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Why You Should Avoid Dating a Co-worker

For many of today’s professionals, the workplace is a primary meeting ground for romantic encounters. It’s easy to fall into a busy routine in which your social life is limited to interactions around the water cooler. However, dating a co-worker can play foul with your career and create awkwardness at staff meetings should the relationship turn south. It’s much better to find a romantic partner elsewhere in order to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

Liability Issues

Companies may understand the reality of office romances, but they may find it necessary to impose restrictions due to the threat of lawsuits, image concerns, and sexual harassment problems. Issues of favoritism or discrimination can also arise. Co-workers may feel that they unfairly missed out on a promotion or raise and claim that preferential treatment is occurring, especially when employees date their supervisors. And what happens when someone has an affair with a boss, the relationship turns sour, and that employee receives what they consider to be an unfair review of their work? Singles in any demographic, whether they are single men in Boston or professionals in smaller metropolitan areas, can find such as situation to be fraught with potential problems.

Some companies institute a “no-dating” policy, although preventing even casual romantic involvement can be hard to enforce. More commonly, companies won’t hire spouses or relatives of employees. Other companies are more lenient, but they may require a written disclosure to prevent negative situations from arising. Anyone who is a high level executive should avoid dating someone within the company, even if the work relationship is only tangentially related. It is simply not worth the risk.

Too Much Togetherness

The mystery and anticipation of a future get-together is part of the pleasure of dating. But when the other person is right there in the next office, the romantic tension can be easily broken. If one person is less eager for an exclusive relationship than the other, they may feel their freedom is impaired. A sense of obligation can descend prematurely, causing the relationship to suffer. Generally speaking, dating should be a natural, and somewhat slow process.

Another issue is that it’s easy to lose focus on the job if you’re smitten with a co-worker. Of course, if you break up, the proximity will cause a whole different set of problems. While some companies look the other way when employees date, overall, it is not beneficial for them. A worker with a broken heart may quit in order to avoid seeing his or her ex on a day-to-day basis. Losing employees can be costly for a company. Even a relationship that blooms into a committed partnership can cause problems, especially if one person is the other’s boss. Having an office romance is a popular and common practice. However, dating a co-worker isn’t a smart idea, and it can harm your reputation and career.

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