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Office Romances: Eight Reasons to Keep Work and Relationships Separate

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"We found love in a hopeless place" ~ Rihanna (2011)

Ah... Valentine's Day. A time of year when loved-up couples roam the streets freely and wantonly without being subject to random acts of violence from envious singletons - who are often found hibernating in cocoons on this most romantic of days. Some singletons are so desperate to escape their hibernation that they leap onto their nearest dewy-eyed, semi-fanciable work colleague. The question is: should you? Here are several reasons not to.

1. You'll be forced to see them everyday

Day in, day out. Perhaps for a long time. There's no escape from the arguments at home, and any personal tension between the two of you could spill over into the workplace. This can potentially destroy any image of professionalism you've developed and ultimately add more stress in your life. This leads onto the second point …

2. The fallout

For better or worse, relationships can fail. Can you really handle the often tumultuous nature of being around someone who may have broken your heart? People have changed jobs for less.

3. Being a subject of office gossip

Throwing a romantic relationship into office politics can shift more focus onto you. Add into the mixture a volatile office culture (should you work in a cut-throat environment), and you may just well find yourself fending off constant speculation, and being the focus of unsavoury rumours and petty jealousies.

4. Competition

What happens if you both apply for the same job within the company, or if one gets promoted ahead of another? What if one of you gets demoted or fired? Feelings of inferiority can change a relationship's dynamics. Separate jobs can help keep business and love apart.

5. Focus

Everyone likes a little passion and affection in their lives, but having the object of your desires in front of you everyday could prove to be a distraction from your work. Sneaky kisses and mini-dates are great, but perhaps best left to lunchtimes.

6. Boredom

One of the biggest challenges in keeping a lasting relationship is the “excitement factor”. Most people don't like being stuck in a routine. For some, seeing their partner at the end of a hard day's work is the best part of the day. Keep the flames going by not having to see their faces for a few hours every day.

7. Everybody knows

Related to the “office gossip” point, but it's not “gossip” if it's true. The whole office knowing the ins-and-outs of your personal life is difficult, especially when social media is so prevalent in our lives.

8. Valentine's Day – it's mandatory

You and your significant other would rather be celebrating St. Valentine's achievement tending to your flowers and keeping bees. Now, everyone in the office expects you to blow your hard-earned cash on lavish public displays of affection and expensive restaurants. You may well find yourself competing with other office romances on the day, sending it into a downward spiral of mushiness and un-productivity.

Office romances aren't all bad. Sometimes, they work pretty well, with passion leading to the establishment of a great business (or the discovery of radioactivity). The two worlds often clash than work in harmony together, however, and can send your work-life balance out-of-kilter. All relationships are risky to some extent. How many of those relationships are worth jeopardising your work for?

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