Portland Relationship Counselor: When You Date Your Coworker

June 25, 2014 by

Office relationships are becoming increasingly common and socially acceptable, and it’s not a big surprise. With most working adults spending 40 or more hours a week on the job, you have a lot of time to get to know your coworkers and potentially meet someone who seems perfect for you (it worked for Barack and Michelle Obama, after all). Or, if you and your current partner work in the same industry, you may find yourselves in the same workplace at some point over the course of your careers.

When you’re dating someone you work with, separating your personal and professional life can be a challenge. Here’s what to consider before embarking on an office relationship or accepting a job at your partner’s workplace.

If you’re starting a new relationship, make sure it’s for the right reasons. If you’re attracted to a coworker, take the time to really get to know them before embarking on a relationship. Make sure you want to date them because you’re interested in them as a whole person, not just because you’ve both been working late nights and have a shared dislike of your supervisor.

Don’t broadcast your relationship. It may be company policy to disclose an office relationship to your boss, but you don’t need to let everyone in the building know that you’re dating a coworker. In fact, disclosing your relationship to everyone may make some coworkers feel uncomfortable or think that you and your partner are getting preferential treatment. Avoid discussing your relationship or engaging in public displays of affection in front of your workmates.

Leave relationship issues at home. It doesn’t matter if you and your partner had a huge argument the previous night that still needs resolving; don’t rehash the issue at the office. Your relationship should never interfere with your ability to perform your job well.

Spend time apart at the office when possible. If you work in a small office and you and your partner have desks in the same room, it might be hard to spend time apart. But if your partner works in another department down the hall, don’t keep making excuses to walk over there five times a morning. Think of your own desk or workspace as your purely professional zone and focus on your own work there.

Consider a position at another workplace. There are some situations where it may be better for one partner to pursue a career in another workplace. For example, it’s never a good idea to date someone in a higher or lower position in the office hierarchy, so if your relationship is getting serious and one of you gets promoted to become a manager for the other, the two of you should discuss possible alternatives to working together.

Navigating an office relationship isn’t easy, so if you and your partner need advice or want to learn better problem solving skills to keep personal issues out of the workplace, consider scheduling an appointment to see a Portland relationship counselor.