10 Ways to Keep Your Workplace Romance A Secret

When you work together 40, 50, 60 hours a week, there’s bound to be chemistry. A Harris Interactive study found that over half of those polled participated in office romances and 30 percent of those led to marriage. But not all romances are welcomed by the companies. So for those who want to be discrete, how can you keep your romance on the down low?

workplace romance 21. Don’t Go Out of Your Way to Avoid Eye Contact

When you were just rivals or colleagues, you had no problem staring each other down. Now you’re extremely formal and can’t look each other in the eye. Going out of your way to not look each other in the eye is a signal that something’s going on.

2. Don’t Shout Your Alibi

The worst thing you can do is to give yourself an alibi by declaring that you’re going home to catch up on American Idol. The fact that you feel the need to share your evening plans with the rest of the gang loudly and more than a few times makes you look suspicious. Keep your clock out time the same as always.

3. Avoid Overtime All the Time

Money may be tight but if you’re constantly putting in for overtime together, that’s a pretty good indication you value each other’s time even more than normal otherwise would you volunteer so much? It’s a good idea to just be mindful of your overtime partnering and do it when you need to.

4. Fewer Coincidental Meetings

The office may be small but the odds of the two of you meeting in the supply room, on the elevator before lunch, on the elevator after lunch or even in the boardroom closet three times a week for a secret “strategy meeting” can be more than just coincidence. Just because one of you gets up doesn’t mean it’s “alone” time. Try to keep your coincidental meetings to a minimum.

5. Don’t Be So Defensive

Ideas get shot down all the time in meetings. It’s no big deal. But when the idea is your lover’s idea, the sting can be surprisingly agitating and you’ could find yourself pleading his case in a way that’s excessive. Remember that he’s a professional just like you and can stand up for himself. Your passionate defense may a heavy tip off and could even undermine his position.

6. Beware of Matching Sick Days

Again, it’s about those coincidences outside of work. If you’re both sick at the same time once, that’s fine. Twice? That’s strange. Three times or more? It’s either you call in the CDC or you two are getting “sick” together. Manage your sick days well because abusing them could become an HR issue.

7. Secure Vacation Photos

You both used to have some great vacation photos on Flickr or Facebook to share but since your coworkers are now Facebook friends, your vacation photos are non-existent and when asked about your vacation, neither of you gives details despite match tans. If you have vacation photos to share online, make sure you restrict vacation photo access or just skip online posting completely.

8. Be Careful of Pronouns

Having similar tastes is great but when you have suddenly take on a love of bluegrass from this one artist who happens to be the same artist she loves and you’re talking about a bluegrass concert you went to using the words “we” and “us,” that’s a clue. Be careful of your pronouns and about displaying your bluegrass concert poster.

9. Separate Cars

Carpooling is a great way to be environmentally conscious but when your coworkers know you live on opposite sides of town and come in together most mornings, it’s hard to explain away. To avoid conversation, make sure you come in separate vehicles, even if you’re not in separate houses.

10. Keep Up at Work

Being in love is a heady experience but when you’re so busy being in love that you fall behind, that’s when it becomes a work problem. Keep up with your deadlines so that no one has any cause to ask questions.

Readers Bureau, Contributor