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Mixing your love life and your job can be risky– is it worth it?

HI, I live in Anchorage and am a management consultant and writer. I'm founder of www.bullywhisperer.com™, www.workplacecoachblog.com and www.thegrowthcompany.com. I'm author of Solutions and Beating the Workplace Bully, AMACOM. I author...

Balancing a romantic and a working relationship can cause problems in both

Lynne answers your pressing workplace questions.

Question:

I wasn’t getting anything from the job I had, so I quit and started working for him. At first, I just helped out but soon became an employee.

I recently broke off our engagement. We decided to continue working together and just sort of work around our little problem. The company won’t survive without me. Well, maybe it would, with luck, but it doesn't seem fair that I have to leave my job just because it’s his business.

The trouble is my boss. He keeps trying to revive our relationship, which definitely isn’t going to happen. This situation makes long, hard days for both of us. Should I find another job or stay with this one, hoping that things will eventually get easier?

Answer:

Ouch. A job description that mixes sex and duties works as well as pouring gas on hot coals — sooner or later, someone usually gets burned. When people have been in a relationship and the romantic interest fades only for one, the other often holds onto hope that the romance can be rekindled.

I can offer strategies to minimize the worst problems.

Your boss needs to sit down with an attorney or other professional who can outline the essentials of sexual harassment. As painful as the situation now feels to him, his current angst might pale should he act on his feelings and you sue him and win. He needs to know that his romantic and sexual feelings have no place in the work place.

As you’re realizing, maintaining a professional role with someone who wants a personal reaction presents special challenges for you. Your goal is to transform your relationship from a personal one to one in which work becomes the only focus. Monitor your own behavior and eliminate any mixed messages you send nonverbally.

Similarly, your boss needs to monitor himself. He can’t retaliate against you at work for rejecting him personally. If he does, he flirts with legal consequences.

Because your initial job history combined romance and work, you both may miss the added qualities of a work environment charged with sexual energy.

How will you feel when your boss disciplines you just like any other employee? Will you expect special treatment based on your history together? How will your boss feel writing you a paycheck now that you’ve dumped him and not his business?

I urge you both to work out how you’ll prevent personal feelings from spilling over into work life and business decisions. In short, finding a new job might prove less work than managing a situation containing this much combustion.

If you'd like an answer to your career question, it's easy. Write lynne@thegrowthcompany.com. You can also follow Lynne@lynnecurry10 on twitter or access her other posts on SheKnows, www.workplacecoachblog.com or www.bullywhisperer.com.

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