Workplace romantic relationships are becoming increasingly common, for the fact that they seem to be more convenient. If you work a minimum of 8 hours a day, you will most likely spend more hours of the day with your colleagues than you do your other friends, flatmates, or even your significant other. Your colleagues are the people you spend a lot of time with.
When you tally up all that time, it adds 40 hours a week and 160 hours in just a span of one month. Considering also the fact that it takes an average of 200 hours for two persons to become best friends, this could be the main reason why people form close bonds with their workmates.
A recent survey has found that about 17% of people have a “work spouse,” who they constantly message, talk to about the stresses of work, and hang out with often.
Another research from totaljobs, discovered that a substantial 22% of people meet their actual romantic partner at work. That’s compared to 13% who met online, 18% meeting through friends, and 10% finding each other on a night out.
“Most adults spend a minimum of 1,680 hours per year in the office, so you are likely to spend more time with your coworkers than almost anyone else,” Explains David Brud who is the CEO and co-founder of the mental well-being app Remente, “While you do not have a say in who your coworkers are, chances are that you will have common interests.”
Brud added that working in an office gives you the opportunity to get to know someone more intricately, which wouldn’t have been that easy on “swipe right” dating apps.
“Working with someone daily, you will see how they respond to a problem, act under pressure, and interact with other coworkers,” he said. “It is also easy to start sharing personal information and commiserating about difficulties faced in the office — perhaps over a lunch or after-work drinks.”
The survey conducted on 5,795 UK workers found that two out of three people would be up for dating a colleague. The remaining third would feel weary about it thinking romance and work shouldn’t mix.
Why one third of people never dream of work relationships
In many cases, people who date their colleagues experience a fair amount of stigma, and this is probably a factor in why 76% of those surveyed said they would keep their office romance a secret.
“There is this long-standing rule that you should not date your coworker,” Brudo said. “The reasons are many: you risk losing your job, becoming uncomfortable at work, or creating office drama that could hurt your professional reputation.
“Knowing that, if the relationship does not work out, it could lead to rather tarnishing consequences and can take an emotional toll on both you and the coworker you were dating.”
There are other factors why a third of people would never go into work relationships. More than half of those interviewed said they felt the need to act more professionally in their workplaces. Another 51% percent said they were concerned about gossip and judgment from coworkers. One in six got made fun of, and one in 10 were even discriminated against as a result of their relationships.
The survey also revealed that a woman dating her boss is more likely to take a career hit than a man dating his manager in terms of promotions, salaries, and bonuses, and even relationships with other colleagues.
Proximity can affect your boundaries
In spite of the numerous pressures, a workplace relationship is relatively fun and straight-forward. Perhaps they may not be as rosy as you expected. Take the instance of one partner investing in the relationship more than the other. This alone can greatly muddy the waters.
Author Gregory L. Jantz in a post on Psychology Today opines that the intensity created in a work-related situation can mirror the intensity we experience in sexual relationships — leading to mixed expectations resulting in perplexing behavior.
“Such a feeling of attachment and unity can be similar enough to cause confusion,” Jantz writes. “Even if the conscious mind does not acknowledge the connection, often the subconscious will. One or both partners may find themselves suddenly considering the other from a sexual point of view.
“If both partners are not careful to continually reestablish boundaries to keep their relationship within a certain framework, these ‘slips’ can lead one party to begin to view the partnership as more than just a work connection,” he writes.
Work relationships can be fun, but it is important to set your boundaries clear and express clearly what you really want from the relationship. Do you just want to be friends, or do you want something more? Sometimes the lines can be blurry, and it’s hard to work it out. But you both must work on this together. Do not assume that your partner knows what you really want. Discuss matters as they arise and learn to express your feelings clearly and confidently.