An office romance is not an unlikely proposition when you spend a better part of your day interacting with your co-workers. When you co-exist in such a close setting day after day, week after week, month after month, professional relationships can organically develop into comradery, friendship and even a romantic partnership.
Dating a co-worker can seem exciting. But before you jump the bandwagon of office romance, it’s wise to spare a thought about what happens if things don’t work out. Tina and Varun learned it the hard way…
Our Office Romance Took Off At The Pantry Window
If you walked up the stairs to our fourth-floor office, you could be sure to find at least three couples sitting on the staircase. The rest of the romantic pairs could be spotted in the office cafeteria or maybe at the Barista, which was right below the building.
The place was a startup and it was swarming with young people, so office romances and flings were inevitable. We took the concept to a different level. All the couples at the office got married eventually, except for Varun and I. There was a twist in our tale, which took root at the pantry window.
The pantry was a small room at the other end of the office with a window that gave the best view of Kolkata. You could see the majestic Victoria Memorial, the lush green Maidan, the Vidyasagar Setu and even the Howrah Bridge at a distance. Varun and I initially converged at this window just for the birds-eye view of the city.
I was dating someone at the time and he had a girlfriend too. Our conversations were simple, casual, with a bit of office gossip thrown in once in a while. That was all. I knew it wasn’t a big deal, but I was still developing a crush. And I didn’t know how to get past it.
My tears and his hug
I was standing at that window one day and couldn’t hold back my tears. I had caught my boyfriend cheating on me. We had a massive showdown and I had called it quits the night before. For me personally, cheating was the final straw, an unforgivable act.
Varun walked in and saw my flushed face. He didn’t ask me any questions. He just stood there with me for a long time and then turned around and wiped my tears. I hugged him tightly, he hugged me back tighter. The connection was instant, electrical.
Our office romance thrived in the pantry
After a few months, Varun also broke up with his girlfriend. We would now stand by the window, holding hands, then a quick peck, which speedily progressed to a passionate French kiss. Strangely no one walked in while we were there, and we grew bolder and bolder.
It was highly possible that people at work now started to get a whiff of what was going on inside the pantry when we were there. They wanted to save themselves and us from the embarrassment if they walked in on us. They knew catching someone dating a co-worker was an awkward affair for both parties.
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Everyone knew about the blooming office romance
We hadn’t talked about our relationship to anyone but the way we behaved at work or danced together at office parties left nothing to imagination. It was obvious everyone knew about our blooming office romance. My boss hated my relationship with Varun, and his boss pretended not to notice.
Some of the office couples had already started tying the knot and we attended their wedding in full finery. The question always asked was: who’s next? Varun always winked at me when he heard the question and I would blush. Our romance was magical. That was until Varun took a step that he shouldn’t have.
We did the unimaginable
He bribed the office janitor and got hold of the keys to the pantry that was locked after 6 pm. He coaxed me to stay back late at work. Despite the fact that I was in two minds, my need to make out with him got the better of my need to stick to the rules. We knew what we were doing was crazy, but we were so in love.
Both of us left work early but we came back around 9 pm saying that we had some pending work to finish. All our colleagues left by around 10 pm, leaving the whole office empty. Careful about the CCTV cameras we ensured that we stayed put in our place till I picked up my bag pretending to leave and went to the pantry where Varun had already got in using the keys.
Related Reading: The 10 Do’s And Don’t’s Of Dating A Co-Worker
The darkness did something to us
We had no clue how long we were there. We had no issues with the small space and hard floor and just relished each other’s company in the darkness, only Varun sometimes kept silencing my ecstasy with his palms. It was heady, it was crazy. There was something sexy about breaking the rules.
While there was lust, there was also hesitance. We both knew what we were doing was wrong, but we weren’t mature enough to put a stop to it.
The key in the lock turned
Thankfully, I was dressed by then. I could hear the key in the lock turn and clung on to Varun in the darkness, totally aghast. The silhouette of my boss at the door was clearly visible. He was leaving in his car when he spotted us coming back to the office. He took a chance and came back to extract the whole story from the office boy.
We were both sacked. The next day we were required to hand in our resignation letters and made to say goodbye to all our colleagues. That was good in a way. I couldn’t have dealt with the whispers and pitiful stares after that.
The disappointed glare of our boss was humiliating enough. This whole experience could have been avoided if we had just been more cautious of our surroundings.
Related Reading: 7 People Confess How They Got Caught While Making Out.
Our office romance couldn’t survive that incident
This incident was a severe jolt to our relationship. We couldn’t deal with the regret and guilt, and also our inability to control ourselves and embark on such a ridiculous adventure. To make matters worse, we were jobless for some time and that took a bigger toll on the relationship.
We belong to an industry where news travels quickly, so wherever we went for interviews we were rejected before any talks could be initiated. The whole situation could have been avoided had we not acted on impulse. That was my biggest regret.
Thankfully Varun found a job in Mumbai. It was a relief, as I wanted him to move away from the city. I realized that without a good reputation in the industry, our hugs and electric chemistry was not strong enough to hold us together anymore. I learned that one stupid decision can break your career.
We both moved on
Since I couldn’t find a job in the city I became a recluse. That’s when my ex-boyfriend made an appearance again and wanted to tie the knot. I forgave him. We got married and moved to Singapore after the wedding. But with him, I could never find the physical connection I had with Varun.
I heaved a sigh of relief when he started cheating again. I never realized my partner cheating would bring me happiness instead of pain. We got divorced. It was a short-lived marriage but I don’t regret it. The marriage and life after divorce taught me new things about myself and the complexities of a relationship.
Am back in the city now…
I have heard from common friends that Varun is back too and is divorced. Sometimes I wonder if I should get in touch with him again. Could we take away the passion from that fateful night in the pantry, and start afresh?
The world is full of possibilities. I wonder what is in store for me.
Dos And Don’ts Of Dating A Co-Worker
As you can see, there are many do’s and don’ts of dating a co-worker that one has to be mindful of. One impulsive step can land you into trouble and erode years of professional accomplishments.
If you’re pursuing an office romance, for instance, it’s important to keep your lustful desires out of the workplace and always maintain a professional attitude in front of your bosses. Don’t get caught doing something silly, and never use your relationship as an excuse for not meeting deadlines.
Here are some other dos and don’ts of dating a co-worker that can help you keep an office romance alive and cultivate it into a meaningful relationship without impacting your career:
|Act Professional: Don’t let petty fights or quarrels get in the way of your relationship at work. ||Break the rules: Getting caught doing something unprofessional or inappropriate in your workplace can land you in trouble. Don’t act on your impulses.|
|Socialize With Colleagues: Compromising on your friendship with workmates can be pretty messy. Make sure to spend enough time with them during lunch and coffee breaks.||Make it uncomfortable for others: Dating a co-worker can be awkward for others, so try to keep it as low-key as possible. Don’t engage in PDA.|
|Separate the personal from professional: Just because you and your partner know your co-workers well doesn’t mean that you can start bringing your personal life to work. Steer clear of airing your dirty laundry in public or sharing intimate details about your relationship.||Favor your partner unduly: If one of you is in a senior position than the other, don’t use it to unduly further your partner’s career at the cost of others’. Even if you’re at the same professional rung, don’t go out of your way to help your partner unless you’re willing to do it for everyone.|