The moment we hear the word “forbidden,” we get the urge to break the rules. Why? Human nature, I guess! Romantic relationships at work fall in the same “forbidden” category at some offices. Although, that’s not entirely true. Remember when Ross wants to date a student in the sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S? “It’s not forbidden, but it is frowned upon,” he clarifies to his buddies. Office romance is no different. The management has valid reasons. They fear that couples will bring their fights, romance, and disagreements at work, thus affecting work productivity.
Couples, on the other hand, aren’t wrong either. You spend so many hours at work and drag your tired body home after a long day, hardworking day. Romantic relationships at work is the only option left to spice up personal lives. Balancing the behavior between how you treat the same person as your colleague at work and your romantic partner outside is challenging.
So, here’s answering the biggest question, “How to handle romantic relationships at work?” It’s a list of do’s and don’ts that will hopefully ease phasing into striking a professional and personal balance.
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Romantic Relationships at Work
7 Do’s and Don’ts
1. Do check the work policy when you join a company
Whenever you join a new place, the HR department drowns you with papers to sign. Check details about the company’s policies about romantic relationships at work. Firms that have dealt with the downsides of such relationships would’ve surely included their terms about the same. Several countries do not have any policies about it, but then some negative people from the management try to keep the people bonding away from each other. Although, that has more to do with their orthodox mindset than your chances of finding love.
I remember an incident in India, where not many companies have any policy against having romantic relationships at work. A friend of mine fell in love with a guy at her office, which a conventional man, with no requirement of his opinion, established how it was wrong. Clearly, he was uncomfortable with the idea of finding love at work. He went on to tell her, “Do you come here to work or chat around with men?” His statement was downright demeaning. The man went on to the extent of pulling strings to get my friend’s partner transferred to another office.
I cite this example because I feel like sometimes people might say things to you because of their idiotic mindset or because of sheer jealousy. Go by the company rules and not by what people say to you. If it is on paper and you really like the person, there’s no harm in having romantic relationships at work.
2. Shhh about it until you’re sure
You don’t have to go around telling people about your romantic relationships at work, especially since they involve complications. Take your time to get to know the person outside your workplace. Babysteps are the only way to go when handling something like this. Until you aren’t sure and have had the conversation with your colleague slash partner, stay hush about your relationship. You don’t want people teasing you during work hours, unnecessarily finding faults in either of you or accuse you of being distracted at work.
It is also preferable that you speak to your managers/supervisors before anyone else in the office narrates your story in their way. If you have close friends, make sure they’re people who won’t use the information for their benefit. Sounds mean, but it happens! If you see your relationship heading a positive way, don’t hide it anymore, lest your bosses find out from someone else. Not that it should matter to them, but it is best to have your bosses on your side. Romantic relationships at work does sound like a task, doesn’t it? But, love doesn’t come with locations!
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3. Don’t “double” out at office parties and events
Romantic relationships at work shouldn’t change the equation you have with your partner and other colleagues. At work, everyone is part of one large group that should have fun together. Doubling out to spend time with each other at work parties or events looks very unprofessional. People will find a reason to deliberately leave you out of other such gatherings the next time. Stay with your group and plan a date with your work lover for another time.
4. Stay away from professional hierarchies
Dating people who hold a position above or below yours is a bad idea. If they’re superior, they might end up ruining things for you if things don’t work out. On the other hand, those who work in a position beneath yours might blame you for taking advantage of them. There have been cases when heartbroken colleagues have blackmailed their exes at work in return for professional favors. Someone who handles your report is a strict no-no! You know how people are. They’ll talk about all sorts of stuff and upset you about why you got an excellent performance report.
5. Don’t break boundaries
Having a partner at work doesn’t mean things should change for you at your workplace. You still get to handle your work and the people around you in your way, and your partner gets the same right. Flirting at work, getting involved in your partner’s official matters, speaking for each other, etc., are actions you should avoid to keep your work and personal life smooth. Have a discussion about your boundaries when you’re having a serious romantic relationship at work. Don’t get involved in each other’s professional matters. If you’re having a bad day, wait as patiently as you would for a partner working elsewhere to share how you feel.
More than anything else, it will surely affect your confidence at work, and you’ll slip into a phase of dependence. You’ve been by yourself for so long, and you can still do it. Having romantic relationships at work without any boundaries can also change the way others look at you.
6. Church and State formula
Romantic relationships at work require some extra effort and a lot of mutual agreement. While watching an interesting episode of Grey’s Anatomy by Shonda Rhimes, I came across a fabulous concept which she called “Church and State.” Miranda Bailey, the Chief of the Hospital, ends up becoming her husband’s boss at work. It was an unavoidable situation for both, and her husband respected her more than anything else. But soon, they realized that sometimes they brought work disagreements home and relationship arguments to work.
To resolve the issue, they decided they would say the word “church” whenever they were in a personal space and “state” when they were in a professional place. Sometimes, when Ben would expect too much out of Miranda at work, she would call “state” to let him know that she cannot grant him a professional favor. Whenever Ben wanted to remind her to speak about herself as a person and not as the Chief, he would call “church.”
Use the formula that leads to successful romantic relationships at work. This will avoid arguments about work at home and at home at work. You will learn to set issues aside and wear a mask when at work.
7. Wear a shield to encounter the risks
The one thing that you must do to power through romantic relationships at work is to shield yourself against the risks. You know that things could fall apart, and you might have to see your partner’s face every day. It is not like a usual breakup where you can block the person everywhere. So, be ready for the risk of you skipping a beat many times a day and yet make sure to not feel weak in the knees whenever you see them.
By any unfortunate means, if you’re stuck with an ex at work who doesn’t handle breakups well, then you’re in for a hell ride. They could use unfair means to defame you and make a public shame of your relationship. Make sure you stay prepared for the worst-case scenario as such and plan to handle things amicably. If possible, end the relationship on good terms.
The management could also cite reasons for their discomfort towards a relationship that they find interfering with their work. In such cases, you should happily face the risk of switching to another job. But if you really love the person, then it is worth it. Moreover, it helps to have a partner at another office because then you have enough time apart to get together. Switch your job. You’ll no be a part of the much-eyed category of romantic relationships at work, and you’ll still have someone to love you!
What do you think about these do’s and don’ts? Let us know in the comment section below. If you have any more tips to have successful relationships at work from your experience, I’d love to hear them! It would mean a lot to me if you express your love in the form of rating this article below and subscribing to www.lovesmitten.com. If you do, I’ll be sure to send love updates like these directly to your INBOX. Trust me, you’ll like it!
Have a happy relationship, at work or not, you deserve all the happiness and love in the world. Cheers!