One woman shares her experiences and advice on inter-office dating.
Sharing the experience of working for 40+ hours a week for peanuts can create special bonds. It's only natural that you have those inside jokes, buy each other drinks at happy hour, share apps and that deep yet disturbing obsession with Angry Birds. But what if it grows into something more than that? The looks linger, the smiles become more flirtatious, and your mind wanders... Should you indulge in the forbidden, complicate your life with the hopes that it works out or doesn't end too badly that you have to hit the want ads? Or should you just keep it to yourself and separate your career and personal life?
It's not an easy decision especially if you really like your coworker and love that steady paycheck. To get some perspective on this I interviewed my friend Raine. She was one of the three women from my post Three Women Say Why They Struggle To Date Within Their Race. In that story she briefly mentioned K. I knew a little about her story and wanted to share it with anyone who's deciding whether or not to date that cute coworker.
How did you and K spy each other?
K and I met because he was the odd one out.
Odd one out? What do you mean?
It means he was very different from other guys I had met but I was interested. I knew there was more to him and I wanted to know what.
Who approached whom first? What was your first date like?
Well I approached him. He was pretty laid back, shy, probably wondering ‘why does this girl like me?’ So we decided to go on a date. I bought him some 12-year-old scotch because he was so quiet and I wanted to loosen him up. I ended up wasted and puking in his toilet.
So, had you ever had a workplace romance before? How did it work out?
I have and it didn’t. We did not speak to each other while at work but everyone knew when we were fighting.
How did working together affect your relationship with K at first?
At first, it was fun, exciting, and forbidden. It really didn’t affect our relationship at first.
When you say forbidden, was there a policy against you two dating or did you mean something else? No policy about dating at work; I was just referring to my decision to date someone I work with...again. I thought it was a bad idea so that’s why I said 'forbidden.'
When did you know this was serious?
When your feelings get involved you start to notice things like other women talking to him, flirting with him, and it made me angry. That’s when I knew it was serious with him
So did some other coworker make a move on your man? What happened? How did you handle that at such a delicate time?
Well there was this woman at work who just wanted to prove that every guy wanted her. She decided to set her sights on K and even though it bothered me I played it cool and talked to a mutual friend of ours who was the only person who knew about us.. He knew how to keep a secret. He was the one gave me some perspective and who kept telling me not to give up because K was very reserved.
How did your work relationship change when you two became serious?
It's scary. When things become serious you are more careful not to upset each other; you watch what you say, how you say it. We were learning each other’s ways, so it was a work in progress. That's why that situation with that female coworker was telling because it helped me realize just how serious we were becoming.
Now, that you two have been together for a while, I hear you have some news...?
Yep. K proposed and we get married at the end of June!
Congratulations! How'd he propose?
Well, a while ago, he took me and my daughter (who was home from college) to my favorite restaurant YOKOS. He was acting kind of strange and he looked like he was about to faint. I asked him if he was alright. Then he got on his knee and showed me the ring. He was mumbling, so I couldn't understand some of his words. He was sweating so hard, his face was flushed. When I said 'Yes' I couldn't help but think, Wow! This is really happening. it didn't seem real.
Do you have any advice, words of warning for anyone who is in a workplace romance?
Warning for work place romance: Be careful, know what your options are if it doesn't work out. At the same time take a chance and live life. You never know what will happen and when it does, it will be so worth it.
Obviously they can't all have this great ending.Some office romances crash and burn spectacularly, others just fizzle and then there are those that work out beautifully, like Raine's.
So the question is, if you felt like that coworker is really someone...special, that 'odd one out', would you take the chance?