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Caught up in an office romance

Sarah Sipek | February 9, 2017

Office romance 2017

According to a CareerBuilder’s annual Valentine’s Day survey, 41 percent of workers have dated a co-worker.

Television has romanticized the office romance. Jim and Pam; Derek and Meredith; Leslie and Ben; Fitz and Olivia. Through every dopey boyfriend, fiery ex-wife and scandal, we root for them to make it. While it may just be good writing, it could be that we want our own office romances to succeed.

And quite a few of us are caught up in one.

According to a CareerBuilder's annual Valentine's Day survey, 41 percent of workers have dated a co-worker—the highest amount since 2007. And many of them go the distance. The survey found that 30 percent of those office romances resulted marriage.

Forbidden Love
Workplace romance makes sense. Long hours, late nights and close working conditions are a recipe for love. But sparks don't always fly where it's most convenient: 19 percent of office romances involved at least one person who was married at the time.

Of workers who've had an office romance, 29 percent have dated someone in a higher position—up from 23 percent last year. Women are more likely to fall into this relationship dynamic than men (33 percent versus 25 percent). Furthermore, 15 percent of workers have admitted to dating their boss.

Secret Lovers
Whether it's to stay out of the office rumor mill—or to avoid having to resign in disgrace—many couples make the decision to keep their relationship a secret at work. Nearly two in five workers who have dated someone in the office have kept the relationship under wraps. Men tend to do it more often than women, with men keeping their lips sealed 40 percent of the time compared to 37 percent among women.

Where you live also plays a role in the decision to keep an office romance secret. In the Northeast, 45 percent of workers keep quiet about their office relationships, compared to 41 percent in the south and 34 percent in the West. In addition to being the friendliest, Midwesterners are also the most open about their office relationships. Only 31 percent keep them secret.

Pain in My Heart
It would be great if every office romance ended in wedding bells, but that isn't always the case. Unfortunately, 5 percent of office workers who have had an office romance say they left a job because a relationship ended badly.

But to the 7 percent of workers who are currently working with someone they would like to date, don't lose hope! It could always work out.

Advice for dealing with your co-workers:

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