5 Reasons to Avoid an Office Romance

Why You Shouldn't Look for Love at Work

Two colleagues flirting in office
No good will come of this. John Cumming / Digital Vision / Getty Images

Want to meet that special someone? Don't look for him or her at work despite what some relationship experts advise. While a coworker may meet several of your criteria for a perfect mate—similar interests, proximity and compatible work schedules—there are several reasons to avoid an office romance. It can be damaging to your career and can make your life a living hell. Before you embark on an office romance and fall head over heels for a coworker or, even worse, your boss, consider these musical words of warning.

  1. "Love's Got a Hold on You": You know that "head in the clouds" feeling you get when you begin to fall in love. It can be very distracting. Now, imagine not only daydreaming about the object of your affection but also seeing him or her throughout the day. It may sound really cool, but if you find yourself gazing across the office at your sweetheart instead of tending to your job responsibilities, your boss will likely have a problem with it.
  2. "Looking Through the Eyes of Love": As humans we don't always see the flaws in our romantic partners, especially when relationships are just beginning. Even as they progress, we sometimes see our significant others through proverbial rose-colored glasses. While this inability to notice your partner's flaws may keep your romance alive, it can be harmful to the relationship between a boss and his or her subordinate. A boss's responsibility is to make sure the employees he or she is supervising are performing well. If you are in love with your subordinate you may not be able to see any problems, and even if you do, you may find it difficult to give criticism because it can damage your relationship. It is equally difficult to be on the receiving end of criticism from your boss/romantic partner.
  1. "Love is a Battlefield": Couples have squabbles from time to time. It happens. You know how they say "never go to bed angry?" The same could be said of work: "never go to work angry." It's a nice sentiment but not very practical. We can't turn anger on and off like a light switch. Sometimes you do go to bed or work angry. It's bad but not terrible if that happens and you work in different places but if you share a workplace things can get mighty uncomfortable.
  1. "Prisoner of Love": Sometimes in a relationship one partner's feelings toward the other change.  Normally you might think about breaking up but this is different. You might end up staying in an office romance longer than you want to because you are afraid of damaging your working relationship.
  2. "Breaking Up is Hard to Do": Of course you shouldn't stay in a bad relationship, but your fears that ending it will damage your working relationship are realistic. Breakups are hard in general, but seeing your ex everyday can be grueling even if both of you handle things in the best way possible. The demise of a workplace relationship can lead you to have to look for a new job if things get too uncomfortable.

Sometimes love can't be denied. If your feelings about a coworker are so strong that you can't deny them any longer, in spite of the warnings you just read, remember "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away." Don't put your relationship on display. Your co-workers don't need to, and as importantly don't want to, be privy to the ups and downs of your relationship. Read more: Five Rules for Surviving an Office Romance.