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4 Obstacles to Office Romance

By Laura Snyder

You're quite chummy with many of your coworkers. You spent eight hours a day together, after all, bonding over the same annoying colleagues, the same demanding boss, the same bad coffee.

There are those long nights in the office you've shared, slaving over a nearly-due project, collaborating on a big presentation. Then there's that night you land a major coup at work and go out after to celebrate over a drink. Or six.

Suddenly your "strictly business" relationship is buzzing with sexual tension. If you're thinking of "working late" tonight, you should read this first.

Cubicle Crush Complication #1: Over Exposure

Can you handle being in constant contact with each other day in and day out, regardless of how well (or how poorly) you maybe getting along at the moment? How much do you want to tie your personal life and work life together? If you're dating someone from the same company, you'll probably spend your evenings and weekends talking about work...does that sound fun? And what will you talk about over dinner at night when you both already know each other's good office gossip?

Cubicle Crush Complication #2: Productivity Pitfalls

Getting carnal with your coworkers can interfere with your ability to do your job. Think: favoritism (real or only merely accused), conflicts of interest, not to mention the obvious awkwardness if you're ever in a position that requires you to fire, or even just reprimand, your sweetheart. Or vice versa.

Cubicle Crush Complication #3: Gossip Gun-Shy

No matter how good you are at keeping it a secret, people will find out. And people will talk. Are you prepared to deal with unfair perceptions or gossip? Some may think you're creating an uncomfortable work environment or using power in the wrong way. If you can't handle being the subject of water cooler conversations, reconsider your office romance.

Cubicle Crush Complication #4: Ugly Outcomes

Office romances are tricky enough when they're working, but if the union becomes unglued, things can really get ugly. If you're dating a colleague, there are all those uncomfortable moments as you pass in the hallway. And--as if the breakup itself wasn't bad enough--if you're dating someone above or below you on the corporate ladder, you could be faced with a sexual harassment lawsuit (from a scorned subordinate) or losing your job.

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