This is a question as old as time itself: Should you keep your romance with a coworker a secret? Many different answers have been offered in response, ranging from strong agreement to vehement disagreement. It seems that, no matter how many times this issue has been debated or with how many people, nobody can come to a solid conclusion on what the right answer is, though many kinds of answers have been suggested. Here are some things to consider on the topic to help you figure out what to do!
What Most People Do
When you’re in this situation, it might be helpful to consider what most people do. While it’s certainly true that what most people do might not be right for you, it’s still a good thing to keep in mind.
Statistics show that about two out of three workplace couples reveal their relationship. However, that still leaves one-third that decide to keep their relationship a secret! So, while you would be in line with the majority if you revealed the relationship, you would also be a part of a sizable minority if you decided to keep it a secret.
Understand Legal Penalties
Be aware that there are often legal ramifications for entering into a workplace relationship. There are sometimes state and even federal laws that penalize that decision. The reasons and contexts for those penalties can vary; if the other person is your superior (or vise-versa), there can be nepotism laws that prevent having an personal relationship with someone when you are in control of their job or salary. Additionally, depending on where you are in the world, having a relationship with someone outside of marriage can be a crime!
Since these are all very serious matters, it’s extremely important to read up on your national and local laws to determine if you would be subject to any legal penalties for openly having a relationship with a coworker.
Look at the HR Policy
It’s also a very good idea to review the HR policy of your workplace. Even if there aren’t legal penalties for a workplace romance where you live, there could still be a strict HR policy that outlines disciplinary actions and even the loss of your job. On the flip side, there might be an HR policy that punishes undisclosed relationships just as harshly. If you get caught having a relationship with your coworker which you did not disclose to HR, there could be consequences all the same!
Talk to Your Partner
Finally, the most important thing to do is talk to your partner. Learn what their thoughts and feelings on the matter are and then tell them yours. Together, the both of you should be able to discuss the matter and come to a reasonable conclusion about what to do with your situation. It might take long talks and hours of consideration if the two of you disagree at first, but it will be worth it to be on the same page as each other!