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Why You Should Never Have An Affair At Work

Estimated reading time: 7 mins

You spend most of your time awake at work. Rarely do you get out for lunch, let alone dinner. While you crave meeting that special someone, you just do not get the time to look for one and do not know where to look. Then suddenly, Cupid shoots his arrow and hits the person sitting right next to you at work. Your heartbeat races faster and blood rushes to your head. Love is in the air!

Stop right there! You might think that meetings will be more fun now and there is already lots in common. However, do office romances really work? What happens when they end? How will your life at work be like if it ends on a bad note? Is this something you should even indulge in? In this blog post, we will be looking at things to consider before you throw yourself at someone.

The Reality of Romance at Work

Unfortunately, there is hardly any likelihood for a happy ending here. You need to think of it this way – you are mixing work and love life together and this is a recipe for a potential disaster. If you are smart, you will anticipate plenty of heartache and deal with the real world before the tale concludes. It is likely that one of you will have to leave the job if things turn out to be ugly. And even if things do work out eventually, one of you will have to go because most companies have a policy of not allowing fellow employees to date each other.

In the Event of a Promotion…

Here is another scenario. Imagine that you get in an affair with someone in your department and then you receive a promotion. You would possibly be in a relationship with your subordinate. Such an affair would open possibilities of a blackmail. You will be inclined to help that “special” subordinate and this will mean preferential attitude towards them. Just think about it – will you honestly be unbiased in conducting reviews and evaluating your love? In case you end up being biased, you will be risking your job as well as the job of the other one involved in the affair. You will need to be prepared of becoming an outcast in the event of your peers finding out about your affair with your boss. They will have to automatically play it safe around you and will not be able to trust you enough to include you in work-related issues.

Impossible to Play It Cool

Still if you are thinking about dating a co-worker, you will need to start doing some exercises to amplify your sense of discretion. It will mean a lot of concentrated effort and energy for you if you will want the office romance to stay between just the two of you. You will risk being the subject of suspicion and ridicule when the co-workers will finally find out. They will say things like, “I still cannot believe she is going out with him” and “Of course he was going to get a raise, just look at who he is dating!” So, if you want people to focus on your professional abilities, you should never give them any reason to fuel the rumour mill. The thing with office rumours is that they spread like wildfire. While it can seriously damage your relationship with the people who will be spreading the rumours, the main issue will be the news landing in your boss’s ears and depending on your company’s policy, you might be at a risk of losing your job.

This is Not Just About You

You might be of the opinion that this is a private affair, but is it really? If you follow your logic, it will tell you that your romantic involvement will have a direct impact on your co-workers. If you have a habit of sitting together you will see other people avoiding you to give you “privacy”. It is possible for others to exclude you from certain conversations just because they do not know what you might be relaying to your new love. Your relationship will consciously or subconsciously start influencing your decisions well beyond the lunchroom. Your own judgment might be clouded because of your romance, with regard to projects, team building, promotions as well as delegation of responsibilities. Depending on your position, your affair at work can make it extremely difficult for you, your department and your company to operate effectively. It is easy to slack at work when your love is also with you. Your interest in performance starts to die out as you are always looking for ways to sneak out

Possibilities of Harassment, Blackmail or Leverage.

And then there is harassment. In the event of your affair ending badly, there is the risk of your ex-love tell your boss and the HR that there were unwanted advances made by you. Just think about the level of damage a harassment suit will do to your career. If you work in a small industry, you will end up being blacklisted by all of your potential employers of the future. You will then need to take drastic actions or even go outside the industry or location to find a job. Perhaps you would be better off reconsidering your options and sticking to an online dating service instead. You might want to also join some professional associations while you are at it. They will offer many good opportunities to socialise as you are moving forward in your career. The dangers of being charged with harassment are very real and no affair would be worth all the trouble.

Worse still, if you’re in a position of responsibility or have a role that is part of your company’s regulatory system, then your situation could be leveraged heavily against you towards doing something really REALLY bad. You don’t want to be in that position.

Other Reasons for You to NOT Date a Co-worker

Apart from the reasons shared above, here are some other points in favour of you avoiding an affair at work:

  • If things do not turn out to be the way you expected, it will get especially hard for you to show up at work and seeing their face. This kind of a situation will increase absenteeism and will lead to workplace drama and poor performance. It can also turn uglier, leading to a possibly hostile work environment.
  • As the rumour mill goes into full swing, your love affair will end up being everyone’s business at work. All eyes will be on you and the one you are dating and it will very soon end up being the gossip around the water cooler. Relationships need to be given time to grow and nurture before they can be brought out in the open – a workplace affair will just not allow you all this. Constant scrutiny will lead to a quick wedge between you two.
  • Work and romance combined together will seriously damage your job performance. You will end up taking longer lunch breaks together or look for ways to sneak off to be alone with each other. This can be even more damaging if you are the only two people working on a specific project. This “slacking off” can lead to serious jealousy among co-workers who will then take any opportunity to tell up on you.
  • Things can get very ugly if one of you is already in a committed relationship – just imagine receiving a call or email from an angry significant other. That will create headlines you will not want to be a part of.
  • You can also experience sudden violence from the other person if things do not turn out well. It might be some illness or disorder that will trigger such a negative emotion and this can create all sorts of problems for you.

Final Thoughts

It is easy to have infatuation for someone you find attractive at work. You see them every day and it just seems like a good idea to take the friendship a step further with someone you spend 8 hours of the day, 5 days a week. But before you pencil in a date with that office desire of yours, you should consider scheduling some dinner with nonwork-related buddies. You will be surprised by what might happen to you if you start nurturing these other relationships of yours. A major reason for all these office affairs to begin is that people these days just do not take out the time to have a life outside work and over the weekends. What I mean is that if you take out time to be away from work and your co-workers, you might just give Cupid a good chance to improve his aim. Even then if you feel like the co-worker is that special someone for you, then you will have to play it extremely safe – both of you! If you are working for a big company, you should transfer yourself to another department or facility to avoid any glimmer of office conflict. If this is not an option for you then you should try to get a new job. Need help finding a new job? Why not read this blog post on what you should do when applying for a job.  Please do share your thoughts on the blog and if you have experienced an affair at work. Share your stories in the comments section below.

 
This post is part 18 of 19 in the series Getting to Know Colleagues

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Nouman is a Staff Writer on SimonStapleton.com

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