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As Flip or Flop stars sign on for new season, tips for working with an ex

Time:2017-04-28 02:13Shoes websites Click:

working ex Breakup divorce Flip or Flop

Tarek El Moussa and Christina El Moussa

Tarek El Moussa and Christina El Moussa

HGTV/Scripps Networks

Tarek El Moussa and Christina El Moussa, shown inside an Anaheim Hills, Calif., "flip," are the hosts of HGTV's "Flip Or Flop." The couple split up last year but will still work together on the show.

Tarek El Moussa and Christina El Moussa, shown inside an Anaheim Hills, Calif., "flip," are the hosts of HGTV's "Flip Or Flop." The couple split up last year but will still work together on the show. (HGTV/Scripps Networks)

Alison BowenContact ReporterChicago Tribune

Sharing an office with an ex might be an unusual — and unpleasant — situation. For HGTV "Flip or Flop" stars Tarek and Christina El Moussa, signing on for more episodes will mean working together despite their split last year.

The show announced this week that it has extended the seventh season. An announcement about new episodes acknowledged that, despite starting new individual lives, each star has committed to doing the show, which shows them buying and renovating Southern California homes.

In her LA-based couples therapy practice, Mary Kay Cocharo has encountered a few exes who work together. It often occurs with couples in entertainment — musicians who run a production company or actors who date during a show but break up a few seasons before the sitcom ends. But even for people not in entertainment, working with an ex can be tricky. She offered the tips below.

1. Set boundaries. If the end of the relationship was cordial, discuss boundaries together. If you have children, for example, agree not to conflate work tasks with personal concerns. ("Why are you here so late? Shouldn't you be with the kids?") And agree to only talk about work-related topics at work. Think through how you talk to the other person. "Would I say this to the lady next to me? Probably not," Cocharo suggested. You might even want to consider restricting when you need to talk in the first place, or where you spend your time. "You don't have to be in the same lunchroom," Cocharo said. If the ending wasn't cordial, decide these boundaries for yourself.

2. Ask if an action is personal or professional. Often, one person ended the relationship. The other person, whether pining for an ex or nursing a broken heart, can feel that even a small action is a huge slam. For instance, when an ex acts coldly, one of Cocharo's clients "gets triggered and upset and finds herself in the bathroom crying a lot," Cocharo said. Her advice when you feel hurt by how someone is acting is to ask yourself, "Is this personal or professional?" If it's something personal, which is likely, check those boundaries to see if it's something worth reacting to at work. (Hint, probably not.) Other advice? Take a walk or call a friend.

3. If all else fails, consider options. No one wants to feel pushed out of a job because of a relationship, especially someone passionate about a career he or she has worked hard to achieve. Cocharo points out, "If you've worked really hard to get where you are and your partner decides to break up with you, why should you be the one to leave your job?" But remember that if a situation deteriorates, consider a new job. Do this especially if a power dynamic was in play — he's a partner, you're an assistant — because the complications can pile up. For a situation that becomes more upsetting than uplifting, she said, taking another job can mean choosing happiness and sanity.

abowen@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @byalisonbowen

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