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Love in the Workplace

Mistress Maeve: Your guide to love and lust...


Published March 14, 2012 at 10:28 a.m.

Dear Mistress,

I started seeing a girl I work with, and it’s been nearly two months now. She insists on keeping it a secret from work people and even from some friends of mine. When people ask her, she says she’s single. She also has trouble communicating to me what our dating status is, yet she does not like the idea of me chasing other girls.

At first I could see her reasoning: She wants to look professional at work and thinks dating a co-worker is unprofessional. However, after two months of hearing her tell people she’s single, it’s starting to sound insulting. I am crazy about her and I do believe she likes me a lot, but possibly not as much as I like her. Lately she has shown more interest, calling me more often, and we even discussed moving out of Vermont together. Thoughts?


Working Man

Dear Working Man,

While most human resource professionals would tell you that intra office dating is risky business, reports that “four out of every 10 people meet their spouse at the office.” With stats like that, it’s not surprising that you find yourself in an office romance — but you should still proceed with caution. I think she has the right idea; discretion is key in workplace amour. If handled incorrectly, dating a colleague can cause coworkers to turn on you, affect office morale and negatively impact your career.

That said, I don’t think fraternizing in the workplace is your biggest issue. She is sending you mixed messages. If she isn’t ready to meet your friends, how could she possibly be ready to move away with you? Have a conversation with her and share your concerns. It’s entirely possible that you like her more than she likes you, and it’s best to find out now before you really get hurt. If she says she wants to be with you, some things will have to change. It’s unreasonable to keep your relationship a secret from your friends. She’ll need to make an effort to get to know your pals. Further, I think it’s fair to ask her to say she’s “seeing someone,” instead of saying she’s “single.” If nosy coworkers press the issue, she can simply say, “I’m not comfortable discussing my personal life at work.”