Your friends told you not to do it. Your colleagues told you not to do it. Heck, office policy strictly forbade you from doing it…
But here you are, unable to help yourself, dating that hot colleague that you've been daydreaming about for the past year.
If you have any sense, then you'll no doubt be well aware that things are going to be tricky going forward so how do you best navigate the labyrinth of potential challenges that an office romance presents? Read on and we'll look at five crucial tips that can help you.
1. Keep Apart
No matter what stage you're in in your relationship, it's always important to try and stay away from your romantic partner as much as possible at work. If the option to work next to each other or to collaborate on a project comes up… turn it down. This will prevent people from finding out/talking, it will prevent you from getting into arguments that affect your relationship and it will prevent you from being unprofessional at work. Apart from anything else, working together all day will leave you with little left to talk about when you're at home/on dates. Remember: absence makes the heart grow fonder!
2. Have Allies
Most likely you're going to want to keep your relationship under wraps in the office – especially if it is frowned upon. While you may be being stealthy for the most part though, it can nevertheless be useful to have at least one or two 'allies' on your side who know about your relationship. If your manager/team leader is someone you consider a friend then they will make the perfect candidate as they can cover for you and avoid putting you together where possible.
3. Agree On Your Behavior
If you're going to be working together while keeping your relationship under wraps then you'll probably have to be a little less affectionate than you would like around the workplace. Likewise, you may find yourself occasionally in disagreements about work that could cause arguments. If you're going to be successful in your relationship then you will need to have a set of rules for work and a set of rules for outside of work to keep things separate. Agree on these rules upfront so that you both know the protocol in any given situation and so that neither party gets offended.
4. Don't Talk About Work
If your relationship is going to stand a chance of surviving then it isn't only important not to schmooze in the office – you also need to avoid walking about work out of the office. Otherwise you will risk creating a relationship that is founded on and/or dependent on your work, which is no basis for romance.
5. Have an Exit Strategy
If you're just enjoying a workplace fling then there's no need to start making serious plans for the future. When you realize that your relationship is going somewhere though then you need to start thinking ahead: you can't carry on sneaking around forever. Either one of you will have to leave the workplace, or you'll have to come clean to your colleagues. Agree amongst yourselves what the best strategy is and when you're going to go public or eventually it will wear you down.