Office Affairs: Indicators and Counsel

Romance is not uncommon in the workplace, since you spend the better part of the day with your colleagues and during the working hours share common experiences that bond you together. Over time you begin to develop connection with your co-workers. Without adequate caution, the office place closeness can graduate to an unduly intimate relationship. 

Photo credit: Daily Mail
Your company policy may or may not forbid romantic commitment, though many request that one of the couple resigns at an advanced stage of the relationship especially if they choose to get married. However, you should be aware of the obvious dangers that may arise when an improper intimate bond builds up between a married officer and another colleague. Married or not, are you prepared for the fallout? You might wonder, at what point does normal professional interaction metamorphose into office romance. 

These are some of the indicators that an affair may be brewing, when you:
  • Start having secret meetings with a colleague of different gender.
  • Start experiencing emotional "malaria" towards a coworker.
  • Are filled with the thoughts of a colleague of the opposite sex, even during weekends.
  • Begin sharing your spouse’s weaknesses and marital challenges with him or her
  • Abruptly end chats when a third party enters the room/space.
  • Develop sudden interest to stay late in the office together in the disguise of overtime.
  • Do not feel comfortable bringing your own spouse to the office party.
  • You start have having “coincidences” in lunch times, sick days and vacations.
  • Start defending a colleague blindly in an unusual way or granting unusual favours.
  • Begin paying excessively close attention to a colleague's appearance with loaded complements.
  • Dress or make-up to catch a particular eye in the workplace.
  • Seek every possible opportunity to create privacy.
  • Delight in physical closeness or body contact.
  • Prolonged stare into the eye or struggling to make eye contact when other colleagues are there.
  • Lose concentration whenever the other party enters the office.
  • Your colleagues begin to address you as couples.
  • Can no more pick a fellow worker's calls when your spouse is there.
  • Rename a colleague in your phone contacts to mask identity behind calls and chats.
  • Increasing talk-time in a colleague's car with frequent drive-around.
In a (job-search website) survey, it was reported that four out of 10 employees have dated someone at work; 17 percent have done it twice with researchers attributing the motivating force behind this to love, ego, and the job itself.

Damian Tags, a marriage counselor, shares her experience, that the aftermath of an affair is usually the toughest challenge of a relationship. Rebuilding trust and reconnecting with your spouse after an affair takes a lot of time, hard work, and patience on the part of both partners. She counsels her clients who have relationship problems but have not experienced infidelity on how to avoid having an office affair.

Here are a few tips from Damian on preventing an office affair:
  • Don’t flirt. Make sure that your interactions including jokes stay away from flirtation, it can be the first step toward an affair.
  • Avoid alcohol during office parties. Remember alcohol lowers your inhibition, so even if you don’t think it would lead to anything, it’s better safe than sorry.
  • Keep your personal life at home. Don’t share details about your relationship at work, and don’t become a confidant for someone else’s relationship problems. 
  • Do not keep a "work lover.” Many people have someone at work that they turn to for support when they need it. This can be a life-saver on particularly stressful days. But avoid having this friend as a member of the opposite sex. 
  • Don’t meet alone with a member of the opposite sex outside of work. If it’s for professional purposes, no problem! Otherwise, decline the invitation or see if someone else can come along. 
  • Remember your marriage vows.
Someone said “affairs begin in many ways and for many reasons", so we must be always on guard for the slightest hint of temptation. Because hints turn into flirtations, flirtations turn into attractions, attractions turn into affairs, and affairs turn into disasters. 1st Corinthians 10:13 says that God will always provide a way of escape, but we have to make a decision to run toward the door."

When you’re guarding your marriage and career, you’re not guarding just your spouse or income, but guarding your soul too.


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