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I screwed my new boss. Now I want to date him. Help?
October 5, 2010 8:48 AM   Subscribe

One week into my new job, I slept with my boss. Now what?

(I post on here regularly, and if you're a regular reader, you might put 2 and 2 together and figure out who I am. That's fine, I'm just trying to be vague on the details so this doesn't get Googled too easily later on.)

So I just started a new job overseas working for an international company. I've been working at headquarters for the past week and half getting some new projects started, and getting materials together, and then in two days I'll be leaving to go to my regional office.

This all takes place in a country that has a very strong drinking culture. Employees are *expected* to go out with their coworkers and bosses, drinking to the point of tipsiness at best, but more often drunkenness. This is socially acceptable business practice here. So we all went out last Friday. One of my superiors (not my immediate boss. We are both American. He's early 30's, I'm late 20's) started flirting with me over the course of the night. Of course we were drinking heavily, and things started getting pretty flirty. Backing up a few days, ever since my first day of work, I was definitely attracted to him, and could tell there was chemistry between us, but I didn't dare do anything about it; I didn't think it was appropriate, especially considering I was new at work.

Fast forward back to last Friday. The end of the night comes, and he walks me home. He asks if he can see my (company provided, temporary) apartment, and I, knowing fully well what he *actually* meant, said sure, come on up. He was very polite about the whole thing. He's kind of a shy guy, to be honest. Gave me plenty of chances to un-awkwardly end the evening. But I had been drinking, too (I wasn't drunk, but I was definitely uninhibited). And I'm attracted to him! So we had sex. It was good sex, too! He stayed the night, we spooned and cuddled the whole night, he continued to give me kisses all night... He left in the morning to go in to work (I didn't have to work that Saturday), gave me a kiss goodbye, and left. He also purposely left his jacket. (I was watching him get ready in the morning, and I saw him make the conscious decision to leave it)

I don't have a local phone yet, so we didn't talk all weekend. Monday (this) morning I show up to work, and maintain my professional composure. I went in and signed my contract with him today. We definitely exchanged "knowing" glances, but didn't talk about it. I returned his jacket to his desk before he came into work.

He asked me out to dinner tomorrow night (in a pretty casual way, but he switched to his personal email account to ask me). I leave the next morning for the regional office, which is quite a distance (5 hr flight) away. We will both be back and forth to each others' offices frequently, though (every couple months, maybe?). There is a small chance I could be relocating to head office within the next year, either temporarily (a few months at a time), or long term.

I asked a coworker (barely knew her, but we've talked a bit, and she seems trustworthy. Plus, I needed advice), and she reassured me he's absolutely NOT the kind of guy to "sleep with the new girls". He's genuinely a great guy, and she's supportive of any relationship that might occur. In terms of company policy, she said it's an unspoken rule to "work at work, play at play". There are many interoffice relationships (it's a big company), but they only become public once they're "going steady". She said she can't foresee there being any problem, company-wise, with me having any sort of a relationship (sexual or romantic) with him.

SO, all that said... have you ever slept with one of your superiors? How did it turn out? I'm genuinely into this guy, and am interested in seeing where things go. I was attracted to him from day one. (as in, I didn't just sleep with him because we had been drinking). It seems like he's interested in me, too.

Do you think it'll be easier being further apart from each other, where he won't be managing me on a day-to-day basis? I'll have a "main" boss once I've moved to my regional office. If all we end up with is a fling, how do you keep it from going sour, and causing work issues? If it turns out that we get along great, do you think it could work long term?

Basically, any and all advice is appreciated. Throw away email is nookiewiththeboss@hotmail.co.uk (don't know why it added the co.uk part..., I'm not in the UK)

Thanks in advance!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (40 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
From experience, this fast? Not good. It could turn awkward. As for telling a coworker you didn't know well? Bad idea. People blab, this is good gossip, you don't want or need that reputation. All I know is when they start to expect it, then you find out they have other interests, you feel really silly/used and then work becomes weird and then you start looking for another job and never look back.
posted by stormpooper at 8:59 AM on October 5, 2010


TBH, I think discussing the situation with a barely-known but seemingly trustworthy colleague was an even bigger mistake than the already big mistake of sleeping with your boss.
posted by elizardbits at 9:09 AM on October 5, 2010 [58 favorites]


I'm not sure what the question is.

But IMO, if this gets out you're in trouble. Your reputation within the company is hosed for many reasons (and yes, the double-standard against women is unfair but it isn't going away soon).

What you need is the highest level of discretion possible. Telling a co-worker was a huge mistake.

And not to pile-on, but if you're working abroad your visa is contingent upon employment with your company.

Back up, full reverse. Even if it might be true love, you'll get booted back home if you lose your job.

Break it off and don't say another word. I guess you could explain this to the guy, but you might just be digging a deeper hole.
posted by bardic at 9:15 AM on October 5, 2010


You know what, usually my advice is to keep work and play separate, but this sounds like a situation where two level headed people could enjoy spending time with each other. The fact that he's not directly managing you makes it much easier, the fact that you won't see him on a day to day basis even so. If I were in your shoes I'd give it a whirl, going into it with no goals other than to see what happens, making it clear that you aren't interested in work drama or any of that. If thing start souring, take the high road and take some lessons from the experience. I hope that the coworker you spoke with is trustworthy enough to not start gossiping about you two, while it was a risk to ask her I think knowing that this guy is not a serial sleazer was worth it.
posted by Meagan at 9:15 AM on October 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


2nding elizardbits regarding discussing with colleague. This "news" making its way through the water cooler grapevine is disaster personified.

I totally understand your stance but objectively you sound like someone trying to convince yourself this is a good idea. There is very little chance this goes well unless one of you leaves the company, which given that you've just started doesn't seem likely.

The only real wise course of action would be to cease all physical/romantic overtures and if down the road there are genuine (i.e., post-honeymoonish, stars-in-your-eyes) feelings still lingering, at that point the relationship is disclosed or one of you decides to leave.

I met my ex-wife at the company where we worked but we were in separate departments. Sleeping with a direct report is something else entirely regardless of permissiveness of said company/country.

Good luck!
posted by eggman at 9:19 AM on October 5, 2010


I asked a coworker (barely knew her, but we've talked a bit, and she seems trustworthy. Plus, I needed advice), and she reassured me he's absolutely NOT the kind of guy to "sleep with the new girls".

Or so she thought, until now. IMO, a guy clever enough to ask to see the company apartment and switch e-mail accounts has probably done this before. I think you should not speak to her about this ever again. If it comes up, you should tell her that you were sorry to discuss and you'd rather the whole thing just be forgotten. As for keeping things from going sour with your boss, think about how you'd act if you hadn't slept with him, and act that way going forward, whether you feel like it or not.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:24 AM on October 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I agree with elizardbits that your biggest problem right now is your having confided in the coworker. Regardless of what you've been told, you don't have a whole lot of information about who's trustworthy and who has what motivations in this situation, so I'd recommend laying as low as possible until you get a better feel for the dynamic at your new job. Don't tell anyone else (especially not at the regional office), and be friendly-but-noncommittal with your boss tomorrow-- your relationship would have to be long-distance for a couple of months anyway, so you should have a bit of time to figure things out.

Remember that despite how close you may feel to them after a few nights of drinking, you really don't know any of these people all that well at all, and you don't want to unwittingly earn a bad opinion that may hinder your professional advancement later on. Until you know what moves are OK to make, I think your best bet is to make no moves at all.
posted by Bardolph at 9:25 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


We all do fun things that we may later regret or have reservations about, but I've rarely seen good things come out of office romances or over-confiding in someone who may become your competition further down the road. That goes for companies big or small, mom & pop or multinationals. I'd be a little more protective of your intimacy and privacy going forward as well as creating boundaries between work and play.
posted by jsavimbi at 9:28 AM on October 5, 2010


My best advice is to learn from this going forward. Do not sleep with any more of your bosses. Do not tell any more of your co-workers about this. Do not expect that you can trust that the co-worker you told is actually going to keep it to herself. Also, if you are planning on moving up in the company, I'd follow your co-worker's advice and "work at work, play at play." Good luck!
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:29 AM on October 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm going to take a wild guess that your company is somewhere in Europe, given the 'strong drinking culture'.

If he's not directly managing you, I'm not sure I see a problem. As long as neither of you brings any drama into the office, you're not working directly with each other and you ask the coworker you spoke to to keep it to herself, don't worry about it. Especially given you're going to be in different parts of the country!

I appreciate that US labour laws, at-will employment and the like make this a waaaay bigger deal for Americans than in the rest of the world, but honestly in big companies across the world, relationships like this are not at all unusual. I worked for an American firm but in the UK and there were multiple relationships going on. The company had a policy that you couldn't be in a direct reporting or fiduciary position with someone you were also in a relationship with, but otherwise it's just 'don't bring it to work'.

If you start a relationship with this guy, one thing to make sure of - he's not already married or otherwise taken. That would probably be a problem.

But otherwise, geez, don't worry about it.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:29 AM on October 5, 2010 [18 favorites]


Hmmmm...

As someone who has worked in 12 different countries across every continent, my experience is that office hookups (whether casual or serious) are not the big taboo outside of the US that they are in the US. Especially in expat circles where you have a bunch of privileged, white professionals in a non-white country who all hang out in very incestuous circles. Sure, people often end up with bruised feelings when the relationships don't work out, but...from what I saw...people just sucked it up and got on with their jobs. No big deal.

The fact that there's a tolerated drinking culture in your office is proof of this. You can't possibly the only one there who has slept with a colleague -- superior or not. There are of course real concerns about how this affects your interaction with The Superior. It is up to the two of you to act maturely and keep things from impacting work. I would ignore all the doomsday scenarios that other comments are describing, act as discreetly as possible (including not telling anyone further, and swearing your confidant to secrecy), and just hope for the best.

As for whether or not to continue seeing him outside of work, I say go for it. He's a nice guy, right? You only live once.
posted by randomstriker at 9:32 AM on October 5, 2010 [11 favorites]


Or, what Happy Dave said.
posted by randomstriker at 9:33 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


1. Way too much detail in here for the question, which appears to be a chatty, "Hey, anyone here fool around at work?"

2. Trusting in a co-worker you barely know to give you advice on whether this situation will be all right is silly. She can't give you any legal advice. All she is going to do is give you her opinion. Worse yet, now one more person knows about this relationship. Hasn't HR given you a handbook or gone over general office policies with you? That's standard procedure, and that's what you should be following. If HR says absolutely no office relationships, you are in trouble. If HR doesn't mention it, you can slide. That's really the ONLY advice you should be paying attention to.

3. You have been there a grand total of one week. You have already gone drinking with your co-workers, slept with your boss and engaged in office gossip (about you!).

All the above suggests that you are extremely young, naive and rashly impulsive. You are fortunate that the offices you will be in are 5 hours apart from each other.

The best advice I can give you is to try to refrain from exercising such poor judgment in the future. If you are really attracted to this guy, try seeing him while not under the influence of alcohol, with no other employees around, and do NOT confide in your office-mates about the future particulars of your relationship (if that's where this all leads).
posted by misha at 9:35 AM on October 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


Another thought: How is your new paramour going to react to your having told someone in the office about it? That is something to keep in mind here - this is not just your life and your career at stake. Take a few deep breaths and carry on.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:37 AM on October 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think it would help to know if you're in Europe or Asia. I kind of think you're in East Asia... The context will kind of determine what advice you get.
posted by vincele at 9:37 AM on October 5, 2010


Oh, and I have seen office relationships work, in case you think my advice is a bit stern.

But the ones that DO work, in my experience, do not involve any direct supervision, and the employees were friends long before they became romantically (or sexually) involved. Also, they were much more discreet over the course of the relationship than you have been in just this one week!
posted by misha at 9:38 AM on October 5, 2010


Oh, for everyone concerned about this being a direct reporting relationship, re-read the question. She's not working directly for the guy (which is an easy misreading, given the title of the post) and they're in different offices. This is about an impulsive hookup with someone higher in the heirarchy than her, not 'I got it on with the person who will be doing my appraisals and giving me raises'.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:41 AM on October 5, 2010


I asked a coworker (barely knew her, but we've talked a bit, and she seems trustworthy. Plus, I needed advice)...

To hear your explanation, it is this (rather than your relationship) that is the problem. You've just given this random third party knowledge that they could use to cause significant problems for him and for you, should she choose to do so.

Arguably, you have two reasonable options that I would consider were I in your shoes:

Option one: see him a few times outside of work, let him know you have concerns about having a relationship with someone you work with, and that you'd like to slow things down a bit until you're settled into the new job and you're both sure you can handle this professionally. As part of this, I would admit that I mentioned it to the other girl, and that it was poor judgement on your part. Then, if things work out, you might have the ability to carry on a relationship, but one of you will likely have to move to another part of the company to prevent a conflict of interest.

In short, take your time, be honest with each other, and with the company you work for -- and be prepared to make sacrifices if you decide to proceed. This way your relationship can be carried on openly and honestly, as all relationships should be, and the coworker gossip potential won't matter.

Option two: see him outside of work, let him know you have concerns about having a relationship with someone you work with, and that it's really a shame because you would have liked to give it a go. Let him know that the decision is a professional one, not a personal one, and if you're both available after one or both of you leave the company, you're going to be calling him up for a date, and if not, no hard feelings. As part of this, I would admit that I mentioned it to the other girl, and that it was poor judgement on your part.

Once it's settled, mention to the coworker that you and he have decided not to pursue it for professional reasons, then confide in her that it's a damn shame, because you think he's terrific. That way, if she has/does gossip about what you two did, she will likely also gossip about how terrific you think he is, and so it'll get back to him -- and if not, then not.

All the other options I can think of involve too much risk/too much lying for me to be comfortable with, personally. Good luck, and exercise better judgement in the future, eh?
posted by davejay at 9:44 AM on October 5, 2010


Be sure and read this recent AskMe thread about the completely awful fallout of workplace romance gone bad..

There are 3 factors to an office romance. His personality, your personality and the workplaces personality.

Him:
What's he like, in general? Is he kind and communicative? What's he like when's been rejected, is tired, angry or confused? Does he lash out or simmmer or try to talk things out? Is he going to cut you slack or play favorites 'cause ya'll are sleeping together? These are important things to know, because if the relationship goes south, his previous attitudes will probably determine how he'll react to the breakup

You:
How are you with confrontations? With being rejected? With being the focus of someone's anger? Can you separate work and the personal life even when the personal life is pretty bad? Would you freak out about the office having a generally negative attitude because you broke his heart/are slutting it around by sleeping with a boss/ etc. You need to know these things about yourself.

The Office:
How does it feel about office romances? Is there some official notification to be put in when it occurs? Are there rules about that make it ok in one situation and not ok in another? How's HR department, do they take employee harassment or complaints seriously?

Based on what you've written, it sounds fine, just be cautious and don't talk to co-workers about the relationship, as that could backfire on you and him. See where it goes, talk a lot with him about extra dynamics of this relationship and question yourself about you deal with the things mentioned above.

Most of all, good luck!
posted by nomadicink at 9:46 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


My sister just married a guy who used to be her boss and they both still work for the same company. Just to provide a counterpoint.

I do agree that you shouldn't have confided in your coworker. I can understand that you might not have a support system set up yet, but this is what emailing friends back home is for.
posted by sugarfish at 9:58 AM on October 5, 2010


EVERYTHING WAS FINE UNTIL YOU TOLD A COWORKER.
posted by jbenben at 10:04 AM on October 5, 2010 [15 favorites]


While I think there is certainly a risk of you earning a reputation with your company if/when this gets out, I think you head off a lot of the gossip and/or reverse the reputation if this becomes a serious relationship. I know it is early in the relationship but lets fast forward a bit and say that the two of you get married to each other. It is kind of hard to keep a reputation as someone who sleeps to get ahead or anything else if you've never slept with another co-worker and are married to or in a serious relationship with the one that you did.

It sounds to me like the company policy and culture around inter-office relationships is pretty accepting and relaxed so I think you'll be okay. You'll probably need to have a talk about making sure that neither of you takes advantage of the other in any way at work.

You might actually be better off in terms of how you are viewed at the office by moving the relationship forward and start dating him. If it becomes serious you're probably better off if it becomes public knowledge. You might have to have a talk with HR about it though. The two of you might be separated enough that they don't care or they might need to find a solution that keeps you out of each other's chain of command, so to speak.

I met my wife at work. We were in the same department, she didn't report to me but I "outranked" her in the department's hierarchy. We told HR and figured out the best solution together. I moved to the same role in a different department and that was the end of it. The situation was a little bit different because we had worked together for a while before we started dating and neither of us planned on staying with the company long-term.

To more directly answer your questions. Yes, I think it could work long-term and is probably the best possible outcome and it sounds like you're well aware of the possible complications if it turns into a long-term relationship that goes sour.

If it turns out just to be a fling it sounds like the company culture doesn't really think it is a big deal. As long as it doesn't happen with someone else and you generally downplay things you're probably okay.

No matter what, I think you need to talk with him about it and see what he thinks and what he wants and then go from there. Dinner with him tomorrow night should be a good opportunity to find out.
posted by VTX at 10:12 AM on October 5, 2010


If you had asked the question before last Friday, "should I sleep with him?" I would have told you that, even though you're attracted to him, you feel there is chemistry, and he seems like a good guy, I would have told you know and that doing so was a big mistake. That's the cautious route.

But the cautious route also wouldn't have led to you having the good sex. (The cautious route rarely does.) And since you can't put the cork back in this bottle -- and seriously, I wonder if anyone who is suggesting you do so is really considering that this question is happening in the real, messy world, and that in this world, the "damage" is already done. Pretending it didn't happen, I think, is the worst possible decision. There are plenty of work place romance situations gone bad on Ask Metafilter, but they are usually here because it's a situation gone bad. Tons of other people have made it work in much, much more possibly awkward situations and you won't read about them on Ask Metafilter -- because they made it work. Just like most adults don't leer at their co-workers breasts inappropriately, in my experience, most adults can have adult relationships and not let it affect their professional life.

Don't make yours a situation that doesn't work by overthinking it or making it more than it is. You are both consenting adults who consented to adult behavior. Move forward as you would in any adult relationship, keeping it cool at work, of course, because that's what adults do.

Keep moving forward as you want, and if you both seem interested in continuing it but you have concerns about the shared employer, share it with him. He's in the situation too, and probably has some thoughts, since he's doing a similar thing. And if you want to keep it more casual than that, let him know that as well. In other words, treat him right, like you would any other relationship, and this complication will be one that should be navigable.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:15 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think you're safe. Since he doesn't supervise you, and since you will be working in a different part of the country/continent with infrequent contact, it's not as though this relationship will affect, or be affected by, office politics - you'll be able to stay under the radar.

Since you're both expats it's not as though you will be forced to work together if things don't end well. You'll both have opportunities to break off the relationship in a logical way if you move back home or to a different country. Of course, this same factor may make planning a life together more difficult.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:16 AM on October 5, 2010


Favoriting jbenben HARD. Don't talk about this ever again with any of your coworkers. Ever ever again.

And think REALLY HARD about whether or not you REALLY want to try to make a relationship happen with this guy. There are oh so many ways this could go very wrong, and your job is very much on the line.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 10:16 AM on October 5, 2010


I wouldn't worry so much that you told a coworker. You're moving to a different location - out of sight, out of mind.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:17 AM on October 5, 2010


I cringed when I read that you told a coworker you "barely knew". This is totally something that I'd do in the same situation: once I know people well, I rarely confide in them, but there's something about the "new acquaintance" relationship that makes me want to blab my life story.

That said, what's done is done, and none of this, from sleeping with your boss in the first place to telling your coworker about it, is absolutely guaranteed to end in horrible disaster. At this point, I think the best you can do is act nonchalant at work. If your coworker brings anything up, just tell her you'd rather not discuss it. I see nothing wrong with pursuing a relationship with the guy outside of work, but that's a judgment call for you to make.

You really did nothing wrong, so try not to make this into a bigger thing in your own mind than it actually is. I wish you the best of luck!
posted by easy, lucky, free at 10:31 AM on October 5, 2010


OP, you may be out of sight out of mind, but this guy you claim to "like" must now work with the person you blabbed to every day.

You didn't do this man any favors if he is one of the "good guys" since, as you describe it, the culture of this workplace is fueled by alcohol and socializing. YOUR PERSONAL INTERACTIONS WITH THIS GUY ARE NO LONGER PRIVATE.

Also. I could see higher ups passing you over for certain gigs within the company because you slept with someone in X regional office, etc. That's on you.

Next time, keep your private life private. If you can not trust your own instincts about a man, don't ask a coworker's opinion. Keep your private life private.
posted by jbenben at 10:39 AM on October 5, 2010


The only person I knew who slept with her boss got fired. I think after they slept together, he saw her as a liability and got rid of her.

This was in the US.

I don't know if sex is a big deal where you're currently working, but it's not supposed to be that big of a deal here and he just up and disposed of her after sleeping with her.

It was really sad. She had no job.
posted by anniecat at 11:09 AM on October 5, 2010


Happy Dave and randomstriker have it. I get the feeling a lot of the OH NOES on this thread are coming from people who have always lived and worked in a professional and social culture (naming no names) that is totally different to the one in the rest of the western world, where many if not most people meet their spouses at work.

I don't see "should I have told a colleague?" in your questions, which you wouldn't guess from the answers you've received here, but given you haven't broken any workplace rules or customs, what's she going to do? Tell people you're a slut for meeting a nice guy?

If it doesn't work out then be an adult, and trust that he'll do the same. You'll probably be fine. The stakes during a breakup are higher for colleagues than strangers you meet at the library, but there is no special trick to having a good breakup. (And if you only see each other every two months, the stakes aren't that high — you'd think you were on the International Space Station together for the next year from these comments.) And yes, of course it could work out! Enjoy!
posted by caek at 11:09 AM on October 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


well my experience might be unusual but I slept with my boss pretty quickly. Turned out to be a great 4 year relationship.

Just be adult and authentic about it. treat it like any other relationship. if you like him, it's ok to let him know. if it's getting weird, let him know.

just try to keep work at work & play at play. sure, it's fun to exchange glances here and there but don't let it interfere too much. I'm a supporter of finding a mate at work...we spend so much time & energy there, it's difficult to avoid.
posted by PeaPod at 11:55 AM on October 5, 2010


Speaking from a UK perspective, many, many people date, sleep with, or marry co-workers in big companies.

If you were his direct report, that'd be a bit different, as it's rather tricky to maintain a professional and personal relationship properly, which is why most HR departments ban it outright. Given he's someone senior to you, but not in your direct chain of management, I personally wouldn't worry about that side of it for now. If and when you end up working in the same place, you'll likely need to talk to HR.

This all takes place in a country that has a very strong drinking culture. Employees are *expected* to go out with their coworkers and bosses, drinking to the point of tipsiness at best, but more often drunkenness. This is socially acceptable business practice here.

Definitely sounds like a Brit company, especially with nookie in your email address ;) Though you say you're not in the UK, so take this as much as it applies to your company culture in the country you are in.

There's no way to say whether asking a co-worker for advice was a good idea or not - some people are bitchy and tattles, admittedly - but then there are many good people who are quite happy to offer advice on office politics without judging you as an individual, or indeed spreading it far and wide on the grape vine. and you did get some info on the guy, and the company culture. What's done is done.

Given the distance and that you'd only see each other every few months for work, it doesn't seem hugely likely that a long distance relationship would work that great, this early, though it's always possible if you both work at it. Might be easier to chalk it up as a simple fling with great sex, and leave it at that when you leave for your new base. If you're both still unattached when you move back, and the interest is still there, you can always pick it up again.

I'd take the chance to discuss his and your feelings over dinner, and go from there. Either way, you'll want to keep things professional in the office, and keep schtum from now on - at least until it does all come up roses and you're in a steady relationship some months down the line.

Adults are allowed to have fun. Just don't let it leak in your relationship at work - or particularly visibly when on joint social events - and you'll be fine.
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:15 PM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have messed around with coworkers and it was fine because I didn't bring any drama to the workday and because I kept my damn mouth shut.

Spread legs, closed mouth, for life.
posted by WeekendJen at 12:43 PM on October 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I've dated two men I worked with. One relationship (the first) was common company knowledge, he was in a senior position to me, but not directly my boss. We were both adult enough to leave relationship things outside the office and worked well together. It didn't work out for reasons completely unrelated to working together. When it didn't work out, we carried on working well together.

The other is my - now - husband. We worked on a project together for 2 years, but no one in the company was aware of our private lives.

Things of Note: We were working in a European office at the time where the company culture was ALL ABOUT drinking after hours. It was not uncommon to spend 3 nights a week at the bar with at least 12 co-workers. My husband and I were smart enough to treat those outings as "still at work" and did not advertise our private lives there. I told one friend in the office after at least one year of us being together - a girl who I'd known for 3 years and who was in effect my best friend in that country. The rest of the office found out the day we were no longer employed by the company.
posted by kirstk at 1:40 PM on October 5, 2010


I'm a UK expat who now lives in the US. You can definitely see the cultural divide in the answers here. I met my partner at work (in the UK), and we dated while we worked together in the same company. We now work together at a different company (in the US). It was no big deal in the UK, there were lots of inter-company relationships. If people split up, everybody behaved like an adult and it was all good. Here our relationship is treated as something slightly frightening and unknown, but over the years it has become accepted, and surprisingly, the world hasn't ended ;)

I say you're fine. You only live once, don't make relationship decisions based on what might go wrong, go with your gut. If you want to continue seeing him, then do so. I do think asking the co-worker was a bad idea, but not a total disaster, and anyway there's no point crying over spilt milk. Have fun, relax, enjoy the new job. The fact that you are not his direct report, and you will be at a remote office makes it easier for you to keep him at arms length should you need to.
posted by Joh at 2:09 PM on October 5, 2010


I say enjoy it while it lasts.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:28 PM on October 5, 2010


I don't think even telling the coworker was an awful thing, depending on what you told her. If you told her that you got drunk and had sex with the dude, I would suggest you be a little more discreet in the future. But I more get the impression that you were discreet and kind of hinted at "Dude is pretty cute and I had fun talking with him at the party last night--is he involved with anyone/does he hit on every new girl/is he actually a jerk?"

But your regional office is 5 hours away. He might not be up for actually getting into a long-distance relationship with a new person in a foreign country. He might like you enough to date if you were both working at the same office, and might be up for trying to date long distance or might just be up for hooking up when you're both in the same place. I would say go for it, though.
posted by that girl at 6:05 PM on October 5, 2010


Your reputation within the company is hosed for many reasons

The above advice would seemingly apply to an extremely sexually-repressed culture.

Needless to say, this is not necessarily the case in many parts of the world.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 7:59 PM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


y'all are a bunch of drags. the girl already did this stuff. so far, nothing bad has happened. in fact, it seems pretty good. what's with all the finger wagging.
posted by wurly at 9:08 PM on October 5, 2010


What the hell, people.

Look, you got laid, it was great, he wants to see you again, also great, he's not your direct superior, even more great, you talked to someone who seems nice, probably great.

If this is the kind of company where this will RUIN YOUR REPUTATION! then people wouldn't have been out drinking in the first place. It's not. Relationships have happened.

The biggest issue will be the 5 hour flight. That sounds miserable for anything romantic.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:36 PM on October 6, 2010


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