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Dating a Coworker: How To Damage Control In Office Relationships

The average full-time employee spends more waking hours at work than at home, so it’s no surprise when lunch partners quickly become bed buddies. It’s all about #ManCrushMonday and #LifeOfAWife until “bae” calls it quits. Here’s how you successfully sever ties without ruining your work reputation.

Never let him see you sweat

Imagine working in a cubical setting and casually eavesdropping on your former “him” chatting it up with his new boo. Meanwhile, you can’t even get a text back. If that’s not enough to grind your gears, you’re doing better than most. Seeing your ex with someone else no sooner than two seconds after he’s told you he’s not ready for something serious can be quite hurtful. Your best bet is to get into character and fake it ‘til you make it. Don’t let your jealousy and defeat get the best of you. Hold your head high and channel your need for affection into a quick girls’ trip or a family fun day. The worst thing you can do is let him see you smack in the middle of your puffy-eyed and stuffy-nosed routine. Shed no tears and by all means, avoid the urge to make subliminal social media posts or share Trina “situationship” memes.

Take your time

There’s a saying that the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. No way, girl! Before your first office relationship could be made official, the rumor mill was already swirling. By the time you’re ready to take the plunge again with your ex’s teammate, the slut shaming has gotten out of control. Give yourself time to regroup. Get to know this new guy’s intentions and focus on keeping it low-key until you’re certain this is more than just revenge sex. If you just have to find yourself a little “distraction,” try not to dip into the office pool again. Think about expanding your dating options outside of the workplace. That way, you can simply block his number and keep trucking if it doesn’t work out. Find a way to keep your dating life discreet. Yes, we’re all grown and can do as we please. However, perception is everything—especially in the workplace. Your love life shouldn’t overshadow the value you bring to your job.

Don’t let if affect your performance

We all have those days when we’re off our game. Women are emotional creatures. Having a lover and a friend who understands your career struggles firsthand can make a less than desirable work environment more intriguing. When our personal relationships struggle, it can get the best of us and we start to slack on the job. Never let a man or lack thereof affect your coin, babe. Be a big girl and do the work. Find a way to channel that “I hate your guts!” energy into some “You can’t stop me!” work output. Maintaining a positive mindset and handling stress when facing unexpected challenges is what lady bosses do—so don’t forget that!

Understand the rules

It’s important to have closure and set clear boundaries when you call it quits. When the breakup isn’t a mutual decision, one party may take it a little too far in attempts to rekindle the flame. In the workplace, this can quickly turn into a policy violation or legal issue. Be on the safe side and review your company’s fraternization policy. If you’ve done nothing wrong, your supervisor will be better equipped to defend your cause. Better to have the news comes from you versus a water cooler conversation. Peer-to-peer and supervisor-to-employee relationships are equally subject to sexual harassment claims. The situation can get quite sticky in supervisor-employee relationships. Your team members could suggest favoritism, discrimination, or that you slept your way to the top as you continue to get pay raises, despite your lackluster performance. It’s also not unheard of for a supervisor to make an employee’s life a living hell once the relationship has ended. That could light a fire under you to dust off your résumé and force you to leave a job you love. Play it safe and avoid that situation at all costs.

When that love bug bites, sometimes you just can’t fight it. Stories surface every day of how couples have found everlasting love in the workplace. Think of yourself as a rule and never the exception. If it doesn’t work out, do what you can to protect yourself from added distress. Consider the worst-case scenario and plan your damage control strategy accordingly.

Have you ever dated a coworker? Tell us your story!

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Ashley Watkins, Career Coach and Nationally Certified Resume Writer with Write Step Resumes, LLC, offers high-quality career documents and services to job seekers and career changers that generate more interviews and higher salary offers. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or via Click here to schedule a FREE consult today!

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