Dating a Co-worker

Before I go any further or delve into my soliloquy, let me make it clear.   One should never date a co-worker 99.9% of the time!  Some of you may disagree and I welcome all your thoughts.  But since this is my blog, I get to state my position–relationships at work almost always go badly.

A few months ago one of my friends asked my opinion on whether she should begin a relationship with another attorney in her office.  They have been flirting for months, it was evident to her and others that they were attracted to each other, but the only thing standing in her way was that they worked together.  They didn’t work on the same floor, and only saw each other at work during lunch time and weekly meetings, but that didn’t matter to me.  My answer remained a staunch no.

Against my advice, she went ahead and they dated for a little while (I believe this was his second intra-office “relationship”).  Like most relationships, everything was great at first.  Except for the fact that they rarely went out together in fear that co-workers might spot them.  And after a few months, she asked the infamous question—“where is this going?”  Things became very awkward after that.  Although he professed his feelings for her, he was not prepared to officially be a couple.

It didn’t take her long to realize that their rendezvous had to end.  But unfortunately, that didn’t end their running into each other at work.  Every day I received phone calls from my friend complaining about how much her job sucked.  She was not a fan of her job prior to her inter-office dating, and now she had to cope with running into the guy in the elevator, in meetings, in the stairwell, in the parking lot.  Now she was hurt having to accept that he didn’t want to have a relationship with her, but instead of simply cutting him off and moving on with her life, she was reminded of the rejection on a daily basis.  Meanwhile, she had to pretend as if they were still friends in order for their co-workers to not realize that they were once more than just work friends.

While he called her at work to ask her why she was behaving funny, and passed on some of his cases to her (usual part of their job), she handled her self well under the circumstances.  Once she seemed to be over the situation and things had settled into some type of normalcy between them as co-workers, I couldn’t resist the chance of saying to her, “I told you so!”

Here are 8 reasons why one should reject the idea of dating a co-worker:

1- Interference with your work performance

2- Don’t become the office gossip

3- Can’t sever ties if the relationship goes south

4- Harder to handle if he/she starts dating someone else at work

5- You’re putting a lot of faith in the other person that they’ll keep it under wraps

6- May be a violation in your Employee Handbook

7- Your lover may become your boss (or vice versa)

8- Talk of favoritism if your relationship is public

Now I don’t want to sound like negative Nancy.  I know people who started off their relationship as co-workers and it has now developed into marriage.   So anything is possible.


15 Responses to “Dating a Co-worker”

  1. the_cosignor Says:

    I concur! I am in the middle of a “like triangle” at work. Two women are interested in me and have asked me to hang out (wink wink) outside of work on several occasions. I work in a really small group. I want to keep my job…so no mixing business and pleasure for me!


  2. LIST's co-worker Says:

    So is this why you keep turning down my offers?!


    • LIST Says:

      I had to edit your comment to remove my name!! Yes this is the reason why I keep turning down your offers on top of the fact that I don’t want you texting someone else while we’re out on a date telling them how bad our date is 🙂 I almost added your experience to this post, but refrained.


  3. Big Daddy Says:

    If I had followed your advice, I wouldn’t be married to my awesome ex-coworker for ten (10) years now. For all you single folks out there, most people meet their spouses at school or work. So go ahead and stay single! 🙂 Or take some risks. Soul mates come along once, you can always find another J O B.


    • LIST Says:

      Yes Big Daddy. Note my final statement….you are one of the exceptions to my comment.


      • Big Daddy Says:

        How do you know if you’ll be an exception, unless you take a risk? Is life so long that we can afford to play it safe? The issue isn’t whether or not to date at work. The question potential dates should ask themselves, is am I dating someone who is a good person, with a good heart, that I can trust? Or am I dating him/her for some other reason, such that this will likely go bad? If it is the former, date this person anywhere any time. If it is the later, stop dating and go do some soul searching because it will go wrong regardless of where it happens. It is all about motive and intentions. Problem is that many of us get into things not knowing why and that is the trouble. No?


      • LIST Says:

        Big Daddy,

        Your argument appears to have some flaws. I agree with your notion that fear = future events appear real. However, you are putting the chicken before the egg. How is a person to know the answers to the questions you pose before going forward and taking the plunge? I’m sure you recognize the state of our current economy. I guess I fall in the soul-searching category because I’m not willing to put my job at risk for the potential that my co-worker may turn out to be my future husband. But for those who want to toy with the idea, you and your wife stand as the example for them to keep hope alive (holding up my fist)!


  4. Najah Says:

    lol! I dated a co-worker once. But, it was a situation where we weren’t really interested in things going further, we just liked hanging out. I think that in the future, I would avoid it because of workplace gossip. Even though no one knew we were actually dating, the one office busybody was convinced we were dating and went around talking about how we were going to get married etc., even though we were casual. Still friends with the guy, so if I were still at that job, I don’t think it would be awkward. But, the gossip was too much for me to take…


    • oneil Says:

      Najah, ive been there…it was so bad at one point that one of the PARTNERS in the office asked me during our fantasy football draft: “o’neil, how many girls are you f***ing in the office?” that being said, i never acknowledged anything; and that is ultimately the way you have to do it. if neither of the two involved acknowledge the rumors, then it’s simply a rumor 😉
      the classic joint was that i found out, one of the chix i had smashed and left the firm, was also getting it in with a partner. just wrap it!! ahaha


  5. oneil Says:

    Chicas are always getting attached. If one were to put everything out there upfront, there would never be any issues. I’m “on” girl #4 from the office, one of whom was my serious g/f for 3 years. I’m just fine…you only live once, carpe diem!


  6. Najah Says:

    hey wait! I’m a girl! lol!


  7. singlesnet Says:

    Loved the article! Dating a co-worker is ALWAYS a bad idea


  8. pennerad Says:

    hmm…maybe you should do a gender perspective. seems like the men are all for it and the women say no. i would never have dreamed of dating anyone at any of my previous jobs. horrifying, really.


  9. Brie Says:

    Barack and Michelle evidently dated in the workplace, so I may beg to differ if the circumstances are right. But I do think that some criteria for whether this is a go or no-go should be considered.
    1. Do you work in the same department? If so, I might be less likely to say this is a go…and risks should be considered very carefully.
    2. What would be the result if the relationship didn’t work out? (consider the impact on yourself, your boss and other colleagues)
    3. would you leave your job if things worked well or really nasty.
    4. importantly, the terms of your contract or employee handbook (rightly noted)


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