Explore the stories of romance at work without risking your job or reputation! This post outlines key stories and considerations for developing workplace relationships. Establishing expectations from the outset can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and can avoid any misunderstandings or hurt feelings later on. Setting clear and mutually agreed-upon boundaries will help both parties feel more secure and less anxious. Discussing topics such as personal space, boundaries, and commitment is essential to a positive office romance.
But we are going to be providing a few case studies/stories of romance in the workplace you can take cues from before taking this big step.
Case Study #1: Maintaining a professional attitude.
Heather and her coworker, Alex, were both working at one of the Big Four accounting companies when they got interested in one another. However, they were hesitant to become romantically attached. “We believed dating at work was a bad idea. “I’d never drink more than one glass of wine with a coworker,” she adds. Still, there was an appeal, and while they never publicly flirted, they were “friends” through instant chats.
After three months of unsure where things were going, Alex “finally stated via instant messaging,
‘Would you want to join me for dinner?’ “I said, ‘Yes.'” They discussed how they would handle the office scenario on their first date. “We were both highly career-focused and agreed that we always wanted to keep things professional so that our jobs would not be harmed.”
Heather notified one of her coworkers that she was seeing Alex, but they waited a few months before telling HR. “When it became serious, we wanted to be certain,” she explains. They eventually came clean with HR, partly because they were at various levels of the firm and wanted to avoid any conflicts of interest. “We stated something along the lines of,
‘We’re committed to the organization and don’t want this to jeopardize our jobs,’ says one. “How should we proceed?” HR executives replied enthusiastically. The pair worked with HR to ensure that they would not be working on the same project and that Alex, who was more senior than Heather, would not be in charge of her performance reports or arguing for her promotions. “There was the best objective compromise,” she argues.
Heather informed her employer and a few other coworkers after HR support. “That’s when the gossip started,” she explains, “but we didn’t let it worry us. We kept working hard and triumphed.” She was still anxious about the damage to her reputation.
“I didn’t want it to appear like I was doing well at the firm because of who I was seeing, and I didn’t want people to believe I wasn’t serious about my work.” So, while heather and Alex were at the office, they made a conscious effort to treat each other as coworkers first and foremost. “I didn’t stop by his desk, to kiss him on the cheek, or strike up a casual discussion with him. We’d go out for coffee, but we’d always end up in the elevator.”
Heather quit the organization for unrelated reasons around nine months into their relationship, and she and Alex married several years later. They are still happily married despite the fact that they no longer work together.
Case Study #2: If you keep it a secret it will blow up
Jane Pierce worked at a huge software business and was tasked with assisting a new employee, Maryanne, with her onboarding. The two ladies began dating after months of getting to know one another.
“We were on separate teams, but we connected on a daily basis,” Jane says. “I was anxious because, while I wasn’t her manager, I was more senior. I was afraid it would seem terrible to my team if they found out I was seeing someone on the same level as them.”
They decided to keep their relationship private. “It was tough since she hadn’t come out,” Jane says. “She comes from a nation where homosexuality is virtually prohibited.”
The secret, while making “things more thrilling in a way, more romantic and unique,” also generated a lot of tension. Jane couldn’t always tell her pals, both at work and outside of work, what she was up to. “It was strange that no one knew about the relationship. It was like returning to the closet. “I suppose it may seem that way when you’re disguising a professional connection, whether you’re homosexual or straight.”
They dated for about a year and managed to keep the secret the entire time. “I don’t believe anyone knew,” she says. Jane believes that the secret eventually destroyed their relationship. “I didn’t feel like I was in a genuine relationship; it was almost like I was living a double life.”
She was even relieved when it was over. “I didn’t believe I could keep on for much longer. She wasn’t talking to her family, and we couldn’t see how it would work.”
While Jane and Maryanne remain friends, Jane says the experience has made her uninterested in dating people she works with.
Case Study #3: When it doesn’t work out
Emeka fell for his coworker, Susan, after only three months at the same investment bank. “We hadn’t worked together for that long. She’d been with the firm longer than I had.”
He didn’t see the romance as a conflict of interest because they didn’t have a reporting connection. “Although I was technically superior to her in terms of hierarchy — she was an analyst and I was an associate — she did not report to me and I was not engaged in assigning, supervising, or grading her,” he adds. “We did work together as part of a large team on occasion, but we were never on the same team when we were dating.”
This was Emeka’s first intimate relationship with someone at work, and he admits he was “very naive” and didn’t consider the consequences. “To be honest, I don’t believe one of us thought that far ahead.
We kind of fell into the relationship.”
They didn’t think to notify anyone at first because it was casual. But as things became more severe, they thought it was too late. “It simply felt strange to raise at that time, several months in,” he explains. “She was up for a promotion, and we didn’t want [this revelation] to jeopardize that process.” They both had a coworker who was aware of the connection — Emeka’s longtime buddy and Susan’s roommate. “They were both persons we had a lot of faith in.”
However, the love eventually withered and the couple split up. “This was the most embarrassing aspect of the whole thing,” Emeka adds. “We now had to work much more closely on different projects, and while we tried to be professional, there was unbelievable tension,” he adds. “It was not pleasant, even though it was never obvious to others.”
He left the firm because of this scenario. “It was weird, and I felt like we needed the distance.”
Also you can always get therapy at your convenience via online support.
We use false names to protect the individuals involved.