If you and your coworker strike up a connection and decide to date, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s doomed to fail just because it’s an office romance. Take Cole Sprouse, 26, and Lili Reinhart, 22, for instance – the Riverdale stars have mirrored their on-screen coupling between characters Betty Cooper and Jughead Jones in real life by initiating a relationship off-screen, too. While the couple has been pretty low-key, it’s clear they’ve found a way to be in a thriving relationship while working together for three years. We spoke to a couple of experts about how to successfully date your coworker, and celebrity matchmaker and relationship expert Bonnie Winston told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY that since jobs nowadays go beyond the typical 9-5, and oftentimes work events go into personal time, she thinks “people should take ANY opportunity when it comes to love.”
Bonnie went on to say that workplace romances can be “good and doable,” but can cause “emotional pain” if they don’t work out – just like a non-workplace relationship. She cautioned that anyone who dates a coworker should behave appropriately with their partner while at work. “Treat them with respect and be professional, whether you are in a ‘lateral romance’ or in one where one person has more power,” she said. Relationship expert Diana Dorell also advised that acting appropriately with your partner when at work is the best way to go – basically, treat them how you treat your other colleagues in order for it to remain a professional and productive working environment.
“Healthy boundaries are important,” Diana said. “If you are on the clock, acting professional and giving each other professional distance to do your best work can make the time you spend outside of work that much more passionate and connected!” She emphasized that distance at work will cause “tension,” which will make you “want each other more.” She also suggested for you to outline with your partner what appropriate workplace behavior should look like between the two of you. “It also creates really clear energetic and emotional boundaries if you both agree to certain protocol while on the job,” Diana said. “Not having that conversation ahead of time can lead to unnecessary confusion, hurt feelings, and expectations.” She suggested an example of setting boundaries, like: “‘Let’s agree to have lunch together outside the office, but no PDA while in the vicinity of the office.'”
Diana offered another tip: Check in with your HR department to cover your bases. “If you want to move forward with dating a co-worker, it’s important to check the guidelines and if you do need to contact HR, follow that – my suggestion would be to wait to announce it to anyone until you are both at the point of being exclusive [or in a] serious commitment.” Announcing a “relationship” to your colleagues if the other person is still seeing other people (maybe even another co-worker!) could just make everything awkward. So before going public, make sure you two are on the same page.
While Cole and Lili are supposed to act like a couple in their workplace, inappropriate PDA in between takes probably isn’t happening, since the two are professionals! Just like the Riverdale stars, if you keep it respectful, appropriate, and work can still get done successfully, there’s no reason not to be in a relationship with a colleague if that’s what the two of you want.