Posted by:
Anne Zimmerman

Anne Zimmerman

July 12, 2015


Working With Your Spouse

Yes, you love him, but could you work with him? It might sound hard to imagine, but it can happen: The fleeting interoffice romance turns into a serious relationship. Or you both decide to leap from jobs you hate into a new business venture together. Whatever the cause, suddenly you are romantic and professional partners.

Working with a significant can be a dream come true—or a disaster. Here, tips for working side by side with your sweetie.

Keep it professional. This should go without saying, but while you’re at work behave as if you work together, not sleep together. This means no PDA, no sneaking off for long romantic lunches, no going into each other’s offices and closing the door or sitting in the corner of your cubicle secretly holding hands. Try to behave so that strangers entering the office wouldn’t have a clue that you’re romantically involved. You can be kind and friendly, sure. But overly lovey-dovey? No way.

Communicate. Make sure there are some ground rules about how you are going to deal with conflict in the workplace. Because of your emotional attachment to each other, you may be more sensitive. Make it clear that when you’re at work, you’re co-workers, and that any difference of opinion you might experience between 9 and 5 has no bearing on your life at home.

Think hard. Aside from your goals to communicate well on and off the work playing field, it’s important to spend some time clarifying your professional thoughts about working with your romantic partner. Consider what you would do if your significant other is fired, or if there is other serious interoffice strife. If there’s stuff you need to talk about with your partner, find a time to bring it up. Hopefully you’ll never have to deal with such sticky issues. But if you do, you’ll be clear about what’s more important to you—your love life or your career.

Zip your lip. One of the toughest parts about working with your boyfriend is the secrets you’ll have to keep. Think about it—you won’t be able to grab a drink after work and dish about the drama happening behind the office doors. Instead you’ll have to keep your lips sealed. But on the flip side, you also won’t be able to go to work and dish about your romantic issues. Working with your partner requires extra professionalism. It can test your patience, but it’s worth it to keep both sides of your life separate.

I love you—now go away! If you work with your BF, that means you are spending way more time together than the average couple. Try to find ways for both of you to focus on your independence. Keep ties with non–work friends strong, don’t volunteer for all of the same special projects, and keep the socializing with co-workers to a minimum. Make sure you have enough time apart that you’ll enjoy spending time together after hours.