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Office Romance Pros and Cons

Office Romance Pros and Cons

Is Dating a Coworker a Bad Idea?

Click here for the full article by journalist Annie Taylor on the pros and cons of office romance.

This interview with Annie was a fun overview of the pros and cons of an office romance. I’m so glad she’s raising awareness around this important issue: if you’re considering getting romantically involved with a coworker there is a lot to consider! Here at Growing Self, we do quite a bit of career coaching, as well as dating coaching. Sometimes career coaching and dating coaching converge, as our clients grapple with the pros and cons of an office romance.

Are you developing feelings for a coworker? We spend so much time at work that it’s only natural to have our workplaces be one of the primary points of contact for meeting new people. If you’re single, chances are that sooner or later you might find yourself with a crush on a coworker. While office romances are not uncommon, relationships that start at work can present unique challenges and, frankly, hazards. “Fishing in the company pond” can be risky, both personally and professionally. If you are considering getting involved romantically with a coworker, here are some things to consider…

Dating in the Workplace: Pros and Cons

Although office romance can be fraught with challenges, these relationships do have advantages as well.

Pros of dating in the workplace:

Opportunity: Modern dating can feel like an endless parade of possible partners, all a swipe or scroll away. [Check out “The New Rules for Dating”]. For many singles, constantly vetting new people, engaging in text-based banter, and going out on dates to nowhere gets really old, really fast. Many people start to feel discouraged and overwhelmed by the prospect of finding “The One” through online dating or chatting up random strangers.

At work, however, you’re afforded with natural opportunities to meet new people organically and spend time with them on neutral ground before potentially moving further into friendship or romance. You’re also more likely to come into contact with people you already have similarities with in terms of education, interests, and shared life experiences. All these things make it easier to have natural conversations that generally feel much less pressured and fraught than awkward first dates.

Starting As Friends: Another upside to meeting new people on the job is the opportunity to develop a friendly relationship that starts slowly and develops over time. We know from research into couples and family therapy that the strongest, most enduring romantic relationships are ones built on a solid foundation of friendship and respect. Unlike starting a relationship with immediate romantic intentions, an office romance often blooms after months or even years of getting to know each other first as coworkers, and then as friends. This foundation can be an asset to your relationship if you become long-term partners.

Getting to Know Character: Perhaps most importantly, when you get to know people on the job, you usually have many opportunities to observe them in different — often stressful — situations. When you work with people you have a front row seat for how they manage stress, how they communicate, their level of emotional intelligence, how they handle challenging circumstances, whether they are courageous or avoidant, whether or not they follow through with things, how they are regarded by others, how they manage their time and priorities, whether they generally have their crap together, and much more.

This is in contrast to typical dating relationships where people tend to be on best behavior for the first weeks or months of an early romance, sometimes concealing or downplaying more difficult aspects of their character in order to be as attractive as possible. In these situations, couples often find themselves having to work through differences and disappointments as they become more genuine and authentic with each other.

Character Is Revealed Over Time, and in the way people handle themselves under stressful or challenging conditions. If you get romantically involved with a co-worker it’s generally after a significant period of time when you’ve been able to get to know them from the sidelines, and have gotten a sense of who they are and how they handle themselves before moving into a romantic relationship. This too can be a significant advantage to a positive future relationship, as well as a great opportunity to know ahead of time whether you may have fundamental compatibility issues or mismatched values (and avoid getting involved altogether).

Cons of dating in the workplace:

While dating a coworker can have some advantages, there are also many challenges and risks that you don’t have if you resist mixing the personal with the professional.

The Office Romance Dumpster Fire — Misunderstandings, Affairs and… Sexual Harassment: When office romances go wrong, they can go spectacularly wrong and with severe consequences to all involved.

Having an Affair With a Coworker

First of all, the most common place for people to become entangled in an affair or infidelity situation that can destroy a marriage and break apart a family is through an office romance. Why? It’s very common to develop a crush on a coworker, even if you’re married, or your coworker is married, or otherwise involved. Normal people in good relationships can develop transient attractions for other people — it happens all the time. [More on this, check out “What to Do if You’re Married With a Crush On Someone Else.]

However, if people don’t practice a lot of self-awareness, self-restraint, and put their commitments first, they can easily become intoxicated by romantic feelings with someone (Someone they see every day! And go on business trips with!). Romantic infatuations can lead people to do regrettable things that can create huge messes and sometimes irreparable damage to the most important relationships in their lives.

Romantic Rejection By a Coworker

Less tragically, but more embarrassingly, if you develop or have a crush on a coworker, you will almost invariably take the other person’s professional interest, friendliness, and responsiveness as a sign that your coworker has a crush on you, too. This can embolden you to ask them out, or proclaim your feelings, and have it land with an awkward thud. Not only will you feel rejected romantically, but you may have damaged a once easy professional relationship. The other person may feel uncomfortable around you, and it may impact your professional performance, as well as your emotions.

Sexual Harassment: The Risk is Real

Of course, if your advances land with a thud and you don’t have the humility to apologize and let it go, but rather continue expressing your romantic interest, complimenting them on their appearance, or God forbid, making sexual or suggestive comments, this can very quickly degenerate into a situation where you are committing sexual harassment. This can land you in hot water with HR, damage your professional reputation, or even put you at risk for a lawsuit.

This is especially true if there is any type of power imbalance in your professional relationship, which there almost always is. Even if you’re not in a direct supervising role or the boss of someone you have a crush on, you may have more power in the workplace than they do by virtue of your tenure, professional relationships, or role in relation to them. In these cases, your romantic overtures may create extreme stress and anxiety for someone who fears that upsetting you or rejecting may put their career at risk.

Really: They may smile, laugh at your jokes, and sidestep your advances in an indirect way that feels encouraging, but understand that they are trying to protect themselves while appeasing you. Trust me on this: I’ve worked with many people who have spent many, many coaching sessions trying to figure out how to survive this type of toxic workplace environment that unwanted advances create. You don’t want to be that person!

Takeaway: If you want to test the waters to see if your romantic feelings are reciprocated by a coworker, do so with extreme caution and understand that anything less than a clear and enthusiastic response means “No.” Say it once then stop. If they’re interested, they know where to find you.

While indulging in any romantic feelings for a coworker can lead to unwanted consequences, you might also consider the potential risks and pitfalls of an office romance if this does turn into a real relationship.

Impact on Job Performance: Couples fight. They get upset with each other, and need to work through things that are often very emotionally triggering. When you’re feeling emotionally activated, it can be very challenging to work with your partner around necessary professional things. Frosty silences, snarky comments, passive-aggressive jabs — you know. We’ve all been there, but imagine it happening in a team meeting, or in front of other colleagues. It will damage your ability to perform your job, but it can also impact morale, communication, and feelings of emotional safety for everyone on the team. This is especially true if you’re in a leadership position and carrying on with an employee.

Boredom: Part of having a healthy, long-term relationship is having diversity and growth in both people. When two people have different interests, work experiences, friend groups and more, it creates new experiences, new things to talk about, and the opportunity to learn and grow with each other.

Couples who ride in the same car to work together, interact with all the same people, know exactly what happens during the day, and ride home together at night often find themselves feeling like their relationships get stagnant quickly. If you and your partner work together, make it a point to at least pursue other hobbies or friendships during your off-work hours, or find novel experiences to do together so your relationship continues to feel fresh.

Breaking Up When You Work Together: As a breakup recovery expert I am often approached by people who feel genuinely trapped in the most heart wrenching of circumstances: breaking up with someone they work with. Breakups can be tremendously painful, anxiety provoking, and downright gutting under the best of circumstances.

But when you have to see your Ex every day at work, and can’t avoid contact with them, it makes the suffering and pain so much more intense. When you work with your Ex, it also makes it very difficult to get the distance you need to recover and move on after heartbreak. A significant percentage of people find the experience of working with their Ex so painful that they feel they must leave their job. In this way, a failed office romance can have devastating consequences not just personally, but on their professional trajectory as well.

Best Practices For Dating a Coworker

I hope this discussion of the pros and cons of an office romance have helped you get clarity about how (or if) to proceed. If you do, please think through all the possible pitfalls — there are many! As always, being committed to living with intention, practicing a high degree of self-awareness, staying true to your values, and mindfully approaching situations with a genuine desire for the health and wellbeing of all involved will help you make good choices.

All the best to you,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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More Love, Life and Career Advice on the Blog

How To Fall In Love Again

How To Fall In Love Again

Let’s Talk About Date Night

If you’re in a long-term relationship the time will come when that burning flame of romance and passion dims to a comfortable warmth, it’s inevitable. This doesn’t mean that the romance and passion are over, it’s a new era of your relationship. If you welcome this era with an open mind and a willingness to experience this stage with your partner – you will find that this warmth is not only sustaining to your relationship but welcoming.

I know it can feel discouraging to think back on how alive and in love you once were before the chaos of life, work, and family obligations became primary conversations at the dinner table. Maybe you’re even asking yourself “can it ever be like it once was?”

The truth is, if you’re both willing to put in the effort to keep your relationship “lit” then YES you can have those rekindling experiences in your relationship! In fact, research by love gurus Dr. John and Julie Gottman has even shown that couples on the road to separation were able to rekindle the flame in their relationship. So what’s the secret? You guessed it…date night.

How To Get The Most Out Of Date Night

It’s easy enough to go on a date if time and circumstance allow. However, it can feel like there’s just not enough time in the day for dating, and if you are like most of my couples clients you have a lot going on. It can feel like your only conversations together happen in passing after a long day at work or at the dinner table with the kids. This means that you have to be intentional about date night, and you need to get the most out of your time together (yes, I’m talking quality over quantity).

So, How Do You Do This?

First, it’s important to choose a time that works for both of you. It might feel silly scheduling each other in, but I promise if you schedule your date together you’re both more likely to make it work. So sit down, get those phones out (or paper agendas, whatever works for you!) and pick a time where you are either both free or available to move your schedule around. This might mean getting a babysitter, rearranging less important plans, or simply saying “no” to lesser obligations. But remember, you don’t have to force a date for the sake of dating. Sometimes an hour at the nearby coffee shop can be just as fun — do what works best for you!

Next, be deliberate about the activity you choose to do together. Since time is limited, what you do with that time is important. Try to orchestrate a date that is both fun and meaningful for both of you! The more thought you put into the date, the more you’ll get out of it. Before this starts sounding like a chore, I’m not talking about an itinerary that has every little moment planned out. Think about what you both like to do? Where do you like to go? What have you done in the past you’d like to do again? What are some new places, food, or experiences you would like to try?

Number one rule – make this time about the two of you. You don’t have to stick to any version of a date that isn’t appealing to you. However, the more time you spend together, the easier dating becomes. If this means staying home and watching a movie together, sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine, going out to an upscale restaurant, or checking out the “hottest” club – do what’s right for the both of you.

Looking for some great date night suggestions? Take a look at these simple to elaborate ideas you can implement into your new date night routine.

Fun Simple Suggestions:

  1. Pizza & A Movie Marathon— whether you like the DIY method of making your own homemade pizza or you like someone else to do the work for you (aka…ordering delivery), this is a staple date night. You can choose a movie that has a special meaning to the two of you, or maybe even take turns showing your current or childhood favorites.
  2. Build A Fort or “Camp” Indoors—sometimes laying down together in a new place can be exciting and spark some old feelings you thought were lost!
  3. Go On A Long Walk Together—use this time to hold hands, talk about life, or even get to know each other more. Did you know that exercise helps release brain chemicals that can make you feel happier? So by simply doing something active together can create positive feelings between you and your partner.
  4. Desserts and Discovery—make your favorite desserts together and ask one another questions to get to know each other again. There are various apps that supply questions to ask your partner (I recommend the “Gottman Card Decks” app). You could even get creative and use this desserts and discovery date to spark some sexual intimacy as well!

More Elaborate Suggestions:

  1. Surprise Date Night—if you and your partner have similar schedules, surprise your partner with a spontaneous date (to a restaurant, bowling alley, movies, etc). The excitement of the surprise may spark some long-awaited affection.
  2. A Mini-Vacay—find a babysitter and book a hotel room for the night! A night away from home can be especially rejuvenating for a relationship, especially if you have children.
  3. Take A Class Together—some communities offer classes to the public. Register for a local class together such as art, culinary, dancing, or exercise classes. Some classes may even be free!
  4. Recreate Your First Date—think about your very first date together and recreate it.  Reminiscing on the past may help reignite passion in the present. It can also be helpful to talk through all of the obstacles you have overcome as a couple over the years and take time to appreciate how your partner has contributed to the strengths in your relationship.

Date night can be a helpful tool for relationship health. Whether you’re wanting to stick to something simple or splurge on an elaborate night out, there are many exciting ways to get to know your partner and rediscover the excitement in your relationship. Try some of these suggestions and share your experience with me below in the comments section!

Wishing you the best on your date,
Georgi Chizk, M.S., LAMFT

Georgi Chizk, M.S., LAMFT is a warm, compassionate marriage counselor, individual therapist and family therapist who creates a safe and supportive space for you to find meaning in your struggles, realize your self-worth, and cultivate healthy connections with the most important people in your life.

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How to Find True Love

How to Find True Love

Create a Summer of Love

Summer is just around the corner: Flowers are blooming, freshly pedicured toes are peeking out of still-stiff new sandals, and calendars are percolating with all manner of fun plans. If you’re single, this is it: Summertime is one of the best times of year to meet someone new.

As a Denver dating coach (and an online dating coach, actually) I’ve been hearing from my single clients for months now about their hopes to find true love this summer. They’re anticipating outings, barbecues, hikes, and parties that give them natural opportunities to meet “the one” without having to scroll through dating app or an online dating site, or sweat crafting the perfect dating profile.

Their dream is to meet the love of their life naturally, without having to dive all the way in to the frustrating and discouraging aspects of the dating world.

The dating advice I often share is that the best strategy for meeting new people is to make use of every available strategy to connect with new people: both through in person meetings, and online dating. However, there’s more to successful dating than just the chance to meet someone.

Advice From a Dating Coach

A big part of successful dating is playing the numbers game; the more people you meet, the more likely you are to find someone who is interesting and attractive to you (and feels the same about you!) Since people are generally more social in the summer, there are more natural opportunities to mix, mingle and chat up attractive strangers.

However, there’s  much more to successful dating (online dating or otherwise) than just showing up and expecting to find the one. After all, you’re not looking for “Someone.” You’re looking for “The One.” And if we’re being really real here, you don’t want to “date.” You want a relationship. Dating is just the means to the end.

That’s why successful dating requires more than just profile writing or signing up for kickball, and hoping for the best. The key to connecting with a compatible person and establishing a healthy, satisfying, enjoyable new relationship involves quite a bit of preparation, thoughtfulness, and intention.

On this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast I’m putting on my dating coach hat to give you some free dating advice for how to date with confidence, and hopefully find your true love this summer. I’ll be discussing:

  • How to date with intention, and save yourself time, energy and frustration
  • How to get interesting people interested in YOU
  • New relationship warning signs
  • What to look for in a potential partner
  • How to establish a healthy long-term relationship

If you’re single and hoping to find true love this summer, you’ll definitely want to listen.

Xoxo,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

 

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Finding True Love: Real-Deal Dating Advice

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: Ziv Moran, “I Wish”

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Office Romance Pros and Cons

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Handling New Relationship Anxiety: Advice From a Dating Coach

Handling New Relationship Anxiety: Advice From a Dating Coach

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Anxiety About a New Relationship?

Are you on pins and needles, riddled with anxiety about a new relationship? You’re not alone. For most of our dating coaching clients, the “dating” part is not that hard. You put a profile together, attend social functions with a smile on your face, and you’re going to have opportunities. Going on an actual date or three is not the biggest deal.

What IS the biggest deal, and what our dating coaching clients really struggle with, is how to manage all the anxiety, insecurity, and angst about the unknown that comes with finding someone they really like and who they’ve started seeing regularly. That’s when all the questions come up: Should I text? When should I call? When is it time for us to take down our online dating profiles? Is it okay for me to bring up certain subjects? How do I show them I like them with out seeming too needy? Or should I play it cool? Are we moving too fast? Not fast enough? Is this going somewhere? Is it okay for me to ask that? Or will that push them away? AGGGH. 

We associate this sort of obsessing about another person’s feelings for us with the horrific junior high experience of crushing. But, sadly, this life experience is not just for fifteen year olds. Grown-a** people, even senior citizens, still struggle with the angst and vulnerability of how to handle themselves in new relationships when they really, really don’t want to blow it.

New Relationship Anxiety: It’s a Thing

New relationships are incredibly anxiety provoking, and for good reason. When you really like someone but aren’t sure how they feel about you, it’s all consuming. When romantic love starts to pulse inside you, it actually changes the way you think and feel. When you feel like you cannot take your mind off of someone, and like you have way too much mental and emotional energy going into a brand new person, it’s not just you. That experience of infatuation is what nature designed to weld you to another person. It’s fierce. To have such intense feelings for a new person, and not know if your budding love is requited is the absolute worst.

This anxiety about new relationships churns up all kinds of self doubt and questions. For this reason, in addition to the usual questions about dating coaching we get, we have been fielding questions about how to handle various situations in new relationships from our dating coaching clients, in our solution sessions, and with questions coming in from listeners of our podcast, readers of our blog, and even journalists. [Read more about our empowering approach to dating coaching on DatingNews.com]

Today, on the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast, I’m tackling some of your new relationship questions in hopes of putting some of that new relationship anxiety to rest. We’ll discuss:

  • How to manage new relationship anxiety
  • The stages of a new relationship
  • New relationship questions
  • When to bring up topics like dating exclusively, or how you really feel
  • Things to look for that indicate red flags and / or compatibility
  • When you should move forward dating someone with a history of depression or other issues (and when to fold ’em).
  • What to do when someone you like hasn’t called or texted in a while, or gives other signals that they might not be that into you
  • How to put self-love and self-worth front and center of all new dating relationships
  • How to move a new relationship forward without “scaring someone off”

All that, and more, on the podcast.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

PS: Resources we discussed on the show: The How Healthy is Your Relationship Quiz, and How to Cultivate Healthy Self-Love

PPS: Do YOU have questions for me? Dating questions, or otherwise? Leave them in the comments: I read every one! 🙂

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New Relationship Anxiety? Your New Relationship Questions, Answered

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Enjoy the Podcast?

Please rate and review the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Is Dating Getting Harder?

Is Dating Getting Harder?

Why is Dating So Hard?

Yes, modern dating can be challenging. For as constantly-connected as we all are digitally, it can still be hard to establish a genuine connection with someone new — let alone someone who’s a good match for you. Whether you’ve been doing online dating, or spending lots of time out and about chatting up attractive strangers you know that dating in this day and age can be daunting. If you throw yourself into the fray, you’ll have to contend with the weirdos, time-wasters, and people who seem great at first blush, only to flake out. [For more on this topic, check out “The New Rules For Dating,” with Dr. Helen Fisher.] But if you don’t at least try… nothing changes. It can be exhausting to alternate between longing for love, and then putting yourself out there, only to face rejection, disappointment, and the sheer waste of time that modern dating can often involve.

Kind of depressing, when I lay it all out like that, isn’t it. And yet, as a dating coach, this is the reality that I hear from many clients. If you’ve also been struggling in your dating life, I want to validate your experience and let you know that you’re not alone.

And… I also want you to know that dating, with intention, courage and strategy, also works. There are many great people out there, just like you, who are looking for love — and finding it. Modern dating can and does lead to love. For as many of my dating coaching clients who are feeling frustrated and hopeless about dating, I have just as many who have found true love. (Often, it’s the same person who, by making changes to their strategy and sticking with it, was ultimately successful).

You can connect meaningfully with others, and launch a fabulous new relationship. Even in this day and age, all the time people are falling in love and getting married and have babies and living happily ever after. It can happen for YOU too.

But there are questions about dating that need to be answered first. Namely, what’s the difference between the type of people that modern dating seems to work for, and those for whom love is always elusive? What are the changes that you need to make in your dating approach to get better results?

So Why Am I Still Single?

To get to the bottom of this, I’ve asked the person who understands the realities of modern dating better than anyone: Brian Howie, to join me on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. Brian is the founder, host and agent provocateur of The Great Love Debate.

All over the world, Brian has been amassing single men and women together in the same room (often with some relationship and dating experts thrown in) and then sparking passionate conversations between them all about what is either leading to (or getting in the way of) love and connection. Through these debates, Brian has gained a unique perspective into modern dating as well as a remarkable insight into the specific things that both men and women are unintentionally doing that either sabotage their chances of creating a meaningful new relationship…. or lead them into the arms of “the one.”

Two Dating Coaches Get Real: Expert Dating Advice

Listen to this episode about dating to learn:

  • What are the cities in America where people are most or least likely to find love, and why? Why are Denver men getting a bad rap for being “undateable” and guys in Austin, TX so likely to be flakey?
  • What do women unintentionally do that makes it so hard for men to approach them?
  • What can singles do to dramatically increase the odds of creating meaningful connections?
  • What’s the difference between the people who are continuing to struggle and feel frustrated with dating, and those who are successful?
  • How is dating changing, in the era of #metoo and #timesup?
  • What’s the one red flag you should always pay attention to when you’re meeting someone new?
  • How can you be more attractive to the kind of people you want to be in a relationship with?
  • What’s the attitude and mindset that will help you cultivate connection?

 

All this and more, on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.

xoxo,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

 

 

Why Are You Still Single?

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: Jennie O, “Case Study”

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