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Dating a Coworker: Can It Work for You?

Anna Hennings

July 22, 2009

As many red flags as the office romance waves, it actually can make a lot of sense. Spending a good chunk of our waking hours around the same people naturally allows us to get to know them better and become more comfortable talking, joking, laughing — maybe even flirting.

But when you date someone in your office, it can become more and more difficult to leave your relationship drama at home where it belongs. Why? Because it follows you on your commute. And what if steamy encounters of undeniable chemistry tempt you out of your super-professional comfort zone … and into the HR department for a talk about the office’s dating policy? Keeping work professional and keeping what’s personal exciting is something most sensible women opt not to put on their to-do list.

But there’s no denying that it can happen. So here are the red flags to remember before making your move, and how to handle it once (or if!) you do.

Caution Tape

As Peter Pearson, a psychologist specializing in couples therapy, puts it, dating a coworker is like “walking through a minefield with big clown shoes.” Why? Because so often we jump freely and willingly into a relationship without considering all the consequences. Sound familiar? I thought so. This can be especially hard if this person is a superior or someone with whom we work closely or regularly.

“If the focus of your desires is in your line of authority, such as your boss or your subordinate, you’re on very risky ground,” says Jerry Talley, a former Stanford professor and therapist. “People can lose jobs and get sued. Best to keep your feelings to yourself.”

Mixing work and play, and not keeping the separation between our individual lives and our dating lives that we’re used to, can pose relationship-ending dangers at the best of times. It’s obviously worse if you’re interested in someone with whom you work on a daily or regular basis. But even if they are in a separate department or on a different floor, making sure you’re not bringing your relationship with you to work each day adds even more stress. So you have to decide: Is all the fuss and bother worth it to you?

“If the person is a coworker, are you prepared to have them as an ex-lover, working on projects, sitting in meetings?,” Talley mentions.

Well, think about it. Are you?

Next Page: The Excitement Factor →

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago


    Make a practice never to date a co-worker, especially in the same department, preferably not in a supervisor/subordinate position. If you date, learn to keep business and pleasure separate. Know your company's policy on this matter. On the job dating can cause unproductivity and unhealthy office relationships.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago


    I never had a problem dating a collegue, (my boss to be honest).It's just a matter of discussing the do's and dont's while we are in the working environment. We work in the same first it was quite hard to handle cause u have to pretend that you're just working normally but as time goes by we were able to work it out and everybody knows that we have a relationship. We've been togethet for 2years now and everything is just doin great. If the company relocates him to another proj., he always make it sure that I'm included in his we kinda stick to each other wherever work brings us...for some, they might fight it tough to handle such situation...but for me, I'm quite lucky.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Account Removed

    over 5 years ago

    Umm Sunday,
    Let m get this straight.This guy started hitting you and because you did not return the advances he fired you?
    I don't think that's an office romance situation honey.I believe that's sexual harassment.Since you did not return the advances he fired you.There fore that is against the law.
    Please correct me if I am wrong in assuming that was the case.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 5 years ago


    I was approached by a man that I have very deep feeling for. I did not respond to his advances because it never seem to be the right time and just being around him made me shake. Time waits for no one I was fired because I did not respond. Now I am without a job and without that man. It seems so unfair, but life is not fair. I had to tell myself get over it already and begin looking for another job. This happen to me in 2002 with the same man, a different company. I was shocked when I saw him even more shocked when the advance started. The tearjerker is that I have deep feeling for him. My faith keeps me strong. I am not looking back, I believe that everything happens for a reason, so getting fired could be a BLESSING.

  • Grand_max50


    over 5 years ago


    I not only dated, but married my co-worker. For awhile our offices were next to each other. Luckily, it all worked out! We no longer work together, which is probably good.

  • Post-10-1152535258_max50


    over 5 years ago


    hahaha, great pics! excellent advice... have always wondered about this ;)

  • Vote2_max50


    over 5 years ago


    Oh wow, there's so much great advice here. And I love the anecdotes!

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