Office romance and dating a coworker is one of the more controversial dating issues. As taboo as it may often be, especially at a typical admittedly uptightAmerican workplace, where even asking a co-worker out is prohibit by the company’s rules, workplace romance is one of the most enticing and exciting romantic and sexual fantasies for many guys and a few women. There is something about dating at work or even having a short, exciting fling with the co-worker that makes it particularly intriguing and exciting. The idea itself would make just about anyone feel a little more like James Bond, whether you are a guy or a woman. Given how much time so many of us spend at work, it’s only expected that we will run into someone who we find attractive and desirable, especially if we don’t have all that much free time or opportunities to meet people outside of work. If our feelings toward someone are reciprocated, resisting a closer connection will be all the more difficult. This is especially true at a large company where you feel like you could date someone who works at a different floor or a different building, and if things don’t work out, the chances of running into each other and dealing with that kind of awkwardness are fairly low.
So, should you approach and ask out that marketing or human resources girl who you work with and find so attractive? Should you try to have an affair in the office with your co-worker, be it your colleague, secretary or even superior?
There isn’t a simple answer to this question, but I do believe that the following three considerations will be very helpful to you in making your own, very personal choice about whether you should dating or have sex with someone at your office:
1. Your company’s policy with respect to dating a coworker
Some companies strongly discourage employees from having any romantic relationships between each other. I am not sure about how legal it is to impose a prohibition on employees to have a consensual romantic relationship outside of workplace, but if that’s the policy – you should ask yourself how important and valuable your job is to you. Are you willing to risk being disciplined or even fired for a chance of approaching, dating, and having an affair with a woman you are interested in and working with? What is the likelihood that your co-workers or managers’ attitude toward you will change, after they find out that you are romantically involved with your co-worker?
2. The nature of your current relationship with that coworker.
Are you best friends? Do you work closely together in the same room or even at the same desk? Have you known each other for a long time? Do you have many mutual friends? Will you lose a significant person from your life if you get involved romantically with each other and things don’t work out for whatever reason? Ironically, the closer of the friends you are now, the harder it will be to stay such good friends after the romantic fallout, whether it’s a short lived affair or a full-blown relationship. Only you know how important that other person to you and how much you will lose if she is not part of your life any longer. There are people out there who truly remain friends after their attempts at dating don’t work out, but that’s rare, and this is usually possible when both people didn’t have very strong romantic feelings toward each other.
3. Keep in mind the reality that most dating situations don’t work out.
This is just a natural part of dating. We keep meeting people, we start dating them and then things end for all kinds of reasons. Most relationships end with a break-up – that’s just our reality. Therefore, your next question to yourself should be – how uncomfortable will you feel working with a woman who you had some kind of negative interaction after dating her or sleeping with her, given the fact that things are likely not work our between the two of you for one reason or the other?
If you went out on just one date and you found out that you aren’t really all that into each other, then there will most likely be no hard feelings. However, if you start seeing each other, become intimate, develop feelings toward each other and then break up for one reason or another, there will likely be feelings of resentment between you and her. And as a result – the desire to avoid running into each other in the office. If you work in a large company, avoiding each other might not be that hard. You might be working on different floors or in different buildings. However, if you and that woman are employed in a small office and are forced to see each other all the time, then working next to her might be a serious emotional and professional obstacle for both of you, and might cause a lot of awkwardness.
Having said the above, I see no harm in asking a woman from your office out one time and seeing how things go between the two of you. If you do decide to make a “move,” make sure it’s subtle and indirect. Don’t make it sound like a “date.” Instead, invite her for a coffee / drink after work and a walk in the park or something similar and see how things are going between the two of you. This will allow you to find out if you really like her outside of the workplace without making it look like you are rejecting her if you don’t ask her out again in the future. Also, this will not make you feel uncomfortable if she rejects your very subtle advances, because you weren’t really inviting her out to a date anyway. Then, make appropriate decisions on what to do next in light of the above factors.
If, on the other hand, you find out that are really into each other and you have incredible, one-of-a-kind chemistry, then both of you will have to decide whether acting on is worth the risks associated with being involved with a co-worker and how likely it is to jeopardize your job. Only you will be able to answer those questions.