My father always warned me to never date a coworker. Like many other things he tried to pound in my head as I was blossoming into the woman I am today, I failed to listen. My first job when I was 18 was at Hollister, so I forgive myself for making the mistake of crushing on every new cute guy who came walking through the doors, even though it made my job increasingly stressful every time something went wrong.
However, when I was actually working somewhere I thought would turn into a career, that was when I realized dating a coworker is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your professional lifetime.
It starts innocent enough; you get to know someone because you are in close proximity to one another each day. The feelings go from you just thinking they are attractive, to you actually caring about them. You will become more and more excited every day you come to work as your relationship progresses.
There is a rush that comes along with trying to keep it on the “hush.” They will walk by your office giving you a coy glance, and your heart palpitates. While this is all fun and games, it does distract you from your work, and that is just the beginning of the potential downfall.
What happens after the butterflies go away? What happens if you fight with this person and you have no escape from them? What happens when they cheat on you and it rips your heart into pieces to see their face every day?
You will become irritable, and if you think no one else can notice the change in you, you are absolutely wrong. It will not be a joy for your other coworkers to be around you. Your mind will be distracted constantly with thoughts of them. The place where you once loved to work will turn into your own personal torture chamber. The halls will be filled with memories, and it will be like you are walking through a cruel memory lane when you are simply going to the restroom.
While all of this may seem evident, one thing you do not hear about often is how incredibly hard it is to move on. It is hard enough to go through a breakup and stick with the decision when you do not see the person, but what about when you see them every single day?
The glances they give you walking by your office turn into painful seconds in your day-to-day life. It becomes easier to simply give in and get back together then suffering every moment of the day by hearing their voice or watching them talk to someone else, worried they will be their next lover (or victim).
It's like watching a really bad sequel to your favorite movie. I cannot even begin to describe how painful it is to watch someone go through the same exact process you went through when you were falling in love with this person.
Love is always worth the risk of getting your heart broken, but you need to really think long and hard if it is worth ruining your job. It's one thing to lose a person, but losing a person and a career is something that will be overwhelming hard to recover from. The one thing I learned after breaking up with my coworker is that it came down to two really tough decisions: Make it work or find a new job for my own sanity.
Of course there is an elusive third option: Get over them and still love your job. Which if you are capable of this then that is amazing and you deserve an award (or promotion).
The world has over 7 billion people you could go out with, so the best bet would be to avoid the potential trauma of dating your coworker and find someone who works somewhere else.