Do Office Romances Ever Really Work?

It mostly happens one of two ways: very slowly over time, or all at once like a thunderbolt. You’re at work, and you’ve got a crush. But should you pursue all those warm, fuzzy feelings you’ve been having lately? Do office romances every really work out — or are you wasting your time and your heart?

What the Heart Wants

The world is full of clichés and good old sayings about love. It’s an uncontrollable tide, an unstoppable force, something that just has to run its course. But when it comes to your job, it may be smarter to not pursue it. In any case, workplace romances aren’t necessarily doomed to fail. Be prepared for more emotional work than a relationship that starts outside of the workplace.

You Can’t Hide 

The problem with office romances is pretty obvious: they have the potential to end badly. And if they do, you have to deal with this person being around every day while you’re at work. This can make the workplace uncomfortable while you work. It can also cause you to make career decisions that you wouldn’t ordinarily make — asking for a transfer or switching jobs, for example.

The Sexual Harassment Thing

The modern era frowns heavily on sexual harassment or anything that might look like sexual harassment. In the MeToo era, starting up an office romance is a politically charged issue that may ignite a lot of other brushfires around you. It’s simply not a good idea to introduce any sort of sexual dynamic in the workplace. Even if you feel you can handle it and you can separate your work and personal life, other people in the office may be affected or have feelings about the office relationship.

Making it Work

Determined to make it happen? If nothing can deter you from office dating, go about it in a smart and realistic way. Talk openly and at length about the relationship and the boundaries. Decide together whether or not to tell coworkers about your relationship. Make sure you aren’t going to be violating any company policies by dating that may jeopardize your job. And if the time comes to break up, lay down some ground rules that will make it easier for each person to continue working in the office.

If others in the office find out about the relationship, be prepared for any negative or unwanted attention. Be prepared to handle this, and stay cool under pressure from your co-workers.

It can be very difficult to make an office romance work, but it can work. People who work in the same place have a common ground and a mutual understanding of each other’s lives. It can bring you much closer together if you work together, and make it easier for you to understand each other. But it also comes with its own set of stressors that you’ll need to face in a healthy, positive way that won’t affect your career goals.

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