The 5 Golden Rules to Office Romance

Years ago, I walked down a hallway for a client meeting and bumped into the most handsome man I’d ever seen.  Somehow I kept walking and met with said clients and didn’t come across as a blithering idiot in heat, and I got the job. I was so excited, not only because I desperately wanted this gig, but also because that meant I’d eventually be introduced to this man-god.  Long-story short, I'd bump into Mr. Adonis  on and off for a couple of years, and he was always nice but distant with me and later I learnt was batting for the other side.

My heartbreak aside,  let’s be honest - with the 40-hour business week becoming a thing of the past, it’s natural for most of the new people we meet to be through work.  But before you dive headfirst, let me give you a few tips I learned the hard way:


Photographed by Steven Meisel for Vogue

Golden Rule #1: Know the company policy about dating coworkers

There can be serious conflicts of interest.  (Where I worked, there was a very strict one that seniors are not to date juniors without disclosing the fact to HR. If both parties are in a direct supervisor-supervised relationship, one of them would have to be reassigned to someone else, which was usually the more junior party.)

Golden Rule #3: Be careful to not misinterpret someone’s flirty nature 

You don’t want to misread a situation and then make a good working relationship filled with awkward silences and avoiding each other.

Golden Rule #3: If you really can’t help yourself, go slowly.

That means don’t get physical immediately.  Make sure this relationship has true legs before ending up being the butt of office innuendos around the water cooler.

Golden Rule #4: Of course all love lasts... but in case it doesn't, be prepared.

Beware the break-up dangers that can ensue. You don't want drama affecting how productive you are at work.

Golden Rule #5: Even in a best-case scenario, don’t forget that the butterflies will fade

Do you really want to spend all day in the office with your partner, and then go home to them as well?  Can you really take orders (or give them) at work and then expect to fight fair at home over the remote control? As much as I love my boyfriend, one of the things I relish about our relationship is reuniting at the end of the day to dish about each other's work-day experience.



  • Carrie Ann says:

    My gosh, this is a topic so very close to my heart.. Yes, I’ve dated someone in my workplace and we actually ended up together down the aisle 🙂

  • Erin says:

    I like to say, “been there, done that”.. my office romance just didn’t fit right so we had to part ways. What made matters worse, the guy I dated soon began courting another one of my colleagues, so you could imagine me rolling my eyes and frowning everytime I see them. Ugh.

  • I’m glad to say, my company has a policy against dating co-workers. I want to keep the atmosphere professional and don’t want to see flirting in the office. You might call me a killjoy but I prefer this working condition.

  • Ashley says:

    I’m not really into the romance in the office thing. I want to be as matured and professional as possible when I’m at work.

  • Gracey Davids says:

    Awww… that was a sweet office love story, or should I say, out of office love affair. I’m psyched to know that you and your guy are still together after all these years. You rock, Heidi!

  • curtisleigh says:

    Wow, love at first sight! I admire Mr. Perfect’s perseverance, having waited two years to ask you out. I had an experience in the office-romance department, too bad it didn’t work out for the both of us. Although I’m glad we’re friends now.

  • Ginger says:

    I’ve seen office lovers here and there. I don’t really mind seeing my officemates falling in love. I just want them to make sure that their personal love lives would not affect their behaviour in the company. Because more often than not, I see most women get affected by break-ups causing their work to be put on hold.

  • Well, I actually my husband through work. I just came from a heartbreak when I met him. I didn’t mind him at first, though, because I don’t want him to be a rebound of sort. But he persevered and continued to court me for half a year when I finally gave in and soon we started exclusively dating and became a couple after a year.

  • Wynona says:

    There’s nothing wrong if you fall in love or become infatuated with your colleague. I, too, fell in love at first fight. What sets us apart from the others who were openly displaying their feelings for each other is, we were professional at work, we didn’t let our personal issues get in the way and we dated during our rest days and not on office days. So far we managed and we’re still together for almost 3 years now.

  • kylie rachel says:

    Unfortunately, I’ve read in our company handbook that “any relationships formed within the office are strictly forbidden…”and as far as I know, I ain’t a rule breaker, so no, I don’t have any experiences yet with the office romance thingy..

  • Princess Lia says:

    Thanks for the tips, I think I should mention this to my boss 🙂

  • Isabelle says:

    I’m actually dating a co-worker, and as such, we try our best to keep our so-called office romance as low-key as possible.

  • Gwen says:

    Office romance, hmm, where do I begin? Actually, I’ve been in three companies for the past 10 years, and I’ve dated a couple of co-workers, I thought I fell in love and fell out of it eventually. The thing is, it’s never easy to date a colleague when all eyes are on you, waiting for you to make the wrong move and gossip about your affairs behind your back. I learned my lesson never to date a co-worker ever again.

  • Angeli says:

    I’d be a hypocrite if I say I didn’t date anyone from the office. It was short lived though. Not really worth mentioning at all. So, that’s all I can say.

  • Bridgette says:

    I used to date a buddy in the office, although it never worked for us the minute we discovered that we have a policy against dating co-workers, Suits well with us, though, because soon we realized we didn’t have anything in common.

  • Shailene says:

    don’t really date my co-workers, not because it’s against company rules, but it’s for my own. It’s against my own policy. I ‘ve seen a lot of my colleagues dated and failed. not my cup of tea, I guess.

  • Hazel Ann M. says:

    Great tips, Heidi, thanks! In my office, I know there are a lot of lovers, dating exclusively, and I don’t mind it as long as they are discreet and won’t cause scenes when something fails in their relationships.

  • Joyce says:

    well, I met my husband of 10 years in the same company I used to work at. So far there had been no issues when it came to dating co-workers. Lucky us, I guess.

  • Amanda Deschanel says:

    Oh, my boyfriend and I work at the same company, too, but we’re from different departments, so we don’t really get to see a lot inside the office. He’s 2 floors up from mine, but we compromise. We only get to see each other after work.

  • Erin says:

    I am so not dating a colleague. I did once, not good, so not doing it again.

  • Rebecca Bloomwood says:

    I think I’m not really into dating, whether there’s a policy or not. I just think it’s unprofessional.

  • Francesca says:

    I did, I mean I went on a date or two sometime when I was still working. Things got better when we weren’t office mates anymore.

  • Matilda Vans says:

    Met my partner at work a couple of years ago. There’s no issue about dating co-workers, so I guess we were lucky!

  • Chrissy says:

    I was working with this amazing guy and we ended up being perfect together. We are now married and have a perfect little 4 week old baby girl. And I couldn’t be happier 🙂

  • Celeste G. says:

    Honestly, I don’t want to commit the same mistakes again. I’ve dated a co-worker, I thought he was the real deal, but it turned out to be an epic fail. He just used me to glorify himself. What a bummer!

  • Jessica says:

    I dont’ date co-workers, actually, coz I don’t want to end up the laughing stock when things get dirty in the office. So yeah, I haven’t dated anyone in my company but that doesn’t mean I’m not dating anyone from outside 🙂

  • Steffanie says:

    It’s not in my nature, really, to date office buddies. But I’m a hopeless romantic, so when I think I found the one and Cupid had stuck a deep arrow in my heart, even if he was a co-worker, I’d date him, nonetheless.

  • Tina says:

    It’s not really a big deal to me whether I date a guy from my office or from outside of work. I think what really matters is we both know how to act properly when around colleagues and not air our dirty laundry when we are at work.

  • Carmina says:

    I refuse to date a co-worker, because I’m afraid it would just put a dent on my career.

  • Celeste says:

    Nope, I don’t date anyone or someone in the workplace. Not only that it’s against company policy, I don’t also think that it’s a professional etiquette. So no.

  • Michaela says:

    I haven’t dated a colleague, nor do I intend to. I’m just new in our company and I don’t want to compromise my position in the office. It’s ok to make friends and go on a group date, but to go exclusively dating with a particular officemate, I don’t think so.

  • Krissy Jenkins says:

    Yes, I’ve dated someone from my office and it wasn’t a pleasant one, we broke up after a few minutes. I learned my lesson and now I want to start anew and don’t want to date anyone from my work anymore. The feeling of awkwardness will never dissipate.

  • Lorelei says:

    I am kinda playful and friendly towards my co-workers, easy to deal with and “full of charisma” or so they say. Because of my personality, they misconstrued it as a flirty character and there were a couple of guys who dated me. But, I value my career so I didn’t let anyone pursue me further. I just couldn’t.

  • Rainey says:

    Uh-huh.. Nope, I dont date my co-worker and no plans marrying someone working from the same office I am in. Got your point on the last tip.. I am claustrophobic so I dont want to spend all of my time 24 – 7 with my lover, even if I am in-love with him. Just sayin’

  • Blue says:

    Well, if that someone in the workplace looks like Tom Welling, oh my, I have to restrain myself from fawning over him and I would really mind if my colleagues would ogle him while at work. So no, not dating anyone from the workplace…

  • Carmencita says:

    Maybe this issue can be discussed by both parties involved. I know some couple who are co-workers and they seem to have no problem with that al all.

  • Misty says:

    I try to steer clear of office romances. Been there, done that, that’s what I often say. Nothing great came out of it, so I don’t think I’d be dating anyone from the workplace ever again.

  • Nancy says:

    dating a co-worker, eh? I’m not a big fan of that. There’s a lot of consequences to think of.

  • Faye says:

    I did.. I used to date someone from my workplace.. THings didn’t end up great so we didn’t strive to make it work again. Best decision I’ve ever made.

  • Georgina says:

    I have thought of doing that, dating a co-worker, I mean, but I had second thoughts. In the end, I decided not to date anyone at all because they have proven to be distractions, and it’s not healthy dating someone if we break up in the future.

  • Taylor G. says:

    There are pros and cons to dating someone in the workplace. I can attest to that. The pros – you’ve got a steady buddy you can count on when need arises. It also makes you feel inspired knowing there’s someone waiting for you by your cubicle at the end of the day or during lunch breaks. The cons – however, when people perceive your relationship as an opportunistic way to get to higher position. Like if I am the boss and I went for a junior account, your other colleagues will accuse me of subordination or power tripper, using my power over lower ones. Or the junior employee would be accused of being an opportunist, getting his way to higher rank by using the boss. Ugh.

  • Miss Susan says:

    ah well, I used to feel that way, I mean I used to date someone in the office, but when we broke up, it’s like all hell broke loose and the atmosphere inside the room is never the same again.

  • Shailene M says:

    I dunno what to say! I can’t say I disagree with you with office romance, since I was able to meet my husband in the office. But we did keep our relationship under wraps and didn’t really worked together in the same department, so it wasn’t much an issue. I’m just fortunate my company was kind of lenient when it came to office romance.

  • Isabella says:

    I think I’ll steer clear of office romance. I’ve done that before and it stings when we broke up. Never doing that again.

  • Helga says:

    I can’t believe I’m just seeing this today.. I should have saved myself from this office romance heartache. Ugh, it’s never really advisable to fall for your co-worker 🙁 Take it from me, it’s ugly.

  • Bella says:

    Office romance is a big no-no for me. Been hurt before, never want to feel that again!

  • Gabbie Swift says:

    Thanks for these 5 golden rules. I should have read this before I entered an office relationship. Now I don’t know how to get out of it. Too bad, it’s either I break up with him and find another job or stay even if I have to see him everyday. Ugh.

  • Aaliyah Jane says:

    Good thing I’m no longer dating. I don’t want any complications when at the office, especially when your other half is kind of the jealous type. Trust me, I’ve been there.

  • Shauna says:

    I guess I’m one exception to the rule. So far, my relationship with a co-worker had been fruitful and after 3 years of dating, we’re finally getting married in June. I am hoping this luck would stay with me until.. forever.. (sorry I’m being cheesy.)

  • Janet says:

    Nah… I don’t think so.. Twice tempted but never acted on it. I’m too afraid to fall for a co-worker because I know it wouldn’t last.

  • Kelly says:

    Met my husband at work. Didn’t really think we fit together as we were always fighting before we eventually got married. I guess, all we needed was trust that we could make it through thick and thin.

  • Wynona says:

    Office romance? Some say it doesn’t work. Some day it’s forbidden. Good thing this wasn’t a problem in my office. I got married to my co-worker and there had been no problems with it.

  • Marianna Rivera says:

    I’d like to say, been there, done that… but no. I don’t want to sound bitter too. Sure, I had a rocky relationship with someone in my line of work, but with constant communication, understanding and patience, we were able to get through with it and our colleagues were just as supportive. Thank goodness!

  • Thuy Forbes says:

    Uhmm, yes.. I currently have issues at the office right now, with my ex-boyfriend moving on with another co-worker of mine. Office romance isn’t really my thing but I couldn’t stop my heart from falling hard. I guess this is another lesson learned.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Hmmm. I wish I’ve read this before I fell for my co-worker.. Now we’re at odds with each other when I see him.

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