The Idea Behind The Love Contract
Your coworkers can be your friends, your enemies, or people you're apathetic about. However, in some cases, you may find yourself in love with your coworker, and then it turns out that your coworker is in love with you. The coworkers that are romantically involved is an experience you may have seen or have been in. If you live in a small town, they're always the subject of gossip. Even in elite places such as Hollywood, costars end up in love.
Why Couples Fall In Love At Work
Many couples find their love at work, and it's easy to see why. For eight hours a day or so, you must spend your time with your coworkers, and you naturally form a bond with them. You may talk about your lives to pass the time, and after a while, it's discovered that the two of you may have something in common, and you want to go on a date. If the two of you want to work at that location, you may have similar goals and values in mind. Plus, the two of you work the same job during the same hours, most likely, so your schedules and locations are synced, and you two will rarely be apart.
In fact, over 40 percent of workers in the US have dated a coworker. This isn't just an occasional phenomenon, but it's almost half of the reason a couple gets together.
Couples Who Work Together Can Be Good For The Workplace
While the couple who falls in love at work is associated with a ticking time bomb, which we'll get to in a bit, some advantages of working together aren't discussed that much, since we are people who love the negative.
One example is the fact that a couple working together can be more productive. If the couple is happy, their work is in sync, and production may increase. They are going off the same wavelength, after all. If they aren't intruding on other coworkers, it can be fine.
How To Know A Co-Worker Is Interested In You
If you're interested in a coworker, you may wonder how you can find out if the feeling is mutual. Here are a few signs.
- They talk to you and want to spend time together outside of work. If they don't talk to you much outside of work, they may not be interested in you, but if they talk to you as soon as you step outside, there may be feeling.
- They are always looking you in the eye and look eager to talk to you. They smile a lot and have body language that means they like your company. Of course, this may be a sign of friendliness, too.
- Your coworker always wants to work with you. If the two of you can't work together, they may feel upset and not perform as well.
If there are signs, it may be worth asking them out, and if they agree, then awesome. With that said, you should know the risks of workplace romance.
Why It Can Be Bad
Of course, we all know why two coworkers falling in love can be bad for the workplace. First, let's discuss the most obvious reason. If the couple breaks up, it can be awkward. The couple may not live together or see each other outside of work, but they will have to work together, and awkwardness may ensue. Some can separate their personal feelings from their professional lives, while others can't. One may quit their job, try to work on a different schedule or position, or not be as productive as they once were.
Plus, this can lead to gossip and drama in the workplace. Everyone loves to hear the juiciest gossip in the workplace until they're the ones being talked about. Then, it's maddening hearing that you're the subject of snickering. Also, the breakup may impact your coworkers' performance because they're either overly interested in what's going on or feel a little uncomfortable.
Even if the relationship is going great, there's the subject of PDA or public display of affection. The couple shouldn't be making out like teenagers while at work, but some coworkers may feel uncomfortable with hand-holding or just a peck on the cheek.
The size of the company can affect the severity as well. A large company may find it easy to handle a couple whose relationship went sour. They can easily move them around to avoid any conflict. However, a small company may be damaged by the fallout of a relationship.
Finally, there's the more controversial act of trying to get revenge on your partner by getting them fired or trying to take the company down with them. When there's a breakup, an ex may accuse you of sexual harassment or another claim to remove you from work.
To avoid some of the controversies at work, some companies have taken to love contracts to solve the problem.
What Is A Love Contract?
A love contract is an agreement that some companies use to handle a relationship at work. It must be signed by both parties who are in a consensual relationship, and it has quite a few purposes, which we'll get to right now.
A love contract may tell the couple how they can behave while working. As mentioned before, no one likes an overly PDA couple, and a love contract seeks to eliminate this by making the couple sign an agreement.
The love contract may only limit hard PDA or may eliminate it. Make sure the two of you read the contract so you aren't breaking any rules.
The love contract is also designed to take no responsibility for what happens after the relationship ends. In the event of a sexual harassment lawsuit, the love contract proves that the relationship was consensual, and the company took no responsibility for how the relationship ended. Instead, a person independent of the company must be the one who settles any disputes a company has.
Some companies have other ways to prevent responsibility without signing a contract. To some, signing a contract just because you're in a relationship feels like too much, and a company may want to speak to all employees instead of a couple. In cases like these, a company may turn to sexual harassment training to solve this problem.
Sexual harassment training lists the sexual harassment policy and explains that a relationship is not the company's business unless it affects the workplace, which they'll handle. It also explains other policies regarding dating, and it's a good way to prevent anything from happening should the relationship go sour.
A love contract may be a bit controversial for a couple. Some people do not like the idea of signing a contract acknowledging their love, and when presented with a love contract, you should read over its contents and see if there isn't anything that you may find to be a problem. With any contract, you should negotiate if there's a policy you like.
If you aren't an at-will employee, you may be able to refuse to sign it without being fired, but they're still may be consequences. There's a good reason why a company would give you a love contract, but there's a good reason why you may not want to sign it. The point is to come to an agreement that both parties will face.
How To Deal With An Ex Who Is A Co-Worker
If your ex is a coworker, and you must work at the same time and place as them, here are some ways you can survive.
- Be professional. Even though it's hard, you need to treat your ex like another employee. Business comes first, and if there are any personal issues you may have, you need to save them for after-work ends.
- Do not gossip to your friends about your ex. Gossiping, in general, is bad for the workplace, even though most do it, and you should not contribute. If your employees want to know the details of your relationship, ignore them or tell them they're not talking about it. Report them if they won't stop.
- It's possible to repair your relationship, but don't force it. If the two of you are meant to be, then great. However, don't force repair your relationship just for the job.
- If you're still having problems moving on from your relationship, you may want to speak to a professional. A relationship counselor can help repair the relationship between you two or teach the two of you how to be professional. You can learn how to cope and move on from your relationship as well.
Finding love is a great thing, but if love happens to be at work, you should be mindful.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is a love contract in the workplace?
If you are dating a coworker, your employer may want you to sign a love contract. A love contract is an agreement between employees that they are engaged in a consensual, romantic relationship. This love contract highlights the company’s policies regarding sexual harassment and conflict of interest to reduce the chances of having any issues down the road. Love contracts will include workplace conduct, including what is appropriate or inappropriate in the workplace, for example, public displays of affection.
Is a relationship contract legally binding?
A love contract may not always hold up in court, but it will in your human resource department. If you break any of the terms in a love contract, there is potential to receive infractions at work for doing so, including possibly losing your job.
How do you make a love contract?
Your company may require a love contract if you get romantically involved with a coworker. This agreement will need to be signed by both parties. A love contract will typically include relevant policies. It’s important to confirm that the relationship is consensual and voluntary. A love contract should also include the company’s sexual harassment policies and information on inappropriate conduct to assure professionalism. A love contract will also typically include agreements for the behavior if the relationship ends. Some couples today, even outside of the workplace, may consider making love contracts. These can be a great way to strengthen your relationship. Love contracts hold each of you accountable for your own actions. They allow you to have open and honest communication. A love contract can highlight your needs and expectations within the relationship. You can even include consequences for breaking any of the agreements within the contract. Sit down with your partner and talk about your intentions and the important things you’d like to include in a love contract. Love contracts should also be revised regularly, and people and relationships change constantly. They should be adjusted to stay relevant fit your current priorities and needs. Signing love contracts may not seem very romantic, but it could actually be a very romantic gesture and promise to one another.
Can you write a contract yourself?
When it comes to workplace romances, your human resource department usually has a policy. Some companies may already have a compulsory love contract that the couple needs to sign. Other companies want employees to sign a no-fraternizing agreement, which means that they do not condone dating in the workplace. If you find yourself in a romantic relationship with your coworker and are unsure of your companies policy, contact your human resources department. Outside the workplace, some couples have recently taken to the trend of writing love contracts. These may not be legally binding, but love contracts can help outline your expectations in a relationship and hold yourself accountable. By outlining your needs and expectations, you can definitely strengthen and improve your relationship. Love contracts may sound silly, but they could be beneficial to your relationship. If you’d like help or support in your relationship or creating a love contract with your partner, a relationship therapist may be able to help.
What is the difference between agreement and contract?
The terms agreement and contract are often used interchangeably and thought to be the same. However, legally, they are not the same. An agreement is typically an informal understanding between two or more parties. An agreement would not hold up in court. A contract between two or more parties is more specific and has terms and conditions that all parties agree to. If a contract is broken, these terms will be enforceable and could be legally binding. Essentially, a contract is a formal agreement. All contracts are agreements, but not all agreements are contracts.
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