The Difficulties of Cubicle Love

Published April 2009 on wmn.ph (defunct website)

Leona met BJ in the office. Today, they’re happily married and have a son. Jo was in an on and off relationship with an officemate. Now, they’re just friends. Sometimes office relationships work, sometimes they don’t. So are they worth it?

Like any relationship, there are pros and cons. One good thing is that your partner is nearby. “You’ll get to see him every day. If there are any emergencies you can contact him right away.” Leona shares.

More time together means you’ll get to know him better. How does he handle his responsibilities and treat co-workers? Being in the same office means you’ll get to see him in ‘real life’.

What about the downside? “Like I said, you get to see him every day,” Leona laughs. Everyone needs personal space. “Spending too much time together can breed boredom. We all need to retain some mystery.” Jo adds. Also, “office romances usually triggers gossip. Personally, I haven’t had any major problems as a result of being in an office relationship. I don’t know how my bosses view me, though.” She admits.

There might be a problem if your partner is your boss, or a subordinate. It could be bad for your reputation, or career. “If your loved one isn’t in the same department or team, it won’t be that complicated.” Leona says.

And if the relationship doesn’t workout, it’ll be harder to end. Others decide to resign if a relationship ends badly. Complications and conflict are bound to occur, especially in such close quarters.

So how can such conflict be avoided? The key is respect.

Respect your boss. Don’t let the relationship affect your quality or output. Show respect to your superiors by being a professional, and you’ll maintain their respect too.

Respect your officemates. Sure, your officemates are happy for you, but do they need to hear you gush about your guy nonstop? Too much information can be awkward for them. Plus, there is plenty of time to be mushy with your partner outside the office, away from the eyes of co-workers (who might find it embarrassing).

Respect your partner. Give your partner enough space to work. The occasional sweet email and having lunch together is fine, but checking up on him every 5 minutes isn’t just annoying, it’s scary.

Respect your relationship. For romance to blossom, it needs intimacy and privacy. If you keep revealing things to co-workers, pretty soon everyone will know what you argued about last night, and where you plan to have dinner. Where’s the romance there?

Respect yourself. Define your boundaries. You’re not required to cover for your partner, or do his work for him. Outside the office you can be his sweetie pie, but in the office you mean business.

“The number one rule in handling an office relationship is knowing when to act as a couple, and when not to.” Jo advises. Follow that, and the risk just might be worth it.

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