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What You Must Know When You’re Dating a Co-Worker

By now you’ve heard all about the potentially uncomfortable situations that arise from dating a co-worker. But if you’re still willing to get invested in an inter-office romance, there are some things you must know. Yes, it can be done properly, but it requires discretion and a sense of professionalism from both of you. If you just can’t take your eyes off of that person in the accounting department, read on:

Find out about your company’s policy on office romances

Some offices have put policies into place that detail rules about office romances. Before you jump in to a fling with someone from your place of employment, you’ll want to see what HR has to say about it. Some companies ask employees to fill out forms stating that they’re pursuing a relationship, while others have put restrictions on romances (no dating within departments, for example). Learn these rules so you don’t jeopardize both of your jobs as you pursue a relationship.

Keep it quiet

If it turns out that your company is okay with office romances, proceed with caution. You may want to shout from the rooftops that you’re together, but it’s important to keep the details of your love quiet. An inter-office romance could become a distraction, which might make you look bad to your supervisor. Additionally, colleagues may change their opinion of you when they hear you’re dating a fellow employee. You don’t want your relationship to impact your professional life at all, so don’t address it with co-workers. Even if you have close friends in the office, it’s best to keep the details to a minimum. They may end up spilling to other colleagues, so the word can get out even if you don’t put it out there.

Hands off

While it may seem exciting to be able to sneak a smooch in the middle of the day, don’t do it. PDA in the office makes both of you look unprofessional and may create an uncomfortable situation for those around you. While the other characters on The Office may not have squirmed when Jim and Pam cuddled and kissed during the middle of the workday, your real life colleagues almost certainly will.

Keep any physical contact out of the office. You should treat your significant other just like you would any other colleague. Even subtle hand holding under the desk is off-limits. In fact, your co-workers should almost be able to forget that the two of you are an item.

Keep disagreements out of the office

This can be tricky, but it’s essential. If you squabbled with your partner before heading in to work for the day, don’t bring that drama and tension into the office. So he can’t put the toilet seat down. There’s no need to announce this in the middle of the break room. Make a conscious effort to keep work and home issues completely separate from one another.

Have you ever dated a co-worker? How did it work out? What did you learn from it? 

Lauren Levine

Lauren Levine is a copywriter/blogger who contributes to a number of magazines and websites including The Frisky, USA Today, and others. She also authors her own blog called Life with Lauren. She loves cooking, anything on the E! network, and is trying to convince herself that running isn't so bad.