What are your thoughts about dating someone you work with? Seems like a tricky situation. I’ve heard mixed messages, mainly “don’t dip your pen in the company ink.” Ironically, this came from someone who’s in a relationship with someone from their work. Another example, is a good buddy’s girlfriend is due to give birth next month, they met at work.
–Breadwinner (♂ Victoria)
There are a couple of way to approach this question, so I will orient my suggestions to how dating your co-worker might effect your relationship directly and let others discuss the challenges you might have with your other associates and supervisors.
Overall, I am of the opinion that anything is possible. However, the intricacies of each individual situation need to be taken into account and considered separately. In other words, some couples can make a family business run, others can handle working together sparingly, and still others need their time and space apart and thrive on coming together after their daily dose of independence. Not only that, but objectivity is required for obvious pitfalls such as break-ups. Dating a workmate, as most of us know, is more tricky than the obvious. Not everyone knows why though, so I’ve outlined a few things to keep in mind:
- Masculine Mind vs. Feminine Mind: The challenge of single focus (masculine) mind and multiple focus (feminine mind) is accentuated at work. Typically, this can lead to a struggle within the man when he feels that his partner would like some attention, or that he should be paying her romantic attention when they are alone together at work, while at the same time feeling that if he doesn’t fully focus, he cannot be completely effective in his purpose. Not to mention that it is easy for a woman to feel like her man is ignoring her when she sees him in full focus mode at work. Men especially, and a woman in her masculine, needs to draw a distinction between when focusing their attention on work, family, self, woman. This takes excellent communication and intentionality.
- Masculine/Feminine Polarity: In his book, The Way of the Superior Man, David Deida discusses choosing the role that you and your partner play for each other to intentionally polarize your relationship. ‘You can share many aspects of intimacy—business, friendship, parenting, and sexual passion [within your primary relationship] —only if you choose a single priority to the relationship and allow all the other activities to align themselves around your main purpose for being together. If you aren’t clear about what’s important, though, each aspect will conflict with the others. She will want affection when you want to get business done. She will want to talk about her day when you want to have sex. You will both end up compromising your true desires, and your relationship will be reduced to a functional but mediocre partnership.’ In other words, both of you need to find a ritual that gets you out of your work hats and back into your lover hats; a separate bike ride and shower will often do the trick to rid you of work mode.
- Avoiding Neutralization: While you are maintaining a tight hold on your purpose and its connection to your work by making sure that you don’t get distracted, keep an eye out for the opposite end of the pendulum swing. When you practice keeping your sexuality in check around your woman while at work, it might be harder than you think to reignite the fire when you grab a dinner date and a movie after an afternoon in the boardroom. I’m sure you’ve experienced the slow reactivation of your emotions, empathy and sexuality when arriving home from work… keep an eye on how being in a relationship with someone at work effects this transition.
- Breaking Up: While your relationship might last and grow like those of your friends, there is always the possibility of break up. And it is not the break up itself that is the problem when you work together, it is the time and space one requires to heal and prepare to move on. It is very possible for either gender to have to suppress painful emotions in the presence of the heartbreaker; compartmentalizing the emotions and making them more difficult to access when alone, making moving on difficult, if not impossible because of the giant baggage cart you or her is now dragging behind you.
- Priorities: My final and most important consideration for you is that the masculine needs purpose. For the feminine to relax in the presence of the masculine, purpose needs to come first. In other words, will working with your woman compromise this delicate balance? For some men, the job is just the job and it’s only connection with their purpose and life mission statement is funding. For others, the job is directly connected to their purpose and its success and therefor cannot be compromised. Check whether dating a co-worker aligns with your personal mission statement
My suggestion, is that you take into consideration each of the four points above, and then figure out whether your choice will compromise your purpose. If it does, you will be compromising any potential relationship you might have with your associate. I’ll bet your friend whose in a relationship with someone from work told you to find another ink well because he probably wishes they could keep their relationship a sanctuary away from his work and purpose and wants the same for you.