Balancing a relationship with the demands of work is not always an easy task. Yet, as revealed in an EliteSingles survey, people routinely enter relationships with their colleagues. Indeed, for many singles, it seems like a viable way to meet a long-term partner.
Yet, since such relationships can often end in stress or problems at work, you need to approach them in the right way. Psychologist Wiebke Neberich recommends some ways to best approach workplace romance.
1. Affection is not always mutual.
If the advances of a colleague do not interest you, or if you already have a partner, clearly communicate this to them to avoid misunderstandings. If somebody tells you the same, respect their wishes and remain professional.
2. Consider whether a relationship with a colleague is worth the risk.
Imagine the worst case scenario: the relationship ends badly, and you feel one of you must move departments or leave your position because the daily contact is too stressful. My advice is to take things slowly; get to know the other person well and gain a solid impression of your mutual relationship intentions before committing.
3. Make your situation official as soon as possible.
If something serious does develop, a brief word to direct colleagues is a good idea before somebody else does it for you. It’s always best to be open about a working relationship.
4. Keep hugs, kisses and nicknames for outside of work.
5. Don’t share intimate details of your relationship with another colleague.
Never be tempted to discuss your relationship in detail with others at work. An office relationship will always benefit from discretion and loyalty.
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6. Refrain from making personal jokes.
This only serves to separate you and your partner from other team members and might affect how you get along with others in the company.
7. Spend your breaks and time after work with other colleagues.
I highly recommend doing this, as it helps to continue to be seen as part of the team and as independent from your partner.
8. Refrain from talking about work issues at home.
This is especially true if your partner wants to avoid doing so. Your partner is not a sounding board for your work problems; properly enjoying your free time together means doing and talking about other things. If one of you must talk through a work issue, be pragmatic and set an agreeable time-limit.
9. Find independence.
Spending so much time together can be a challenge, so it may be helpful to find independence through having different hobbies or groups of friends. All couples handle this differently, so find out what sort of balance works for you.
10. If it doesn’t work out, end things professionally.
If unfortunately the relationship isn’t a success, daily interaction can be stressful. But with a clear, solution-focused conversation, it is manageable. If you break up, agree on rules for how you want to interact with each other at work; this can prove very helpful in the period directly after a break-up.
Lasting relationships require discipline, attention and dedication. This is even truer for relationships that must also handle work together. But if you really love your partner and you are well suited, with consideration of how to have the happiest relationship, it is not difficult to balance work and love. The benefits can in fact be hugely rewarding.
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EliteSingles editorial, November 2013