Considering how much time we spend at work, it makes sense that eventually we just might find ourselves crushing on a co-worker. Thanks to such social events like work Happy Hour, sometimes that crush can evolve into a mutual interest and before you know it, you're dating someone with whom you work. Suddenly you're known as "Pam and Jim" with your colleagues and it can, if not handled with care, lead to a precarious situation.
Co-workers dating each other isn't exactly a novel idea. A study found that 40% of employees have done so — and 30% saw those relationships evolve into marriage.
So if love is obviously in the air, hovering over those rows of cubicles, how should you handle it? We asked YourTango expert Dina Colada how to make this type of relationship work, without rocking the boat.
1. Be cool. Even if you want to mount your new special buddy every time you see them in the hallway; that’s a big don't. As Colada suggests, "Do sneak a flirty glance and a wink to that office cutie to let him know you are thinking about him." If you're anyone with a pulse, you've been shooting flirty glances since you were 13, so being cool, should be easy for you.
2. Leave the drama outside. The best part about working with your new boyfriend or girlfriend is you get to see them all the time! Yeah! The worst part about working with them is you get to see them all the time. Ugh. Learn to be professional, even if you're arguing with your love. Do "be in charge of your emotions. If you feel upset, go to the bathroom and take a few deep breaths to help calm you down." You don't want to make your other co-workers uncomfortable.
3. Be realistic. Sometimes things don't work out and people break up. Do you think you'll be able to stand working with this person if the relationship comes to an end? Will you be able to "emotionally handle" it if the demise comes and he starts dating Suzie-Q in accounting? Do realize that this is something you should really evaluate about yourself before you completely hand over your heart to the relationship. Keep Reading ...
4. Gush (but in small amounts.) Depending on how long you've worked at the company, you and your co-workers might be pretty tight when it comes to talking about relationships, and that’s great! But if all of a sudden the other part of your relationship is just a few desks away, you need to show some tact. Do keep the negative bit about your relationship out of the picture. "If he leaves the toilet seat up and it drives you crazy, sweetly ask him to put it down, and don't talk about it with your co-workers." Do understand that you're now in the position to change how others view your new boyfriend, and it's not your place to do so, so don't.
5. Give yourself space. You're dating, you're working together, Sundays are spent in bed, and what else? You also go to lunch together everyday? Give it a break and quit smothering before you drive each other crazy! As a final tip from Colada will tell you, "Don't spend every waking moment together, it will keep things fresh and he will keep wanting more." Truth.
Now march off to the fax machine and see if you can fall in love.
It's easy to be happy with someone when you're feeling good about life. But what about when you're not doing so well? Do you want to see him when you've been denied a raise, or your cat died or you had a plain old bad day? He should be a comfort during tough times, not a burden.
You don't want to change the essence of who he is. There may be stuff that irritates you in everyday life—he insists on wearing his favorite, holey T-shirt, he eats sugar cereal for dinner, he still watches Saturday morning cartoons—but you like him, plain and simple.
If you do have crucial differences that will impact your future together—different opinions about religion, money or something else—you want to work them out with him, and you believe you can come to a conclusion that will satisfy both of you.
Sometimes it's that easy. You feel like he understands some essential part of you that you can't explain or articulate. It's a warm, comfortable feeling—and one you should have with the person you marry.