There are serious things that should be considered when you start an office romance, as dating a workmate has serious implications on all aspects of your life, and also effects those around you. There’s an old saying that comes to mind – don’t dip your pen in the company ink!
In the mid 1900’s our parents generally met each other at school. It was there that relationships were formed and dating turned to marriage. Nowadays,it appears to be the workplace where the majority of people meet, where relationships are forged, and where significant others are established.
There are exceptions, of course. If the majority of people meet at work it doesn’t mean that you will find your one and only at the water cooler, and it doesn’t mean you should lightly jump into a relationship with your receptionist. There are serious things that should be considered when you start an office romance, as dating a workmate has serious implications on all aspects of your life, and also effects those around you. There’s an old saying that comes to mind – don’t dip your pen in the company ink!
Here are 5 pros and 5 cons of workplace dating for you to consider.
1. Great place to meet
In today’s hectic work environment it can be difficult to find the time to ‘get out there’ and find a suitable partner. Quite often you need to see someone, and chat to them, a few times before you realise you wish to ask them out on a date, or before you actually gain the courage to do so – which means meeting someone at a bar or club is often a one off and leaves you little time to act. Though you may indeed meet someone during the evening a relationship at this stage is generally formed on a physical attraction rather than an actual attraction to the person within – which is why these chance, brief meetings so often end in a one night stand and little else. At work you generally become attracted to the person over time, which is more conducive to a working relationship.
2. Establish a relationship prior to dating
By working alongside someone you will get to know them as a person, and find out more about who they really are than you would in other circumstances. When you go to a party there is always the chance that the person you meet is not being themselves; that they may just be acting as a way to make themselves more attractive to the opposite sex as a peacock would by displaying his tail feathers, your potential date may be exaggerating their stories or successes in order to appear more than they really are. When you work alongside them you get an idea of who they are, how successful they are, what their aims in life may be – and you can get all of this information naturally. By finding out more about the real person, and being attracted to this person, the relationship should last longer and be more secure than if the relationship had been built on the white lies of someone wishing to be more than they really are.
Also the fact you are working for the same company shows that you already have a strong bond between each other – with the added advantage to not having to explain your job to a possible mate and have their eyes glaze over when they find out you’re an accountant.
3. Spend time with each other
Obviously if a relationship is going to last a long time, you and your partner will need to spend a lot of time with each other. Married couples can see each other every day of their lives, with a very few breaks away from each other – and being able to do this is an essential part of a happy relationship.
If you start to date someone you work with you will get the chance to spend a lot of time with them, and the chances are you had been spending this time with them prior to dating. If you see them everyday, spending 8 working hours with them and still want to date – the chances are you will have a healthy relationship, that you will enjoy spending time with each other and, unlike a lot of people, will not be searching for time away from each other which isn’t always a good indication that a relationship will last.
4. Create a happy work environment
The early stages of dating is a great time. You’re excited every time you see the person, you’re happier than you may otherwise be, and because of this you’re generally more approachable as a person.
By dating someone at work you can both lift the spirit of the office by being in this mood and giving off positive vibes. When you create a jovial environment it will often rub off on those around you, and your happy feelings will spread throughout the office making the whole workplace more enjoyable for you and your colleagues, which will in turn result in a more productive workforce.
5. Have a helping hand during those stressful times
If you have a problem at work it may seem like everything is against you and no-one is willing to help. Colleagues are often busy with their own thing and unwilling to assist, after all – it’s not their problem, it’s yours. It can be difficult to ask for help, also, when you really need just a few hours of someone’s time to meet that important deadline without going crazy.
If you are dating a workmate they will be more willing to go that extra mile for you than anyone else would. They will be willing to stay late with you, and to spare you the time that no one else would like to give you, simply due to the fact they have feelings for you and it’s natural to want to remove stress from the one you love if you can.
Of course the fact you work together probably means that they are more suited and able to help you in your work than someone who you met out of the office.
Of course, not everything about meeting your partner at work is good. several of the positive aspects can easily slip into negative ones, and there are other issues all on their own which could block you from having a meaningful relationship with a workmate.
1. Subject of Idle Gossip
If you start a relationship with someone in your office, you can be sure that other people will gossip about it. When it’s a new event you can guarantee others will be gathering around saying ‘Guess what!! X and Y are doing it!’ – it’s inevitable and unavoidable.
If possible, you should try and be open about your new relationship instead of keeping it a secret. Sneaking off together is only going to create more gossip, whereas being fully open will mean people have to deal with it, and they will quickly move on to the next subject.
Jealousy can come from a few sides.
Firstly, your co-workers may be jealous of the relationship you have, especially if it is on an employer/employee style basis of dating your boss/minion. Although you could keep it as above board as you like, having a relationship in this situation will always provoke others to feel that you or your partner are benefiting by being in that relationship, and that they are missing out on something. Let’s say you’re dating your boss – and you happen to be an excellent worker. If you get a higher bonus on your salary you can bet that others will attribute this to you dating them, and not due to your excellent efforts in the office. They will be jealous that you received something they didn’t, and will blame anything other than themselves for it.
There may also be jealousy from your loved one. This is due to the fact it’s quite natural to flirt in an office. It’s actually quite productive too, so long as you keep it informal and non abusive/discriminative. Everyone enjoys a little harmless flirting – but perhaps less so if you’re watching your new boyfriend flirting with the receptionist. Though nothing may be going on, your insecurities of entering a new relationship may indeed give way to this green eyed monster.
3. Spending too much time together
It’s great that you can spend time with your heart’s desire – but sometimes you do just need a break. Though getting to work alongside each other all day can be a positive, it can also be a huge negative. Seeing each other socially in the evenings and weekends, followed by seeing each other in a stricter environment during the day can lead to a little too much. It also may kill a little of the romance, as you miss out on the excitement of waiting to see them at the end of the day. If you see each other all the time with no breaks it can be hard to accept the little things they do that annoy you, and they just build up and up until something explodes. That’s a tremendous pressure on a new relationship.
4. Allocating objective blame
If something goes wrong at work, and it’s your fault or that of your partner – it can be difficult to remain as objective as you should be. It’s unfair to other employees if the person who did something wrong does not get the same warnings or punishments as others. It’s natural, however, to want to protect the one you love by not disciplining them as they should be. You must try and keep your personal feelings out of the business decisions that you make, and this is not always possible. By not doing this, you are creating a separation in the workplace where a rule for one person is not a rule for another – and this has really bad consequences.
5. Breaking up is hard to do
If the worst happens and your relationship comes to an end, it can be disastrous in the workplace. Breaking up is hard to do at the best of times, especially for the person who was dumped; and having to see them at work every day can be very difficult, and creates an unhappy working environment that your colleagues will be in the middle of.
Breaking up can also lead to petty rows between you – and again this has a huge negative effect on your colleagues. It will come to the stage where you and your ex could be disciplined for your lack of professionalism, or that you get to the stage where seeing each other all of the time is too much – and one of you would have to leave that workplace and try and find employment elsewhere.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.