A little something about me: my husband and I met in my previous office. Up to this date, he’s still working there while I transferred to a new company about a year ago. All in all, we have had an office romance between 2008-2012. Whoa! That was almost five years we’re talking about right there.
Why I shared this now is because I have friends who’s afraid to jump into relationships
just because they are office-mates with their prospects and I’m their one and only friend who pushes them to go ahead with it. I’m aware of the issues an office romance encompasses. Some private companies discourage or even prohibit such affairs with valid reasons I must say. Many articles, even books were published with regards to that, for example, an article today at Yahoo PH. However, I still believe that true love knows no boundaries, being office-mates included. (Yes, I can be that hopeless romantic!)
I’m talking again here based on a first-hand experience. We were not spared from those issues and hurdles, though I think we handled them pretty well. By the way, a little flashback, he first saw and got attracted to me when he was testing his new Canon S3′s zoom capacities. I was the only one who caught his attention (said he) out of the many people he took photos of while entering the office gate one morning in April 2007 (my first month in our office!). By the next month (May), he’d know my name and position through a mock election he spearheaded. I didn’t know anything about him at that time. And as they say, the rest is history.
Going back to my experience of forging a healthy office romance, it was indeed hard especially at the time when we we just started going out. That’s when the most talks/questions happen. Next would be on a spotted PDA, an LQ or the break-up. I was very self-conscious back then. I was paranoid that there might be prying eyes and ears on the walls wherever we went. To this date, I don’t really know if there were any and I honestly do not care anymore. Before us, I never had a previous romantic involvement with a colleague. That made me clueless about how to survive an office romance. Now, this post I dedicate to those who’s in dilemma right now on whether to consider or not getting involved romantically with an office-mate.
First, we belonged to different departments and we’re not bosses/supervisors (at that time). He’s an IT person. I’m in Finance. Not much conflict there (at the start). If one of us were a boss, I don’t think I could handle it, much more if we’re in the same department. But I guess, if I really really liked him, I’m the type who’d give way, resign and find another job. Will a relationship bring conflict to your respective roles in the company? If yes, are you willing to leave your job if needed or demanded?
Secondly, we were very much discreet about it. Except for his occasional showers of gifts and flowers, we as much as possible do not talk or see each other during office hours. If we like having lunch together, we’d usually meet in the restaurant and we’ll go back to our stations separately. Can you handle a so-near-yet-so-far romance?
He does not come over to my area and neither do I. We respect each other and our work that much. If ever there was a NEED for us to go to each other’s departments, we just give each other a distant smile and walk away. Can you control your clingy and attention-demanding attitude during work hours?
Fourth, we used our personal mobile phones for communication, not through e-mails, network messaging or office phones. I remember him getting a post-paid plan after spending 300 pesos a week for prepaid cards! Can you trust yourself to remember those unsaid but clearly important rules or do you need to jot the rules down?
Fifth, we’re responsible individuals.We know we were co-workers too and we showed professionalism at all times. As much as we did not display publicly our affection towards each other, we also did not show everyone our relationship problems. Can you control your self/emotions at the most tempting situations? If you’re confident about your self-control, then I don’t think you’ll have a problem.
Supportive friends count but supportive bosses are the real deal. We’re lucky we had supportive people around us especially at the crucial start of our relationship. They made everything bearable. They are our enablers. Haha Do you know enough of him/her? Is he/she an ex of your close colleague (seat-mate/lunch-mate!) or of a (your) boss? Is he/she an ex ng bayan (ex-lover of all)?
There was no room for anything so public. Be mindful of other people. What you see as cute and sweet may be vulgar or scandalous for some, not unless you want to be a hot dish for lunches and coffee breaks (meriendas). Be extra cautious always because office couples (legit or not, moreso the unlegit) are favorite subjects of office gossips. Thank goodness, social media wasn’t as fad during our time. But still, it’s worth to ask yourself if you can handle being topic of office gossips? How much are you willing to take? What’s the “gossip-level” in your company?
Dinners were our moments to be alone as a couple during weekdays while weekends and getaways were our time for longer and more quality bonding. The only consequence was, weight gain. Hehe We countered that through walking. Instead of riding cabs or shuttle for short distances, we often just walked and enjoyed each others company. (Oh yes we held hands!) Are you sneaky, creative, smart and adventurous enough to make the relationship exciting despite of the many DON’Ts?
Lastly, because of our office romance, I believed in perfect timing. We were discreet and reserved all the time. We never denied nor confirmed anything. We kept it private but not totally a secret. We never hide (Well, I did for the first month!) I really cannot recall how, but somehow everybody got used to the idea of us being together, that when I finally said yes to their questions, it had no more appeal. Haha Ask your self too if you’re really in-love with the person and not with the attention your relationship is getting from other people because that will eventually fade unless you do something like PDA, LQ or break-up.
An office affair is indeed very possible and fun too. However in our case, people and circumstances changed, even our statuses changed. All these changes have pushed me to transfer to another office. It became inevitable. Other people often wonder with awe why after surviving so many years of an office romance, we decided to abandon it in a jiffy. You see, as a married couple, it’s also nice to go home to someone you’ve missed and thought a lot of during the day, eager to tell each other about “stories of your own”. Also, with years came our new roles in the office and sometimes it will be hard if not for you then for the people around you not to mix your personal stuff from official work. The few who would will do it unsparingly though. There will always be sticky situations and me being an idealistic/opinionated woman, sticky situations could be difficult. I also get sensitive sometimes with people’s remarks to his group (though not personal), so I really just thought that maybe IT WAS TIME. It’s difficult to see your loved-one hurting and not do anything.
I did enjoy our time together in one company and I do definitely miss going out on a lunch with him and going/leaving the office together but when I look back, those were really just a small price to pay for a more peaceful living, for the relationship growth we got from separating ways career-wise and for the space and breather. At least his battles won’t be mine and my battles won’t be his. I guess, I can handle an office bf-gf relationship but not a marriage. I better stop right because that ain’t my territory.
Office Romance is survivable through prayers, right attitude, solid reputation and strong work ethics. Personally though, I’d only consider an office romance if I’m dead serious about it, if I believe that its worth it, if I see the guy as my future and that if worse comes to worst I will be willing to give up my career for him and for our love. Otherwise, I wouldn’t risk it. If the relationship occurred at my age today, I would’ve definitely handled things much better. So, I guess maturity, security and stability takes a huge role for its success. Sure it has advantages, like better understanding of each other’s jobs but it could be stressful and limiting too especially during rough times.
Do you see yourself in a relationship with a co-worker now? Have you decided how far are you willing to go? Appreciate your thoughts!