Secretly Dating A Coworker? What Could Go Wrong?


I received an email this morning from a subscriber to one of my newsletters.  

Dear Sir,

I have a question, if there is a worker who is having a relationship with another worker in the same company
and they are keeping it very secret and very thing outside of the workplace, is there something wrong with
that situation?

Thank you for your assistance.

This is my reply:

You ask if there's something wrong with having a secret relationship with a coworker? Let me begin by saying that I'm not the one to decide right and wrong for anyone but myself.


I'm going to rephrase the question so I can give you a response. The new question is, what can go wrong in a relationship with a coworker?

The first thing I think of is that if the relationship ends, you still have to face that coworker every day. That can be very uncomfortable and could interfere with your ability to do your work.

Second thing I think of is that a secret is an increasingly hard thing to keep, thanks to the ever present technology surrounding and invading our private lives.

And the third thing I think of is that your coworker might use that secret as leverage against you (i.e., "If you don't do what I tell you, I'll talk about our relationship to the boss")


Now, all that said, fact of the matter is that relationships between coworkers are quite common, and for a whole host of reasons. First and foremost, for many people their time at work is their only time with people (too busy to have a life, or too shy, or don't know where to go to meet others), so there's opportunity to meet someone with less effort and perhaps with some shared interests and values.

The second big reason that coworker relationships are so common is they relieve the tedium of work, add an element of excitement, thrills and tingles, and even a bit of danger (like having a shared secret) that makes work more fun than it otherwise might be.   

So there you have it. My advice?  Think twice.  If you choose to go this route, make sure you are not violating any company policies that could be used against you, be prudent in who you choose by taking the larger context of all your other work and personal relationships into account,  and respect yourself by choosing someone who treats you with respect. 


Best wishes