Office romances: Why is it so easy to fall for your colleague?

Office romances: Why is it so easy to fall for your colleague?

Relationship expert Paula Quinsee explains why people often cheat on their partners with their colleagues.

Office affair
Office affair/ iStock

Office affairs are more common than people think. A survey by Vault revealed that at least 50% of the employees interviewed have had a romantic relationship with a co-worker in the past.

Why is it so easy to fall for a colleague? 

Relationship expert Paula Quinsee says no one wakes up and plans to have an affair, but it is often an indication that something is missing in their relationship at home.

“People don’t just wake up in the morning and decide today I’m going to have an affair. It doesn’t work like that. We generally end up having an affair because something is not working in our relationship at home.”

She says what makes it easier to cheat in the office is that we spend over eight hours with our colleagues and share so much with them.

“We start feeling safe, we start trusting them, we start sharing things with them, letting them into our personal space and over time feelings can develop,” says Quinsee. 

She adds that “when needs are neglected at home and we are not getting the affection, attention, validation, priority etc. from our partner and in our relationship, we can end up falling in love with someone who meets those needs."

“That’s how affairs happen. It’s really because you are craving something from your partner that you are not getting and this other person in the workplace happens to show up at the right time at the right place.” 

READ: Woman spends thousands on 'revenge body' after partner cheated on her

Consequences of office affairs

Sadly, many affairs don't remain a secret.

“More often than not, people get found out,” says Quinsee. 

“The consequences can be very dire because it depends if the person you are having an unfair with is also married and in a relationship, because then that affects two relationships or two families."

Apart from families falling apart, Quinsee says some people might even lose their jobs, especially if the company policy is against relationships between co-workers. 

How to avoid the temptation

The relationship expert says to guard your heart against falling for your colleague, or anyone else, it is important to communicate with your partner about how you are going to deal with problems in the relationship and hold each other accountable. 

READ: Building your Relationship

“Right from the beginning of the relationship, start by establishing those relationship boundaries,” she says.

"Hold each other accountable throughout the relationship. For example, if something is going wrong in your relationship, how do you turn towards each other to try and resolve it. If you feel that between the two of you, you can’t resolve the conflict, then seek a professional that can help the two of you work through it and get your relationship back on track.”

Quinsee encourages that apart from the relationship boundaries, each partner should have their own boundaries. She says people should decide for themselves that they are not going to cross the line and cheat. 

“If you feel your colleague has developed feelings towards you and they want to take things further, it’s up to you to put those boundaries down and say 'no', I am not bringing personal stuff into my workplace environment, I don’t want to cross that line."

She says it all comes down to your personal values.

READ: Why do people cheat? 

Image courtesy of iStock/ @LightFieldStudios

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