Why You Should Never Date A Coworker
Ah, the office romance. It’s a tale as old as time—or at least as old as workplaces. You find someone who gets your jokes, understands your work woes, and, maybe they even look kind of cute in that swivel chair.
You share deadlines, you share space, and it’s tempting to think you might share a spark too. It’s easy, convenient, and it even adds a little spice to the mundanity of Monday meetings. You can already picture the sweet coffee dates in the break room, can’t you?
Well, let me be a Debbie Downer and stop you right there, before you dive headlong into this whirlpool of romance and risk. Because, my friend, there are many hidden perils of dating a coworker that you may not have considered.
11 reasons why you shouldn’t date your coworker
1. The blur between personal and professional life
You might enjoy the closeness and the shared experiences at first, but after a while, it could get claustrophobic. Your professional and personal lives get mixed up to the point where you can’t tell where one ends and the other begins.
When you’re spending 40 hours a week with the same person at work, then another heap of hours outside of it, you might start longing for a little variety.
2. Breakups are hard; office breakups are harder
Think about how difficult regular breakups can be, then add the challenge of seeing your ex every single day. You can’t escape the awkwardness of post-breakup encounters when they’re sitting right across the desk from you.
You’ll also have to deal with your coworkers knowing about your personal life, and it’s not always easy to control the office grapevine.
3. Unfairness and bias might creep in
Unintentionally, you could start showing favoritism or bias, even if you don’t mean to. People might question the fairness of decisions if they know there’s a relationship involved. This could lead to tension among team members and even accusations of unprofessional behavior.
4. Career growth might take a hit
If you’re seen as a duo at work, it might hinder your individual career growth. When promotions or new projects come around, people might hesitate to split the “package deal”. It could be challenging to establish your individual professional identity when your personal life is so closely tied to your job.
5. The gossip grapevine
Offices (and workplaces in general) are notorious for their gossip chains. If you’re dating a coworker, it’s almost guaranteed that your relationship will become the subject of whispers around the water cooler.
This not only puts your personal life in the spotlight, but it can also create an uncomfortable atmosphere, as people may start to scrutinize your interactions and make assumptions. This level of scrutiny can be stressful and intrusive, affecting your emotional well-being and work productivity.
6. Could lead to potential legal issues
Many companies have strict policies against dating coworkers due to potential legal implications. If the relationship ends on a sour note, it might result in accusations of harassment or favoritism which could get messy, fast.
7. Colleagues might feel awkward
Your relationship could create an awkward dynamic within the team. Colleagues might feel uncomfortable or unsure of how to act around you. They’ll have to censor themselves about topics they’d otherwise freely discuss, especially if it relates to you or your partner.
There could also be a perceived pressure to pick sides during disagreements, or even simply to align more closely with one of you for fear of offending or alienating the other.
This strain can lead to a less than ideal working environment, impacting not just your comfort, but the overall team’s morale and productivity.
8. It’s a constant distraction
When you date a coworker, there’s always a lingering thought about your relationship even when you’re trying to focus on work. You might find yourself constantly checking their reactions during meetings, or stressing about their interactions with other members of staff (if you’re the jealous type). Likewise, they might do the same with you.
This level of mental and emotional preoccupation can interfere with your ability to perform to your fullest potential at work, ultimately affecting your professional growth.
9. Can you really be yourself?
With the eyes of your paramour on you constantly, there’s often an unconscious pressure to behave in a certain way, to maintain a certain image. Can you be as professional as you need to be if you’re worried about how they’ll perceive you?
And can you really let loose and show your true self, the one that maybe sings off-key or enjoys cheesy dad jokes, when you know you’ll face those same eyes in the next board meeting?
10. The hierarchy hang-up
If you and your sweetheart aren’t on the same rung of the corporate ladder, it could potentially cause friction in your relationship. If one of you is higher up, it could result in an imbalance of power, influencing your dynamic outside of work.
It’s difficult to leave the ‘boss-employee’ roles at the office door when you clock out.
11. Career competition
A little healthy competition never hurt anyone, right? Well, in the case of office romances, it can get a tad tricky. As both of you progress in your careers, there’s potential for professional jealousy to creep in, particularly if one seems to be advancing faster than the other.
Instead of celebrating your partner’s promotion, you might find yourself battling feelings of envy and disappointment, especially if it’s a role you were vying for. This is bound to create tension and resentment in your personal relationship, turning what should be a joyful occasion into a source of conflict.
Wrapping things up
Hmm, this one seems a bit like a no-brainer, if you ask me. And seeing as you visited my site, I’m assuming you are asking me.
The bottom line is this: dating a coworker? More trouble than it’s worth. You’re not just risking awkward run-ins at the coffee machine if things go south. You’re playing with fire in terms of professional integrity, coworker dynamics, and not to mention, your mental peace.
Unless you’re totally certain your coworker is ‘the one’ (and I mean, cupid’s-arrow-through-the-heart certain), let’s keep the boardroom for brainstorming, not heart-strings.
There’s a whole world of potential partners outside those office walls, don’t confine your choices to your workplace.