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Dating at the workplace is a lot like seeing a collision in slow motion.
So, why should you avoid dating at the workplace?
1. People Are Going To Find Out.
2. HR May Have An Opinion.
3. Colleagues Will Feel Awkward.
4. Optics Are Going To Matter.
5. Coworkers Are Going To Gossip.
6. It Could Cost You A Promotion.
7. You’ll Be Around Each Other All The Time.
8. Workplace Competition Can Get Heated.
9. Finances Will Get Fuzzy.
10. the Post-Breakup Will Be That Much Harder.
11. Jobs Change.
12. You Only Get One Shot.
A lot of us have been there and seen it happen…
A coworker gets a little flirty during the day as you pass by her desk. There’s some playful touching here and there, but nothing too crazy, it’s just having fun at work, right?
But then one day at an after work happy hour, things get a bit heated and there’s a choice to be made.
Do you make a move or not? What’s the big deal? You like her, she likes you.
The only problem is that you work together, and that can be, well… complicated.
Dating a coworker is something everyone’s had experience with, either directly or watching another couple from afar.
Spending so much time with someone in the office can naturally develop into close relationships. It’s understandable that the potential for romance pops up regularly.
After all, work colleagues make up the majority of most people’s social circle, and we often fall for people we spend time with.
However, playing with the idea of a work romance and going through with it are two very different things.
Dating at the workplace is fraught with these twelve potential pitfalls that can impact both of your careers and ruin a close personal relationship that you once cherished:
1. People Are Going To Find Out
Don’t kid yourself thinking that a “low-profile” office relationship is even remotely possible.
You don’t need to hold hands coming into the office to give it away. People are intuitive.
They’ll see how you look at each other and there is just a feeling in the air when something’s going on. People who pursue work romances must accept the fact that it won’t be discreet.
It won’t be none of anyone’s business because you’re all around each other every day. You’re in their business and they’re in yours.
You need to be prepared to deal with questions and some playful teasing when, not if, your relationship gets out.
2. HR May Have An Opinion
You can be damn sure that if your coworkers are going to sniff you out that HR will know at some point.
It might not be a big deal, but some human resources departments have policies against workplace relationships.
Policies like that are on questionable legal footing, though, and it’s more of an insurance policy protecting the company from any liability.
After all, how can they enforce something that takes place off company premises?
However, things are different when a supervisor or manager dates someone they directly manage.
HR departments have stepped in and forced a transfer of one part of a couple to avoid any potential conflicts of interest, and people have even been fired over it.
3. Colleagues Will Feel Awkward
Thinking about how coworkers will feel about your relationship may not be high on your priority list.
But taking them into account can avoid burning other office friendships. They may not feel like they can criticize your partner or tease them around you like they used to.
After people start dating at the workplace, things will never be the same, but you should still try to keep things normal.
Give any PDA a rest in the office and make efforts to include colleagues in things like lunch appointments or water cooler conversations.
4. Optics Are Going To Matter
Steps need to be taken to make sure no one can question your motives when it comes to actual work.
Even if your partner is the best person to help with a project you’re managing, or would be great on a sales call you’ve scheduled, you need to think about how others may process those decisions.
Any hint of favorability can trigger resentment from other colleagues that could hurt office morale. It’s something to think about when you find yourselves alone in the back corner where the copy machine is.
How you conduct yourself in the office together will be under a microscope, so you’ll have to go to lengths to avoid any hint of impropriety?
5. Coworkers Are Going To Gossip
Get used to it. Other people are going to talk trash about you as a couple.
They’re going to complain about anything you do together, and moan about how things have “changed.”
People in the office can’t be stopped from gossiping, so don’t get offended easily. Take it in stride and don’t hold it against them. You’d do the same thing if it were you.
The real question is what do you do if you hear about someone who trashes your partner? Is taking a stand and coming to her defense the right move?
It could backfire and appear petty and awkward.
On the other hand, if you don’t speak up, you risk coming off as a pushover.
6. It Could Cost You A Promotion
This may sound extreme but it’s not. Dating at the workplace can cost you real advancement opportunities.
You’ll be precluded from any new position that would allow you to manage your partner or have any influence over their career. Some not-so-open-minded managers make take the fact that you are dating a coworker as a slight against you.
Poor judgment, they’ll think, without openly saying it.
It’s not just others who can stall a career over love. Countless people have given up promotions because it required them to move to a new location away from their partner.
It’s certainly a tough call to make. You may feel so sure about your choice now, but you never know how you’ll look back ten years from now.
7. You’ll Be Around Each Other All The Time
This is basic but very important. Think about it.
In a normal relationship, you walk in the door after work and talk about your day over dinner or a glass of wine.
You’ll talk about all the people that bug you, the presentation you’re working on, or the latest jerk management move.
Then you’ll watch some Netflix and hit the sack.
When you’re dating at the workplace, you’ll get back to your place for the evening after spending the ENTIRE day together…
You might find it hard to sustain a conversation. You may also just want some peace and quiet to yourself.
Think about how she’ll take it when you say you need to spend some time alone.
8. Workplace Competition Can Get Heated
Competition will vary depending on personalities but dating someone at work can get tricky when money and power are on the line.
You’ll have to consider how she’ll feel when you win that sales trip to Hawaii you’ve all been competing for the whole year.
What happens when you win that new account, the one she thought she deserved?
The way things play out in the office will certainly affect feelings between the two of you to some degree. Anyone who says the opposite is lying.
God forbid the two of you win something together. Imagine what the talk in the office will be.
It takes two people comfortable in their own skin to deal with losing and winning at work while they’re dating.
Be careful, because resentment over something small can grow over time if not addressed.
9. Finances Will Get Fuzzy
It’s a nice summer day, you think, so you suggest going out for lunch.
So, the two of you get in the car and drive to a local joint for some sandwiches. Will that be one bill, or two?
Sure, you pick up the tab on Friday nights, but you never considered Wednesday’s Subway sandwiches. How couples draw the line on finances on and off work is crucial.
Be careful, though, because any discussion around money in a relationship can be perilous…
It’s not just meals you’ll have to sort out. It might be no big deal at first who stays at whose place, or which car gets driven to work.
But months later when you’ve settled into the relationship, these issues could come up.
Think about her keeping tabs on your spending at the office happy hour or during lunches when you’re both saving for a down payment on a house.
Are you ready for that?
10. The Post-Breakup Will Be That Much Harder
We need to be realistic here. It’s entirely possible, even likely, that eventually this relationship will end.
One of you will no longer have feelings for the other, or some other event will lead to a breakup.
Dating at the workplace seemed like such a great idea, but now it’s one of your biggest regrets…
Think your relationship drama is going to stay under wraps while you’re at work? Think again, pal.
She’s not going to put in notice just because you want to see other people.
If she’s a certain type of person, she’ll ask to be transferred on your team because “it’s her passion” just so she can be as close as possible every day.
Breaking up with someone you date at work is the worst…
The discomfort you feel around each other will permeate throughout the office. People will take sides, factions will from.
Your boss will ask you how you’re doing. You need to accept that flipping a switch and returning to normal after an office breakup is impossible, and things could turn south quick.
11. Jobs Change
Your love life at work won’t end with the both of you announcing retirement together and that you’re moving to Florida.
The days of staying with one company for life are over. At some point in time, one of you is going to leave the company and start something new.
It could be across town or across the country. You need ask yourself if your relationship is strong enough to survive such a big change.
Additionally, the spark you felt for each other could be in part due to your proximity. It could be tied to a group dynamic that existed on your team.
Working through challenges together creates bonds between people. All of us can remember work teams we’ve sworn we would be close with forever only to never speak to them again after a transfer.
You could discover that after a change you no longer have the same feelings… or worse…
She packs up and heads to another city leaving you in the dust…
12. You Only Get One Shot
Avoid becoming “that guy.” You know, the one who dated Sarah, and then Michelle, and then Rebecca…
It’s not a good look.
Dating at the workplace means pretty much everybody’s going to know your dirty laundry.
Going back in the ring for round two will only hurt your work reputation even more…
You become the person that dates at work, and it can come off as unprofessional. Not only can appear creepy dating multiple women who know each other well, but it could also hurt your career prospects.
Management could flag you as not being career-focused, or a potential reputational liability.
My Advice? Steer Clear
Even with all the taboo surrounding office romance, it still happens a great deal.
Sure, there are plenty of happy couples that met at work, but there are way more who dated and then became absolutely miserable…
When you decide to date someone at work, you’re betting that you’ll beat the odds and make it work…
But the odds are there for a reason…
There are so many apps and social groups that can help facilitate meeting someone outside of work who you’ll click with.
There’s no lack of opportunity to meet people that it’s almost not worth the risk of dating at the workplace.
Office romances are full of conflict and extra work of making sure everyone is treated fairly and everything is on the up and up.
If you can’t help yourself, though, these 12 truths will at least warn you about what’s to come…
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