be there for the important school events and to combine it with hitting KPI’s and climbing the workplace ladder. So just imagine what happens to this precarious mix when relationship problems and break-ups are thrown in as well.

If you’re having a tough day at the office it’s almost inevitable that it will have some impact on your personal life. Everyone has his or her own way of dealing with stress. You may want to go home and vent about it to your partner, you may be snappy with your kids or you may find that you just close off and become distant. Whatever your coping strategy for dealing with stress those close to you will be able to pick up on it.

Of course the same applies if there are issues at home as you will take that stress with you to work. It’s hard to focus on achieving targets and motivating staff when you have a family crisis brewing at home. However often matters of the heart are more painful than issues at work. They often take priority in our thoughts and occupy our mind more. After all our romantic relationships are where we meet our human needs for feeling loved, secure and wanted. If that is jeopardised it can wreck havoc on the rest of our lives.

We seem to deal with problems in the workplace differently than we do at home. Normally you would arrange a meeting to resolve the issue calmly and logically. It would be considered unprofessional to snap or shout at a colleague. It would be unacceptable to make personal comments or bring up past issues that have long since been resolved. However these are all methods often used at home to get our point across.

A relationship break up can shake the very foundation of our sense of identity. It may be difficult to spot in the office though as many people will try their best to keep up a professional image and keep their private lives out of the workplace. However there will be tell tale signs that if you are observant you may notice. Five common symptoms that someone at work is suffering from heartbreak are:

  1. Unusually emotional
  2. More reserved and quiet than normal
  3. Spending more time in the office seeming reluctant to go home
  4. Sudden interest in going out after work and drinking
  5. A constant need to keep busy

It may not be appropriate to share your personal situation with people at work but make sure you do get help to deal with your break up. It’s important that you do deal with your emotions and not stuff them down and ignore them, as it will take you longer to heal and move forward with your life. However bad the break up seems at the time there is a light at the end of the tunnel and you will feel better again.   My top tips on how to cope in the workplace during a break up:

  1. Notice how your break up may be affecting you at work and take steps to make sure these changes are not negative. It may mean you have to delegate some of you work for a while or it may mean you inform a manager what is going on so they can be understanding and help you to keep on track.
  2. Don’t talk to lots of people at work about your problems. This is not who you are, whilst it is painful it is just a difficult period you will get through. You do not want your work colleagues to identify you by this for the future. Create a good support group of positive minded friends or family members outside of work that you can confide in. You will need to talk about what is happening to someone you trust as bottling it up will slow down your road to recovery.
  3. Be aware if you are starting to drink or party more. Whilst a night out can be good for you it is also not a positive way to move forward. Consider taking up going to the gym as exercise is a good way of releasing stress and helping you to maintain a strong mind.
  4. It’s ok to cry and face up to the negative emotions you are feeling. Don’t be ashamed as it’s all part of your healing process. If you allow your emotions to flow and let them out when you are alone at home then you will feel stronger at the office.
  5. If you are overwhelmed and finding it hard to cope then find a professional who can help you. A recommendation from a friend is a good way to start or find someone who specialises in healing a broken heart and has techniques to help you move forward.

Remember that you are not alone as many relationships come to an end. I tell my clients   “It is not what happens to you that matters it is what you do about it that counts.”

It’s not always an easy journey but there are strategies you can use to get through it faster and with less pain. You can be happy again after a break- up and there are lots of us out there to prove it.  

For more information about Sara Davison Divorce and Heartbreak Coaching or to see how she can help you, visit or follow on Twitter @SDDivorceCoach or Face Book Sara Davison Divorce Coach.

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