Handling a Relationship with a Co-Worker

After graduating college, finding love is hard to do. Because of this, many people flock to the bars on the weekends, hoping to find Mr. or Ms. Right. Others have been trying their hand at online dating with mixed success. Then there is the office romance. There are positives and negatives to think about when deciding to enter a relationship with a co-worker. Outlined below are the things you should keep in mind.

office relationship

Company Policy

This should be first and foremost. Some companies have no issue with co-workers dating. Other firms fall on the other side of the spectrum and advise against it. Then there are those in the middle. I’ve worked for a company that did not want employees dating and other company that allowed it with the only restriction being that they could not work in the same department.
If your company is against it, you have to decide if the relationship is worth it for one person to leave the company and find another job. Under no circumstances should you try to hide it. When I worked for the company that did not allow dating co-workers, a man and woman were fired for having a relationship. They did their best to hide it, but everyone knew. It was too obvious. Don’t think that you can sneak around. While you think you are being discreet, you really aren’t.

How to Handle Work Life

Assuming your company is OK with you dating, you now have to determine how to handle work life as a couple. By this I mean how will you communicate? Most companies keep records of emails, so unless you are comfortable with some people in your company knowing what your pet names are for each other or other dirty talk, company email should be out of the question.
Additionally, know that if you make decisions at work and your significant other is in the same department, everything you do will be open to question. Did you give him the boring task because you didn’t want to give it to your boyfriend? Did she get a bigger raise because she is his girlfriend? Everything you do will be under scrutiny and gossip will be abound.

Another consideration is how to handle non-work matters. If you got into a nasty fight last night, is that going to spillover to the workplace? Will you not speak to the person? Will you get into an argument in the break room? Again, these are things you need to consider before the relationship progresses too far.

How to Handle a Break Up?

When a new relationship is blooming, no one wants to think about a potential breakup. But what happens in the off chance that you do break up? How will you handle seeing that person every day? What about hearing them talk bad about you or talk about how amazing their new partner is?

Personally, I don’t think I could deal with seeing and possibly interacting with that person on a daily basis. I’m sure I could do it, just not right afterwards, especially if I was the one that was dumped.

Final Thoughts

I hope you can see that there is a lot to think about when it comes to dating in the workplace. I personally have seen it and because of how it played out, am against it. There are just too many potential pit falls that it doesn’t seem worth it to me. If you really are smitten with a co-worker, I would suggest to really think about the possibility of the issues I point about above and whether or not the relationship is worth it.

Readers, what are your thoughts on office romance? Have you ever dated a co-worker? What advice would you give?

8 Responses to Handling a Relationship with a Co-Worker

  1. This is great advice. I am thankful I never ran into the situation, as it seems very tricky, but if it was worth it then I’d figure out how to make it work. Great things to think about. You are so right about not being able to hide, some things are just too obvious.

  2. Good advice! I’ve never pursued it myself, other than at a part time job while in college. I’ve seen too many messy break-ups from work relationships that I really do not think it’s worth it.

  3. krantcents says:

    I will give you management’s or owner’s perspective. As long as the people involved recognize that it is separate from work, it can work. This includes breaking up. Unfortunately, we are dealing with human beings where one of them cannot separate their professional life from their personal one and it interferes with work. Usually, one of the people has to leave. That is a big risk to take.

  4. I’ve had a few office romances in the past and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone!

  5. The first company I worked for was rather large and there was a lot of couples/family. Everything from husband and wives to cousins and aunts and uncles. I guess the only policy was no direct reporting, but other then that there didnt seem to be any issues. I knew plenty of them and they were all happy.

  6. I’d never date a co-worker, there’s enough drama at the office without dealing with actual relationships falling apart. I know some people who have met at the office, but subsequently one of them moved to a different site within the company to avoid problems if the relationship failed. They got married, but I think moving to another site was a smart move “just in case”.

  7. What happens if you date your boss? If you dump him/ her will you get fired? It seems like your job could be in danger, even if dating is allowed at your company.

  8. Martin says:

    A stiff penis has no conscious! Ooops did I just say that?

    I dated a co-worker many years ago. It was amazing when it started. Everyone warned me not to do it. I didn’t care. She was damn hot. We did it everywhere and we were wild. We became close. Dated for years. Then it ended.

    The breakup is even more awkward because you always have to see them.

    What’s my advice? Nothing because you won’t listen.