Is it a bad idea to become romantically involved with a fellow employee? I think I'm in love with a man who works in my office. I know it's often considered unprofessional to date a co-worker, and I'm not entirely certain about his feelings for me. The last thing I want to do is place him in an awkward position. Any advice?
You're wise to tread cautiously here. Many office romances end in disaster. Here's a typical scenario: a couple begins dating, the relationship doesn't work out, and they break up. If there are hard feelings, the working environment can become a nightmare. This is true not only for the couple themselves but for their co-workers. Some corporations have a "non-fraternization" policy for this very reason.
On the other hand, some office romances work out fine, especially when they involve two mature and thoughtful individuals. They can even lead to wonderful marriages. A great deal depends on the nature of the work relationship. Generally speaking, it's inadvisable to date either a supervisor or a subordinate in the workplace. The fallout of a breakup will be a lot less painful and complicated if you're peers at the same job-grade level. The best case scenario is when romantically inclined couples work in completely separate departments. Then if the relationship comes to an untimely end, the former lovers don't have to deal with the awkwardness of interacting with each other every day.
Besides this, we can only offer you some very general advice.
- If your co-worker hasn't openly expressed any romantic interest in you, be careful of jumping to conclusions. Don't read too much into the fact that you've had some nice conversations or feel a sense of chemistry with him. Guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23). Avoid building up a romantic fantasy in your mind. If his feelings for you are something more than friendly, you'll know soon enough.
- Take your time. Get to know him before you allow your emotions to run away with you. Watch him on the job. See how he interacts with fellow employees. Ask yourself if he displays the godly character that the Lord would desire for you in a dating and marriage partner.
- Make this issue a matter of prayer. Ask God to guide you and help you discern the best course of action. And consult a trusted female friend who is also a believer and who will be able to offer you wise counsel.
If you'd like to discuss this further, call us. Our Counseling staff would be happy to give you a free over-the-phone consultation.
Boundaries in Dating
Purposeful Single Living (resource list)
The New Workplace Romance