Workplace Romance. Biting the Hand That Pays You, One Kiss at a Time.

A simple question for what many times ends up being a difficult situation: Romance in the work place.  Should you or shouldn't you? 

It's often said that finding love in the workplace is a natural thing, that it's common and overall just a good idea.  I mean, why not?  You spend most of your life at work, five days and forty or so hours a week there… It makes sense.  Right?  One reason that it might not make sense is because you spend most of your life at work, working five days and forty or so hours a week and maybe you don't want to see your flame that much, especially if things go sour between you two and all hell breaks loose.

Those are a couple of the more obvious points.  I'll cover some pros and cons in just a bit, but first I think I'm going to share my own experience here.

First off, I don't think I can say, for certain, whether or not I'd date another colleague/co-worker again.  I try to temper my absolutes, that is, I try not to pidgeon hole my thoughts and opinions too far to one side or the other.  However, I do caution people against dating their co-workers.  I've had three instances where I have dated or been “more than friends” with a co-worker.  Two of them went south and I ended up leaving the job shortly thereafter.  One did work out, but that was, I feel, because she left the company we worked for shortly after we began dating…

The first time was a puppy dog crush I had on a girl, Inez, at a music store I worked at.  It was pretty obvious things were not going to work well.  We tried dating, but I was so obsessed and wanted to see her all the time, which is why work was so great.  Granted, I had a lot of other issues going on, being insecure chief amongst them.  When things didn't work out between us, I still had to see Inez every day… It made things difficult for me. I'd over hear her plans for one day or another, sometimes her guy friends would come to the store to say “hello” and it burned me up.  I couldn't take it… So I transferred to a different store to get away from it, I couldn't deal and so I ran way from the situation.

The other situation that went south happened years later.  It was something that developed into friendship and then something more than that.  It really messed with my head in ways that I never really thought possible.  Needless to say, the situation really did begin to affect my work and my co-workers, including my boss, knew about what was going on… Things were starting to snow ball quickly.  I was fortunate to have a job offer that I'd been mulling over, the situation prompted me to act quickly.

In each situation, when things went bad it definitely affected me and it was difficult for me to keep things on a professional level.  I think, being more mature now, that if I was presented a similar situation that I would be able to handle it better and have the kind of dialogue that could help the situation, rather than see it get worse.

That said, what are some positives from dating  your co workers?

  • Since you see this person a lot, you get a good idea of who they are and how they handle themselves day to day.
  • You know each other, which can help further along a romance because you don't really “do” the “getting to know you” phase of the relationship.
  • Dating and working together really kills two birds with one stone by allowing you to spend more time together. Ideal for those that, you know, kinda like the constant company of thers.

Here are some negatives:

  • If you and your estranged lover can't muster up the bones to be professionals things will get uncomfortable really quick and affect your work life completely. Communication helps, if it's an option. If not, your co workers will sit back and enjoy the show aka rubble of your broken relationship.
  • Your co workers.  Will they gossip about your relationship and dish dirt to each other, let alone complete strangers?  Situations like this can destroy a relationship and bring a team down with it.
  • Are there potential issues with you and your lover competing for the same job? What if one of you is the superior of the other?  Those are situations to avoid, if at all possible.

So.  Should you or shouldn't you?  I'd err on the side of caution and tell you to avoid being in such a situation and meet someone outside of the workplace.  Relationships are never predictable and playing with that smoking gun at work has the potential to mess up your life really quick.

Keep it safe and neuter your Llamas.

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