Questions about love, dating, and relationships are frequently tossed my way. Never mind my own less-then-perfect relationship record, or that I struggle as a mother, sometimes lack patience, and I hold no degree in counseling. Here are a few answers to questions I've collected.
• Q: I’ve been seeing a female co-worker for the last few months. It wasn't planned. It just sort of happened. We’ve mostly been able to keep it on the down low and it hasn’t gotten in the way of our work. Fortunately we don’t work on the same team. Unfortunately, we work on the same floor and frequently collaborate on projects.
It’s been fun, and I really do like her. She’s sexy and smart. But I’m just not feeling it anymore. Seems like all we ever do is talk about work and even though I like having someone to talk to who understands what I do on a daily basis, I want out while she wants more.
After our last argument she ignored me all day at the office and people started noticing, asking questions and such. How should I go about ending things without the whole office knowing or it coming between our work?
• A: I’m not so sure there's a way to end it without creating office drama. Didn’t you think about that before you, how do they say, dipped your stick in the company ink? The only way for two co-workers to successfully date and successfully break up is if they both have an exceptionally high emotional IQ. Which sadly isn't as common as it should be.
Considering she ignores you after an argument and you admit it “just sort of” happened, my sense is that neither of you has the emotional fortitude to get through this smoothly.
Brace yourself. Things could get ugly.
The only way office romances end well is if there's a lot of consideration and thought given to the situation before jumping in. Not after. That includes posing the important questions, as in, “How might this affect both of us if it doesn’t work out?” or “How can I make a relationship work without making it all about our jobs?” and so on. Are you aware of your company policy on the subject?
Too many people rush into dating co-workers after long nights at work, little time to actually go on dates (let alone the daunting search for a partner), and shear laziness. Co-workers is simply there, maybe decent looking, and know the ins and outs of your workday. If they're single, you don’t even have to leave work to have a love life. Not only is that lazy, but terribly unimaginative.
My advice would be to come up with a solid plan. Find out company policies and explain the situation to your boss if need be. Then sit her down nicely and tell her that you made a mistake. That’s it. That's all you can do. If it becomes too uncomfortable you can always look for a new job or ask to be moved to a new department.
In the future, save yourself all this. Make time to go meet people outside of work, be an imaginative man. Keep work for work and your love life outside it.