Not every workplace relationship ends well. (We blame Parks and Recreation for our unrealistic expectations.) And not every besties-turned-baes scenario does either. (That one鈥檚 on Chandler and Monica.) Despite knowing this, we can鈥檛 resist these kinds of risky relationships when they present themselves to us. And though they鈥檙e fun while they last, these breakups can be particularly brutal because we still have to see the person all the time after the relationship ends. We spoke with April Masini, a relationship and etiquette expert who runs her own relationship advice forum, about what the coping process looks like under these circumstances.

Masini makes it clear that separation is essential after any breakup in order for both people to 鈥渋ndividuate,鈥 or rediscover their individuality. 鈥淭he separation period is profound and different for each couple, depending on the relationship,鈥 Masini says. For example, couples who were in a long-term relationship and developed a codependency tend to struggle through the split more than couples who remained independent during their time together. Long-distance couples find this time of separation especially confusing, as they have always technically been 鈥渟eparated.鈥 With no real observable change in the amount of time spent together, these couples may continue to feel connected and committed to their ex long after their breakup.

For those exes who are neighbors, colleagues, or friends, separation might not even be feasible, and this can cause complications. 鈥淚f you don鈥檛 separate from your ex and still see them throughout the breakup, your breakup may take longer to process and both people may take longer to feel truly single again,鈥 Masini remarks. A lack of physical disconnection can disable the exes from emotionally disconnecting, which slows efforts to move on.

What鈥檚 more, being around your ex while actively attempting to move on can still negatively affect you, especially if it鈥檚 not going well. 鈥淗aving your ex see you struggle with re-entry into the dating world can be debilitating and it can slow or stunt the moving-on process, which happens more naturally when you鈥檙e broken up and separated,鈥 Masini comments.

If separation is impossible for you and your ex, Masini suggests using these strategies:

1. Disconnect digitally. Social media has a way of making you feel connected to a person even when they鈥檙e miles away. 鈥淪top following and unfriend your ex on social media,鈥 Masini says. 鈥淓ven if you still see each other in person, it鈥檚 one less entanglement.鈥 An ex-free feed is the easiest and most practical way to speed up the moving-on process.

2. Part financially. Businesses, bank accounts, belongings 鈥 sharing any of these things with your ex will only complicate the separation process, so address them as soon as you can. Masini suggests withdrawing your portion of the money in an account and creating your own or closing the account altogether. Similarly, assets should be divvied up or sold.

3. Branch out socially. Masini says making new friends post-breakup can be liberating and healthy, but it鈥檚 also an incentive to pursue untapped interests, such as volunteering or learning a foreign language. 鈥淚t鈥檚 easier to see your ex when you have this new part of your new life to yourself,鈥 Masini explains. So, this technique works twofold 鈥 you鈥檒l have less time to spend with your ex and you鈥檒l feel less insecure when they are around.

Masini emphasizes that the concept of moving on is 鈥渧ery subjective鈥 and varies from person to person, meaning these measures might be totally unnecessary for some. According to her, people can go years without seeing or speaking to their ex yet continue to allow them to consume their thoughts and actions daily. Others remain in close contact with their exes and successfully date other people. It鈥檚 all about doing what鈥檚 best for you.

Been in this sitch? Tweet us how you moved on @BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty)