Doctor Love: Work and Relationships

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Readers email your question to [email protected] Your letters are edited solely for grammar, spelling and length.

Dear Doctor Love,
I work at a store and the staff all goes out regularly for lunch or drinks. Over the last year I have grown very close with one guy and hanging out together after work has turned into spending time together on weekends and having fun. We have finally told each other that we are falling in love. But what do we do now?
I know this can turn into a serious relationship, but I am worried about work. Can we have a relationship and not tell anybody at work, or should we be honest from the beginning? If we are very careful can we see if we might have a future together?
/s/Name Withheld

Dear Name Withheld,
Office romance has been around since, well, offices. You can have a relationship with a coworker but there are issues to consider if you do.
The first is your company policy. If your company policy forbids coworker relationships, you may want to explore the idea of one of you getting another job before lighting the candles and opening the wine.
Even if there is no policy in place, you should consider how your employer will feel about it. Have there been problems in the past with employees causing friction during the relationship or after the affair has ended? Your other coworkers can remain none the wiser but hiding it from your boss can be a mistake if it doesn’t work out and tempers flare or emotions become unmanageable. Be prepared to assure your boss that it will not negatively affect your work environment.
This means you need to make sure that while at work, the job comes first. Show your employer that you can maintain a respectful and professional atmosphere at work by doing your job without being emotionally influenced by your partner. You get paid to make decisions based on your qualifications, not how your actions will affect your relationship.
Don’t flaunt it. While being discrete may be difficult, holding hands or grabbing a quick kiss is a huge no-no at work. Be professional and save the mushy stuff for when you are off the clock. It also means you should keep your social media page as neutral as possible. Your coworkers may feel uncomfortable watching your relationship blossom on the internet, and while you don’t have to hide it, keep it cool on public forums.
It sounds as though you are already moving towards a serious relationship, the friendship is solid, and you have laid a pretty strong foundation, so go ahead and see if your future is with this man.

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