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Sex + Relationships

5 Reasons To Be Cautious When Dating a Coworker

If you’re deciding whether or not to dip your pen into company ink, you’ve come to the right place. 


Flirting in the workplace can be fun and friendly, and sometimes there is a sudden urge to develop a relationship outside of the office. It’s no surprise that working long hours together can spark romantic interest, but it’s important to keep in mind some obstacles you might face within your working relationship. 


It’s not necessarily a bad thing to date a coworker, but here are a few reasons to be cautious. 

How Much Is Too Much?

Similar to sharing a room with your younger sibling, seeing your significant other too much can feel claustrophobic. No matter how much you love and care about someone, it’s vital to have individual space for each of your well-being. 


A healthy distance from one another is a necessity for a relationship, to ensure both individuals are still living their own lives, but still choosing to be together. 

If you’re contemplating diving into a relationship with a coworker, make sure you both establish a means of communication to let each other know how much space you need. Communication is key!

Maintaining respect from management

I’ve worked within companies where it was deemed inappropriate to date coworkers, but I’ve also experienced the latter where it was no big deal. 


A rule of thumb I’ve learned from a relationship with a coworker is always to maintain the privacy of my personal life. Especially to avoid conflict with management, it’s important that during work, the relationship should be inconspicuous. PDA, even minor instances, should be kept on the DL.


Management may even interpret the two of you chatting as, “slacking off,” so make sure you’re careful with how your relationship is represented at work. Especially consider your establishment’s rules behind dating coworkers, and communicate with your boss if a serious relationship is pursued.

Arguments Happen

I’ve been there – and boy is it awkward. Arguments in a relationship are bound to happen, but when the conflict carries into the workplace, it becomes a bigger problem. It can feel like the argument is unavoidable, as well as the feelings that come along with it. There’s also potential for it to turn into an inappropriate clash at work. 


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: communication is key!


If you and your significant other are arguing, it’s vital to keep that tension separate from your respectful relationship at work – no one should be able to tell you’re having issues. 

Personality Differences

Personally, I am not the same person at work as I am in my personal life. Likewise, I am different around my friends than I am around my family. It’s a normal part of life to adapt to the environment around you and behave differently. 


Dating a fellow employee can be challenging if the two of you hit it off at work, but that does not carry through when you’re outside of the workplace. For instance, if all you talk about is your job, you may be less compatible than initially anticipated. 


If all you have in common is your shared workplace, it may be difficult to build a successful relationship with this person. Make sure you’re confident on how you feel outside of work before you decide to dive into a relationship with a coworker.

The potential for a break-up

Just like any relationship, break-ups are unfortunate, but they happen. Whether it is the job that comes between your relationship or external conflicts, it’s dreadful to work with someone you’re heartbroken over.  


It’s especially difficult when other employees become involved and more tension results in the office. Handling your break-up outside of work while maintaining a professional relationship is important, and it’s crucial to talk about this with your partner. 


Keep this in mind if you are developing a serious relationship with a coworker, and consider keeping your personal life private.

Dating a coworker requires maturity for both parties – you should both be aware of the precautions to take. However, if they truly are the one for you, try not to let work get in the way of your happiness together. 


Be cautiously optimistic, and always communicate.

Alyssa is a Senior at Penn State University studying Psychology with a focus on life science. Following graduation, she plans to attend graduate school to pursue a career in counseling for adolescents. In her free time, Alyssa enjoys making a Spotify playlist for every occasion, binging thrillers on Netflix, and spending time with her kitten, Penny.
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