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Office Romance

Does office romance make you uncomfortable?Office Romance Can be Hard on Co-Workers

It’s always nice to hear about an office romance that leads to a wedding, children, and a “happily ever after”…except, perhaps, for the co-workers who had to put up with the romance itself, while it was still in its initial “passionate” stages.  The fact is that at any given time, there are 20 million office romances going on in the United States alone.  It is far from an uncommon occurrence.  However, the way in which those office romances play out can be quite different. Some are quite subtle – virtually unnoticeable – while others are in-your-face and obvious, and not too enjoyable for the rest of the employees in the company. 

Issues from the User Forum:

Office Romance

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I work for a company where two of the directors are having an affair. This would not be a problem except that the company has a very strict no fraternization policy and one of the people involved is married. The one who is not mar...
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Most companies actually try to avoid romances in among their staff.  For one thing, they are typically not good for an individual’s career aspirations.  People who are truly serious about their careers normally wish to be seen as thinking about business first, especially while at work.  By having a romantic relationship in the office, it clearly demonstrates that the person “took their eyes off the prize”, and looked to the person in the next cubicle instead. 

Furthermore, office romances set a company up for conflicts within the organization, such as complaints about favoritism, lower productivity, legal liabilities, and the dreaded sexual harassment suit.

Beyond the actual approval of the company itself, co-workers are frequently made extremely uncomfortable by couples’ public displays of affection (also known as PDAs).  When people are at work, they often don’t want to have to deal with the physical intimacy of their coworkers.  Whether this be hand holding or kissing, everybody has their own level of comfort with public displays of affection, and with a romance in the office, there is bound to be someone who is made uncomfortable.

Therefore, even businesses that allow office romances consider it to be in bad taste for any form of exhibition of a romantic relationship in the workplace itself.  Essentially, they don’t care what they do when they clock-out at the end of the day, but once they clock-in in the morning, it should be all business.

Such policies are important to make sure that everybody, no matter their comfort level with different public displays of affection, can work comfortably among one another. 

If you find that you are feeling uncomfortable with the public displays of affection in your place of work, then you should not feel that you are required to keep silent about it.  You have the right to be able to be comfortable on your job and not feel threatened or upset by the behaviors of those around you.

To resolve the situation, you will need to speak with someone – whether it be one or both of the members of the couple, or a supervisor or other company authority.  It is best to deal with this topic very gently, without upset or aggression.  Calmly comment on the fact that certain of the affectionate displays that have gone on in front of you have made you uncomfortable, and you’d appreciate it very much if they would respect your space and discomfort.  You don’t need to tell them to stop…just when you’re around, that’s all.


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