Girls On Office Romance
Let’s face it ‒ it is hard to meet a special someone once you step into the working force. And get this, the people you spend the most time with are actually your co-workers. So, it is not surprising for office romances to bloom, especially if both you and your office crush have the same mutual interests.
While engaging in an office romance has a fair share of pros and cons, we spoke to five girls in Singapore to learn more about their opinions and experiences.
Disclaimer: Some names have been altered to protect the identities of our interviewees.
1. “Don’t think the pros outweigh the cons”
“Although I’ve never been in an office romance, I have friends who met their partners through work. While they manage to keep things professional and not let their relationship distract their jobs and other co-workers, I am not sure if I would be able to do the same.
As an emotional person, it would be hard to focus on work, especially if disagreements happen with my partner. Plus, it is easy for me to overthink, and I would hate to risk my job just because I wasn’t able to stay professional in the office.
Although I can imagine the advantages of an office romance such as going and leaving work together, I don’t think the pros outweigh the cons.
There are many things to consider such as the possibility of breaking up and having to see each other almost every day after. The awkwardness between me and my ex may or may not also affect the relationship I have with my colleagues. That’s not all ‒ there is also the judgement that follows once others find out about how my relationship with another co-worker has ended.
Ultimately, it boils down to how willing you are to risk your job, and the professional relationships that you’ve built over the years.”
– Jou, 29
2. “Won’t want my partner to be bias against other colleagues based on my work experience”
For illustrative purposes only
“Despite meeting my partner in my old workplace, I’m not a strong supporter of office romance. The reason why it worked for me was because our relationship started during the global pandemic in 2020.
Since we could barely see each other in the office, minimal work interactions allowed me to focus on work and draw boundaries. Not long later, I was offered a better opportunity, and so I left for my new job.
I found being in an office romance rather tricky, especially when dealing with a mutual party that my partner and I had to work with. For example, my experience in working with a particular colleague might be different from his. As such, I didn’t want him to be bias based on my experience because it wouldn’t be an accurate representation of that person.
On the other hand, I enjoyed advantages like the reassurance that my partner understood what I was talking about at work. I find that when a couple’s jobs are too different, it may be quite hard for them to relate, and empathise with what they are going through.
However, even listing out the pros and cons, I think everyone has a different approach to dealing with office romance. When it happens to them, some might see it as an opportunity not to be missed, and disregard their concerns.”
– Natasha, 29
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3. “No big deal as long as it doesn’t affect your work”
Kezia and her boyfriend
Image courtesy of Kezia
“While my partner and I are currently in an office romance, our story isn’t as raunchy or exciting as most people would paint it to be. But since it’s not a hush-hush situation because we both declared that we were dating before joining the company, I find it less stressful than having to dodge inquiries or maybe even lie about dating someone in the office.
Prior to dating my boyfriend, I never wanted to be in an office romance. It was a hard “no”, in fact. Not to mention, I used to worry about what others may think, and about what “side effects” there might be over time.
I’ve always thought there was a negative stigma around it, but I was pleasantly surprised at how the reactions of the people around me were. To put it simply, people were more intrigued and curious ‒ most of them just wanted to hear tea.
Over time, the stigma I had in my head vanished, and I realised there really isn’t that big of a deal as long as you don’t let the relationship affect your work.”
– Kezia, 27
4. “No reason to turn down a potential partner if things are kept professional”
“When I was younger, I didn’t support office romance because I’ve seen how things escalated when couples in the same project got into a dispute. But as time goes by, I realise the importance of separating and controlling emotions at work, and think I am capable of doing so.
Since there is no reason to turn down a potential partner if I can keep things professional at work, I am open to dating a co-worker.
Being in a relationship with someone from the same company means it is easier to seek advice and support. That said, it also allows you to get to know that person more because you get to see the way they work and treat their colleagues ‒ basically, the full spectrum of their personalities.
As long as you’re upfront about your relationship with your company, and that they are accepting of it, I don’t think there is any issue with being in an office romance.”
– Gwen, 23
5. “I would get affected when I saw my office crush having close discussions with female colleagues”
For illustrative purposes only
“I used to imagine that it’d be great to work alongside your partner. You’d get to see them all the time in the same setting, and it’d perk up your office day amidst the stress or mundane. And when you miss them, you could just find them for a quick “recharge” in their company.
However, after both witnessing other peoples’ office romances and experiencing the emotional roller coaster of my office crush, though, I no longer feel the same.
I’ve seen parties who have to work together closely become a couple. But as a result of their intimate behaviour even in the presence of other team members, they created an uncomfortable atmosphere ‒ we were all trying to get work done, so the giggly secret exchanges with each other caused the situation to be rather unprofessional.
Beyond group settings, I’ve also witnessed incidents involving office couples where it could seem unfair to everyone else. For example, a couple would go off for smoking breaks together, take a super long time having chats with each other, or go into a meeting room for “discussions”. Only God knows what they’re talking about.
Besides the negative impressions I’ve formed of other office romances, there are some things I’ve learnt about myself that make it not ideal to date someone I work with.
I have serious jealousy issues, and would get affected when I saw my office crush having close discussions or spending long periods of time with female colleagues despite knowing that their interactions were purely professional in nature.
On top of being emotional, there is no way I would be able to carry on working normally with my ex if our office romance ended.
While it is not entirely feasible to declare an outright ban on office romances, I feel that it’s good for companies to prohibit relationships that take place between employees who directly work with each other, or if one is a superior who has a say in the other’s performance.”
– Clarice, 27
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Whether it is to prioritise their career or clinch the chance of meeting the one, these girls show that everyone has a different opinion when it comes to being in a relationship. Be it an office romance or not, it eventually depends on how mature you are when dealing with such a relationship, and not letting it affect your professionalism.
Cover: Image courtesy of Jou and Gwen
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