19 Jan
Don’t Dip Your Pen in the Company Ink (Unless the Ink Has a Six-Pack)

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I started sleeping with a coworker about two months ago, which is OK as far as there being no rules against workplace relationships as long as neither party is a supervisor of the other. However, we agreed that it would just be sex and now, what started out as a secret affair, has turned into not quite secret and more than an affair.

How do I approach the topic to said coworker about where we are going with this? We aren’t the best at talking (read: he’s a man). While the relationship isn’t off limits, working the same shift in the same department isn’t something management prefers, so things could get complicated were everyone to find out, which given the current situation could happen very quickly.

Signed,

Co-Mingling With a Co-Worker

___________________________

Dear Co-Mingling,

Whew! Your question makes me really happy that I don’t have a job and therefore any hot co-workers around to entice me into thrilling sex-only relationships! No, I am definitely much better off just sitting here alone in my cold house. With my cat. And my burrito. And my worn out copy of Twilight. ย  And my…OH, FOR F*CK’S SAKE, WHY IS MY LIFE SO DAMN PATHETIC?!? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!? WHY DO I KEEP HITTING ON THE CHUBBY UPS GUY WHO SMELLS LIKE LONG JOHN SILVERS? WHYYY? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, I’M GOING TO DIE ALONE NEXT TO A LITTER BOX, AREN’T I?! AREN’T I?!?

But let’s get back to your problem of having too much meaningless sex.

Now, I have to confess that I’ve never, ever had a work-place rendezvous (obviously), so I can’t speak from personal experience. However, I think if you re-read your own question, the writing is on the sexy, sexy, oh God, so sexy wall (ahem): put your pants back on, baby.

It sounds like you’re not ready for this hook-up to turn into a real relationship, so that’s why you need to end it as soon as possible. For both his sake and the sake of your career. (And if he won’t listen to you, just write “We’re kaput, bitch!” on your boobs. That’s how I broke up with my last mammogram technician.)

However, maybe I’m wrong and maybe that’s not what you should do at all. So I’m going to ask our amazing, beautiful and very wise readers to chime in on this one. What do you all think? Should she keep on keeping on? Is it OK to do this with a co-worker? Or should she kick his ass to the curb before Human Resources transfers her to the home office in Kzakaitshaantan? We really, really want to hear your advice.

And, uh, if you can throw in your two cents about my obsession with the chubby UPS guy, that’d be good, too.

Sincerely,

Wendi, TMH

13 Responses to “Don’t Dip Your Pen in the Company Ink (Unless the Ink Has a Six-Pack)”

01.19.11#1

Comment by Desperate Dietwives.

It isn’t easy to give advice, because our friend’s letter is a little contradictory: in the first part she seems ready to commit in a deeper relationship, while at the end she seems worried about the Management finding out.

Whatever her feelings however, I’ll just point out that whenever you ask a man where he thinks a relationship is going from here, he first gives evasive answers and then escapes from the relationship as fast as lightning.

Perhaps putting your knickers back on like Wendi suggested is the real solution: he either will try to see more of you and start a true relationship, or he’ll drop it entirely.

And Wendi, will you introduce me to the chubby UPS guy? ๐Ÿ˜€

Kimberly Reply:

LOL!

01.19.11#2

Comment by Betty Herbert.

Like Wendi, it’s literally decades (well 1.5 decades) since I had the pleasure of a dilemma like this.

But I that’s never stopped me giving unwanted advice before. What strikes me is that the work thing is irrelevant, really. All relationships hit this point: how serious are we? Is there more to this than just sex? Does he take me seriously?

Your issues about management finding out are roughly the same as trying to work out when to present your partner to your parents.

The thing is, you can never know how long something will last, but you can have a good ol’ think about how the relationship feels right now. And if your conclusion is: ‘Great!’ then it might be worth telling colleagues about it. Otherwise, being a dirty secret will kill it.

01.19.11#3

Comment by Brandi C..

Oh, sticky, sticky and FUN!!! *ahem* Sorry.

I am currently engaged to my old office fling. And some things I’d like to share.
Our company also didn’t have any “policies” regarding interoffice relationships as long as we weren’t in the same department or reporting to each other, but they did have “preferences” and preferences matter.
During company layoffs, we were both “let go” as poor fits for the new direction of the company. Coinkidink? Maybe. or Maybe not. Either way…this is a tough one.
I can tell you that we tried the sex only, but that didn’t work either. It’s damn near impossible to do that; because as women we are someone programmed to finder deeper attractions to someone we are screwing. Hmmmm. WTF?
If you want out…get out. Cut it off clean. And DO NOT go back.
But if you both want in, commit, but be wise in the workplace about it. Keep business and pleasure seperate things.
You shouldn’t be bringing your bed to work anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‰

01.19.11#4

Comment by My 3 C's.

I am now living with my office romance. We had the same rules: as long as neither one is a manager over the other than it’s not breaking rules. However, it is not enocuraged. There are other office romances on the up and up, one resulting in marriage, and others behind closed doors that are whispered about. Figure out what you would do if he worked somewhere else and proceed from there. Ask yourself if it’s just a convenience because he’s readily accessible or would you go out of your way to date him? I agree you send mixed messages, figure out what you wnat first.

01.19.11#5

Comment by Kimberly.

I’ve been there. It never turns out well. NEVER. RUN NOW WHILE YOU CAN. I wish I had run, but at the time I was falling hard and was vulnerable and didn’t listen to reason. My reputation at work is still not completely repaired after 10 years. Worse ending for the guy, he quit, spiraled downward in the bad economy, drank himself to death. Yes, he is dead. Maybe my experience is the extreme of the worst that can happen, but I can tell you that from observing others it NEVER ends well. For one thing, people can’t control themselves from talking about. All it takes is one nano-second of a whispered rumor and BAM you are spending every day fighting negative opinions, fair or not.

Kimberly Reply:

Ok, maybe NEVER is a bit harsh. But I have yet to witness a good outcome other than some of these comments here. I am so freaked out by what happened to me and others at my company that I don’t recommend it, ever. Besides, there are a gazillion fish in this sea. Why risk a career in this job market?

01.19.11#6

Comment by Plano Mom.

If you think your coworkers don’t know something’s going on, you’re deluding yourself. Management may be different, but not likely. Assume that everyone is watching what you’re doing, and go from there.

01.19.11#7

Comment by Cindy Lou.

This “no strings attached” situation has naturally evolved into something more, so run with it! Get it while you can! Enjoy it while you have it! When it comes time to tell HR/Management, the two of you should tell them TOGETHER. Good luck!

01.19.11#8

Comment by Bekah.

Like a few of the gals before me, I’m getting married to my office romance in exactly 122 days. Not that I’m freaked the hell out about planning or anything…

Office romances are very tricky. We started out as friends for two years before we started dating. It wasn’t a casual fling that turned into more and I think that’s what helped us work together and date for four years. That and the fact that I worked in one office and he worked in an office 20 miles away. Our coworkers weren’t subjected to our lovey-dovey grossness every day. They really appreciated that.

The same time we started dating, two other couples in our office started dating. One as a drunken fling that turned sour after screaming at each other in the break room. The other as a more serious relationship that was shot down by the girl who went on to demand that her ex never date again because she would have to hear about it at work. It was OK for her to have a fling with her staff though…weird…

Whether there are office policies or not against dating, you need to tread very lightly here. Or else one day you’ll find yourself throwing hot coffee, stale bagels and bags of cheetos at each other in the break room.

01.19.11#9

Comment by Nona.

Office romances are bad news. Now I married my former boss, but allow me to clarify.

My husband and I worked together for 16 years before we ever dated for two reasons:
A. He was always a supervisor or my boss’s supervisor or somewhere up the direct chain of command and B. Office romances are almost always such a nasty mess and I needed the job.

We were attracted to each other, became good friends, and eventually, when he was no longer a boss to me due to a promotion that involved a transfer to another state, we started dating (long story.)

So yeah, we never hooked up while working in the same office.

And that turned out to be the best decision I ever made. And believe me, my track record of bad decisions is legendary. Hall-of-Shame worthy, really.

So, follow Wendy’s advice and put your pants back on, dear reader. Get some clarity about this relationship before you have to start looking for another job in this shitty economy.

01.19.11#10

Comment by StephanieG.

I married my office fling 12 years ago. Shortly after we started dating, he found a new job and quit, leaving me to face that horrid place on my own. I left shortly thereafter.I forgave him and we’ve been happily married for most of our 12 years.

I think the point is this – it’s either a fling or it’s more. If it’s a fling that’s getting in the way of your job, then stop flinging. If you find out it’s more, the only prudent thing to do is for one of you to leave your job.

I work now with three married couples, all who started out as office romances. One of them is divorcing, and I can tell you that from the co-worker position, it’s no fun at all watching a marriage implode, especially when we all like both of them.

Fling as you will, but as soon as you get your own drawer at his place, one of you needs to find a new job.

10.26.11#11

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