How to Approach an Office Romance (Without Screwing Your Career Up)?

by Richard

Love is something that just happens in the workplace. It’s not something that anyone can control, but what you can control are your actions and how an office romance impacts on your relationship with everyone else in the office. 40% of employees say their relationships with other coworkers are ‘very important’ to them. Office romances are dangerous because they can go horribly wrong. Some companies even make bad attempts at outlawing them entirely.

So how should you approach an office relationship in a way that avoids wrecking everything you have worked for?


There has to be a decision made on the transparency of your relationship. It’s a big step to take because once everyone knows about it there’s no stopping it. In many ways it’s like any digital marketing strategy, there’s no way to bring an end to it until it reaches its conclusion.

Of course, this is a decision the both of you have to make. Generally, if you are only just starting to date it’s easier not to mention anything at all. If things don’t go well, nobody has to know it. But eventually you will have to come clean and you will have to accept the consequences in case the relationship isn’t successful.

Grasp the Risks Before You Jump In

Love makes fools of even the greatest figures. It may be difficult, but before you leap into an office relationship you should take a step back to consider the risks. There are companies that have been brought to their knees because two major figures had a relationship that didn’t work out.

You must understand that if the breakup gets messy, one or both of you could lose your jobs. It’s impossible for jilted lovers to work together in the same environment, and if you don’t make that decision your boss will likely make it for you. For now, this is your job and you have control over whether you initiate a relationship or not.

Should you allow the worst case scenario to influence your decision, though?

No, but you should be aware of it. You have to understand that this is not like a normal romance. You are working together, therefore, you are going to be spending practically every waking moment in the presence of that person. Is this something that you are mature enough to handle?

The Best Relationships Aren’t Within Your Department

If you are looking for to date a coworker, you may want to look outside your department. In the beginning, it’s nice to work with your significant other. After a while, you will begin to grow tired of that person. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can love chocolate, but you don’t necessarily want to eat it for every meal for the rest of your life. Time away during the day keeps things fresh.

The best relationships tend to happen outside your department for this reason. If you engage in an office romance, you may wish to request a transfer to a different department. This will help you to create a clear line between personal and business.

Naturally, you are going to come across each other from time to time, but this doesn’t have to cause any problems. Smart and successful businesspeople just make sure they aren’t up in each other’s grills all the time.

Workplace Romance Policies are Getting Stricter – How Should You React?

Corporations are becoming especially strict when it comes to workplace romances. Critics of workplace romance policies say that this is an invasion of privacy and no business should have the right to tell people who they can and can’t associate with outside of work hours. But when you think about it this makes logical sense. One bad breakup can destroy team morale and cause the entire office to divide into camps. It’s too much of a risk.

In the event that you find yourself in an office relationship at a company that specifically outlaws them, you have to make a decision. You can, of course, keep the relationship a secret. If you have fallen in love, it makes no sense to potentially throw away this great relationship because of a corporate policy.

At the same time, you have to understand the point of view of the company and understand that you may be asked to resign should knowledge of this relationship ever leak out.


Workplace romances, when they work out, can be great for everyone involved. When they don’t work out, they can turn into everybody’s worst nightmare. It leaves you in a difficult position and there are no right and wrong answers. You need to make an informed decision.

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