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Coworkers (a woman and man) in a relationship sitting at a table and giving each other flirtatious looks.


The pros and cons of coupling up with a coworker

M.J. Santos   |   Fri, 4 Aug 2023

One of the trickiest “do I or don’t I?” scenarios we single folks face is whether to pursue romance with a coworker we’ve been crushing on. Yeah, yeah … I know. Sounds like it’s a bad idea across the board, right? But ‘fess up: we’ve all caught feelings for at least one colleague in our lives. Work is where we spend most of our time, and it can offer exposure to new and intriguing people every day. As much as we intellectually understand that courtin’ on company time is complicated, sometimes the mutual attraction is simply too strong to ignore.

So how do you know if it’s cool to date a coworker? What are the pros and cons to consider when your crush and career collide?

The truth is you can’t begin to contemplate this question until you have a clear understanding of your company’s policies. Find out the rules and follow them. If your employer prohibits the practice, put your feelings aside or contemplate a career change ... end of story. But if workplace romance is permitted to one extent or another, then it’s time to weigh the rewards and the risks. Thankfully, to help get you started, Couple has compiled a list of the top-five pros and cons of dating a coworker. Check them out ... and then choose wisely.

Five pros of dating a coworker

1) Convenient interactions. Dating a coworker means you'll have ample opportunities to interact and spend time with each other throughout the week, which certainly can help strengthen your relationship. When your main catch is only a few cubicles away or they share your late-night shift or they work a double with you, you can share commutes, breaktime hangs, and more. A little bonus time with your love is rarely a bad thing.

2) Similar interests and goals. Working in the same industry or company can mean you share common interests, understand each other's work-related challenges, and have similar career goals. This can be a bigger bonus than you might imagine, especially as your relationship progresses and your lives become more entangled.

3) Increased professional support. When faced with workplace stress or challenges, having a partner who understands the situation can provide practical support as well as emotional encouragement and empathy. As much as we try to be there for our partners whose work lives look different from ours, it can be difficult to truly understand what they’re going through. When you date a colleague, it’s much easier to speak the same language, which helps during times of professional hardship.

4) Shared life experiences. Sharing experiences at work also can create a unique bond between partners. Knowing the same people and operating within the same professional and personal storylines means you’ll never run out of things to talk about. In the best circumstances, it can actually diversify and deepen your connection. (Just make sure to carve a little alone time once in a while, too.)

5) Mutual encouragement and growth. Being with someone who understands your professional aspirations (and vice versa) can lead to profound personal and career growth for each of you. After all, if your professional goals conflict with personal ones, it can be tough to flourish in either area. But if you and your partner have direct insight into what’s happening at both home and at work, the sky’s the limit!

Five cons of dating a coworker

1) Violation of company policies. This is the number-one, no-brainer con to dating a coworker. Some companies have strict policies against workplace relationships, and violating them could lead to disciplinary actions or even termination. In other words: do your due diligence. Furthermore, even if there isn’t a formal policy in place, expressing interest in a colleague is very tricky business. There’s a fine line between innocent interest and sexual harassment, so be smart in how you approach the situation.

2) Impact on your professional life. It can be challenging to keep personal and professional lives separate, especially if your colleagues are aware that you’re "dating on the job." Loss of privacy, gossip, innuendo ... it all can make work life a little messy. Plus, if the relationship turns sour or ends badly, it can create tension and awkwardness at work, which in turn can affect your performance and professional trajectory.

3) Conflicts of interest. Depending on your roles within the company, you and your love interest might find yourselves facing conflicts of interest, or even competing for promotions or projects. None of these situations is ideal (obviously), and it’s one of the big risks of blurring the boundaries between work and home.

4) Perceptions of favoritism. Similarly, colleagues may perceive favoritism if one partner holds a position of authority over the other, which can lead to resentment and negative workplace dynamics. If possible, ask for a department transfer or set clear, objective metrics for advancement so it’s indisputable that direct-reports-turned-romantic-interests aren’t receiving special treatment.

5) Limited social circles. Finally, dating a coworker might limit your social circles and prevent you from meeting new people outside of work. It also may make you and your office love a bit more co-dependent than is ideal. It’s healthy to have some boundaries within a relationship, and sometimes having a work life or social circle that’s your “own” is a big part of that equation.

Bottom line, dating someone you work with can be a rewarding experience, but it comes with significant risks. Open communication, maturity, and (most importantly) a clear understanding of company policies are crucial to maintaining a healthy relationship while minimizing potential negative impacts on both your professional and personal life. Do your research, take things slowly, and listen to your gut. Whatever your choice, we hope it brings you happiness and fulfillment.


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