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'I'm Dating Someone From Work! Shhhhhh ...'

Is it a good idea to have an intimate relationship with your colleague? Before rushing in, weigh the pros and cons.

Let’s face it; many people spend more hours at work than waking hours at home. Thus, it's not hard to figure out why people date co-workers. So, if you find yourself falling for the cutie in the cubicle next door, should you act on your emotions? Keep in mind, if it all works out it is a wonderful thing, if not—UGH! 

If you do decide to let romance flourish with a fellow employee, as your relationship moves ahead there are ethical issues to consider. First, dating a superior/subordinate is not a good idea. Should you find yourself in this situation, one of you needs to be transferred to another department. Doing so eliminates the possibility of the supervisor showing favoritism. 

If you work in different departments or are at the same level, there are still things to consider. Public displays of affection that a reasonable person would deem inappropriate must be avoided. If your personal relationship begins to affect your work, ex. spending too much time chatting, consistently over extending lunch time, then it becomes a performance issue and your employer can and should deal with it accordingly.    

On the other hand, if things turn ugly there are not only emotions to deal with but some possible legal ramifications. Before becoming intimate ask yourself if you will be comfortable sitting in a meeting with that person who has seen you naked. Additionally, that lovely person who you canoodled with so happily for three months may now cry sexual harassment, which can lead to you losing your job. 

A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) on Workplace Romance found that most companies do not even have a formal, written, policy on romance in the workplace. Of 612 members who responded, 72 per cent did not have any formal written policy on dating. Of those, 14 per cent said that they have an unwritten policy that is well-understood by workers and management alike. Only 13 per cent of companies responding do have a written dating policy. Of those, only 7 per cent forbid all dating at work.

Whether your relationship continues or ends, be prepared to be fodder for the rumor mill. You may hear things that are untrue that make you angry and you may hear things that are true that embarrass you. Are you prepared to deal with that?

Although your company may not have a formal policy, good common sense is always in order. Sometimes the heart wants what the heart wants. Proceed with caution. By the way, I met a cutie at work a little more than 30 years ago. Yup, still married to him.

JM June 11, 2012 at 01:59 PM
I think it is so cool and rare nowadays to meet the right person... it should not matter when and/or how that meeting takes place. Coworker? Vicar? No problem. Go for the love angle -- that is all that truly matters in the end. Nonetheless, I would add that a ''mature'' couple who do get together will 1) respect the set up in a professional manner at the workplace and very likely won't be broadcasting this relationship, and 2) work on one of the two actively trying to find a new job, whether it be inside or outside the company.
JM June 11, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Glen (I'm a guy too) I think love is a bit of an acquired taste...but it takes two. This nation is now half single, half coupled... extraordinary shift in my view that makes it even more difficult for those desiring a second-half to find a partner. Perhaps it is becoming just as important then to at least find things in life that ''you love'' to do... Meanwhile, the situation you describe may not be as much an outcome of parental issues as it very well could be the fact those around you simply don't care to give love a try... just a thought. Don't blame yourself entirely.
Conservative NYer June 11, 2012 at 02:22 PM
I was an E.A. at the time when meeting my "future husband" who happened to be a direct report to the person I was supporting!! The only thing we did was receive an ok from the bossman due to our immense respect for the person who happened to be both of "our boss"!! Now 10 yrs. later, two children with another on the way it worked out great for us We of course credit our workplace for our blossoming relationship back then. Of course we had to deal with the chitter-chatter from time-to-time especially me being in a supporting role with the stereotype of "being with the bosses assistant" but once that diamond went on my finger..it stopped immediately. At this day and age and especially when you are past the bar scene and in your 30's most people end up meeting their spouses at work. Just as long as you keep it professional during the work hours and business trips I see nothing wrong with it.
S.Stein of New York June 12, 2012 at 08:17 AM
A very complicated issue dating a work mate..I would not do it but "love is blind"
Moe June 13, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Met my wife at work. Married 12 years now and we have a beautiful 9 year old lil girl.

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