Things You Should Consider Before Dating A Coworker

If you have a full-time job, you will spend an average of 90,000 hours of your life working (via Psychology Today). That breaks down to a third of your lifetime which, when you think about how fleeting life is, can feel somewhat terrifying. But it is what it is — those bills and student loans aren't going to pay themselves.


Because you do work so much, getting to know your co-workers on a deeper level is something that just happens. Granted, this doesn't mean you like all of them, but all that time together can definitely give you an idea about who they are, and you might even end up falling in love with one of them. "There is something about constantly interacting with someone that creates kinship," Mirande Valbrune, attorney and author of "#MeToo: A Practical Guide to Navigating Today's Cultural Workplace Revolution," tells Forbes. "You realize you get along and you make each other laugh, and you do all these things that make people interested in one another."

Although not all office romances end up in marital bliss like that of Jim and Pam on "The Office," if there's something blooming between you and a co-worker, then there are things you want to seriously consider.


What are the possible repercussions?

Before you make that first move of going out on a date, you'll want to talk about what pursuing a relationship could mean for both of your jobs. Finding someone who seems like the perfect match, and maybe even your soulmate, is a wonderful thing. But when this happens with someone you work with, there could be issues. This is especially the case if one of you happens to be the boss or manager of the other. These types of hierarchical workplace relationships are usually frowned upon, and in some office environments, they are even prohibited (via The Conversation).


"If one potential outcome is that you could lose your job and you could lose your dream, you have to ask if this relationship is really worth it," dating coach Damona Hoffman tells NPR

Hierarchical workplace relationships can cause resentment among some employees too (via Forbes). "It creates a major conflict of interest," CEO of STATE Bags Jessica Davidoff tells Well+Good. "If you're head over heels about your superior or your junior and the feeling is mutual, you might want to talk to HR about potentially reassigning one of you to a different manager if you really wanted to pursue the relationship."

Will the relationship affect how you do your job?

Even if you've yet to make your relationship known and signed a "love contract," as Michael Scott so eloquently called it when he started dating Jan on "The Office," your co-workers and your employers aren't dumb. When there's a budding romance, people can sense it, even if you and your partner are keeping it on the DL. And if your relationship — or gossip about your relationship — ends up affecting your productivity, it can have negative consequences for you professionally. 


According to ClarityWave, couples who work together may insist that they are more inspired to work, but in reality, "when one employee falls in love with a colleague, there is a tendency that the person in love would focus on this person at the expense of their work." So, while any hopeless romantic will tell you love trumps work, you still need to be responsible. This brings us to ...

Tell HR if it gets serious

If your relationship evolves past a couple of dates and things are getting hot and heavy and moving in the direction of being serious, you can't keep it to yourself — there are just too many risks involved. It's important to talk to your Human Resources department and let your boss know what's going on as soon as you know your relationship is more than a fling (via WeWork). If things go sour, the company, and even managers, can be held liable and that's simply not fair to do to them.


There's a good chance that HR will give you guidelines as to how to navigate your relationship in a way that doesn't make other people feel awkward (via The Muse). It's important to understand that office romances are often discouraged, because of how many people they can possibly affect, so once you know it's legit, have you and your partner let the higher-ups know what's going on immediately.

Keep things professional

So, you're in love with someone you work with — that's wonderful. But that doesn't mean that the office is an extension of your bedroom or that anyone cares about your relationship's ups and downs. Think of it this way: When you're at work, no one should be able to tell you're in a relationship (via GQ).


"You may have the burden of overcompensating with professionalism and keeping an artificial distance, which can be an awkward strain," Lynn Taylor, national workplace expert and the author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job," tells Insider. "Better to overcompensate than to constantly test the limits of workplace etiquette while hoping for the best. No one wants to hear about how deeply you're in love with each other or where you went last weekend or the fight you had in the car this morning. Save it for your family or friends outside work." Remember, you may be in a relationship, but your workplace is still your workplace.

Consider what might happen if you break up

Although no one, especially those in a new relationship, wants to think about breaking up, if you're going to date someone you work with, you have to take into consideration what happens if you do break up. In fact, it's essential.


"While this may seem pessimistic, realism is important," Dana Goren, head of human resources at HR tech company Hibob, tells Elite Daily. "You have to know yourself, and if you would not feel comfortable working side-by-side with this person in the event of a breakup, you must outline a Plan B."

Breakups don't always bring out the best behavior in people, so you need to think long and hard about how not just you, but your partner too, will handle it (via LinkedIn). It's one thing to be sad, but if there's animosity and other emotions that interfere with productivity, then you'll have a major problem on your hands. At that point, you need to figure out how to handle it like adults and, if not, decide who will be looking for a new job.