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Dating the boss

(47 Posts)
Fucketyfuck Wed 13-Nov-13 21:19:46

Ive been at my workplace just over a year and have always got on with all my colleagues including my boss. Over the past 6 months we have been spending more time together and have started seeing each other outside work. It's great, he's a fun, kind, sensitive guy and treats me really well. The issue is us working together. We work in a large company and there is a lot of inter-office romance but not usually between people and their bosses.
So far all our dates have been at each others houses or far away so we aren't seen by people from work, but I am getting a bit fed up of this. 6 months in and I feel it is ok to say we are dating but he is convinced that is unacceptable and that he will get sacked... Or forced into leaving. I have looked through all the HR policies and there is nothing about that in there. We both really like our jobs and don't want to look for anything else as what we do is quite specialised.
I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to do. I don't want to stop seeing him but I also don't see how this can continue indefinitely. He says he doesn't want it to and wants to be able to live normally but he won't put a date on when he tells his boss as he says he has to be prepared that he will be asked to leave our company.
My friends think he is being ridiculous and that people get together at work all the time but he says that it's different because he's my boss and people will start accusing him of favouring me. FWIW I am well respected at work and although I know people will gossip if and when they find out we are together, I don't really care! I am entitled to a private life and am well known for working my butt off at my professional one.

Advice please ladies!!

justmuddlingalong Wed 13-Nov-13 21:25:52

So does no-one from work know at all?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 13-Nov-13 21:26:21

I'm pretty sure that legally there is no barrier to couples working with/for each other in an organisation. However, organisations sometimes operate their own internal rules in order to get around the possibilities of favouritism accusations or confidences being breached. Dismissal is unlikely, therefore, but you may be reassigned to a different team.

cornflakegirl Wed 13-Nov-13 21:29:33

Wouldn't be allowed where I work - do you really not have a "close working" policy? Thought they were pretty standard.

Fucketyfuck Wed 13-Nov-13 21:37:21

No - nobody from work knows at all. Infact hardly any people know! (to minimise the risk of people at work finding out).

cogito that's exactly what I told him would happen. I am pretty confident the company would want to keep us both.

I don't want to stat giving ultimatums but this can't really go on can it??.. I'm also aware the relationship isn't totally REAL till its in the real world and don't want to waste my time if it turns out he's not for me in the real world! however I have fallen for him in a big way and don't want to call time on things just yet.

Fucketyfuck Wed 13-Nov-13 21:38:57

cornflake I haven't heard of a 'closeworking' policy. I have been through a big long list of policies on the intranet but cant see anything of relevance.

Leverette Wed 13-Nov-13 21:41:30

The fact that he's your boss creates a conflict of interest with regard to line managing you in a fair and equitable way alongside your peers. The vast majority of companies would not allow this.

WallyBantersJunkBox Wed 13-Nov-13 21:42:34

So what happens if he gives you a crap appraisal, op?

Leverette Wed 13-Nov-13 21:43:21
Fucketyfuck Wed 13-Nov-13 21:44:21

If I deserved it I think I could take it!

Fucketyfuck Wed 13-Nov-13 21:46:05

Leverette - what you say makes sense.
But if he went to his boss and told him he wouldn't get sacked would he?
Surely it would be a "this is happening and here are some ideas about what we can do" conversation (I.e. one of us move to a different role?). I really like this guy a lot but don't want to leave my job for him given that our relationship so far has operated in a very limited sphere.

Fucketyfuck Wed 13-Nov-13 21:48:07

Thanks for the link leverette. It all makes sense but I still don't think we could be forced to leave our jobs could we? Wouldn't it be down to us both, with HR to find an appropriate solution.

Auntidote Wed 13-Nov-13 21:48:26

Think he might not be able to be your manager, but why would he have to leave? Can't you both stay but just shuffle around management responsibility?

I don't know that there's anything in our work policies about this, but in practice it would be fine if colleagues got together (there's plenty of it), but they couldn't be immediate boss. Did work with a couple once where Mrs managed Mr's manager. Think that was about as close as it could go.

Teeb Wed 13-Nov-13 21:49:06

You say it's a big company, would it be possible for one of you to move sideways to a different department so he wasn't your direct boss? If that's an option then it's probably what would be the best for all parties involved.

justmuddlingalong Wed 13-Nov-13 21:49:26

Have you met his family or friends outwith work?

WallyBantersJunkBox Wed 13-Nov-13 21:50:58

There is just too much conflict of interest here - what if you got a great appraisal and everyone on the team got a crap one?

You could be the best employee in the company on your own merit but it wouldn't stop bitter and twisted people from feeling jealous that you have an advantageous position.

There are a few couples in my workplace and it is quite awkward when you are in a meeting with them.

After 6 months you must know whether it will be long term or not. If it is, I am very surprised as a manager, that he hasn't had a chat with HR about this.

TheFantasticFixit Wed 13-Nov-13 21:54:26

In my organisation, we have a close working policy which means that should you have a relationship with a colleague you should expect to not only be moved teams, but also office location. It's pretty tough and although the most heavy handed I've seen it's not unusual. I think you would find your fellow team mates would have concerns ie nepotism, and what if you break up? It could and in my experience, would make working together very difficult.

Can either of you volunteer to move teams before the cat is out if the bag, if that's the most reasonable expectation anyway?

FortyFacedFuckers Wed 13-Nov-13 21:57:51

I got together with my boss, officially nothing was said but it made it pretty awkward when we eventually told everyone and after a year i felt I had to move on. No advice but I do think even if there is nothing officially stopping you one of you need to be willing to move on if things get difficult.

EdithWeston Wed 13-Nov-13 22:03:36

In my organisation, known couples (and relatives) were not allowed to line manage each other. Relationships were meant to be declared, and then roles would be reassigned so there could be no input from one lover to another over things like promotions, pay rises or appraisals.

Much better to keep sex and business separate, and easily achievable, unless your company is tiny.

Alanna1 Wed 13-Nov-13 22:08:09

Even worse if it gets found out - and bet it does. Offices love gossip. I think you need to ask to be line managed by someone else - even if you both decide to keep it secret (which I don't think you should do).

FWIW, my best friend dated her boss when she was the intern(!) - smallish company, he was a director; they are now married with 3 kids; she got him to leave the company when it was discovered! To be fair he was easily able to move and was ready to do so, and she had struggled to get her foot in a door and it was a great opportunity for her to be there. She now earns more than him too before anyone suggests she took advantage in any way - and he went on to a much better job. So who knows how it might work out for you.

EBearhug Thu 14-Nov-13 01:31:40

We're not allowed to have relationships with someone at a different level in the same reporting line. I've also worked for a company where those in the audit department weren't allowed relationships with anyone in the company, though other departments didn't have such tight restrictions.

If one of you can move departments, you should, to remove the risk of accusations over fairness around performance reviews and so on.

(I went out with a guy on the same level as me in the same department for some years. We were in different countries, though.)

deXavia Thu 14-Nov-13 01:42:37

Wouldn't be allowed where I work, one of you would be expected to move roles. It's as much to stop accusations of favoritism as to stop actual favoritism - if you see what I mean. I would look for one of you to move role before 'coming out' but suspect you'll still find you'll get about of a back lash. Sorry just the way people/office gossips are

bragmatic Thu 14-Nov-13 01:42:39

At a minimum there is a perceived conflict of interest so I think you should proceed with caution.

Isetan Thu 14-Nov-13 04:42:49

Your'e both being naive here. Him trying to keep it secret indefinitely and you thinking that there would be no consequences in going public while remaining in the same roles.

If you want to go public then he can not have direct managerial responsibility over you.

CuntyBunty Thu 14-Nov-13 04:48:43

You could "out" the relationship?

TheDoctrineOfWho Thu 14-Nov-13 04:54:47

I've seen this happen in a small company between the CEO and a department head; another director became responsible for her appraisals etc. that meant there was someone else to listen to any staff concerns about her.

Lavenderhoney Thu 14-Nov-13 06:53:25

Maybe its time for a talk about if he sees the relationship as going somewhere, ie towards living together, marriage and dc if that's what you want.

If he faffs about and doesn't want to go for it, and says " wait another 6 months" i would finish it before it gets difficult at work.

If he says he wants to get moving on the relationship with you, then he needs to speak to his boss, and frankly you do as well. Why should he and his boss discuss and make plans for your career in the company?

Think what you would like to do in the company and suggest it, or he does. Are there internal vacancies?

It sounds like an affair, all this secrecy. What about the Christmas do? Won't that be awkward? And taking holidays at the same time?

mameulah Thu 14-Nov-13 07:02:59

If you don't mind me asking, how old are you both?

Fucketyfuck Thu 14-Nov-13 07:11:40

He's 40 and I am 35.
We agreed to talk about it this weekend and the thoughts on this thread were very helpful so thank you.
I think it will be a tricky conversation as we both want to move the relationship on but neither of us will WANT to move jobs. Although I think we'd both be willing too IYSWIM. I'm conscious I don't want that to cause resentment though. We will have to talk about it all.

mameulah Thu 14-Nov-13 07:28:41

I have learned that it is important to be really specific when talking to men. So from the outset of your conversation with him I would say that this conversation is about resolving the secrecy problem and has nothing to do with wanting to split up. That way you take the 'splitting up' part off the table and hopefully stop either you feeling threatened or vulnerable. You could always say ' I right in thinking that this conversation is about resolving the secrecy issue and neither of us want this conversation to be about splitting up?'

Then, LISTEN and get him to do the talking. But don't let him off the hook.

Or, and this is what I have learned over the last couple of years. Sometimes men don't seem to want to officially resolve the issue and for them it is all about filtering things out. IYSWIM? Maybe totally change tact. Invite him to a family get together. Just slowly and ever so casually take the secret out of the relationship by changing how you spend your time together. With Christmas coming up I am sure there are heaps of opportunities there wouldn't otherwise be. Men don't always want an official answer. That might be your compromise. Just let the relationship 'out' itself.

You are obviously a strong minded and sensible person with a good professional reputation. I can imagine letting things slowly filter out is not your style, and you would rather have more control and just get on with it. Like I say, in my experience over the last couple of years, men don't seem to do that. Well, mine doesn't anyway!

Good luck. Hold on to him. He sounds lovely. And so do you!

Lazyjaney Thu 14-Nov-13 08:07:55

OP is being (willingly?) naive in thinking there will be no impact on him or her. The necks of bottles get narrow so there is probably no other position in the business for him, so she will be the one who has to move. Depending on the company culture he may know his enemies can take him on this.

This is not just a simple declaration of a relationship and sunshine and roses appear. Beware of what you wish for

angeltulips Thu 14-Nov-13 08:15:28

I think you are, naively, looking at this the wrong way. You are focused on telling people to make it "real" - IMO you are doing yourself real professional damage every day you do not disclose (in confidence) the relationship to someone who can monitor it.

You need someone at work (HR or another senior individual) monitoring your performance and how you and your DP work together. Otherwise you are just storing up problems down the track. Especially given you are the junior person in this relationship - all the speculation and gossip will stick to you when the chips are down.

If nothing else, you need to protect yourself in the event of a breakup.

Tell your dp that you respect his wishes re keeping the relationship quiet at work, but you are going to tell hr in confidence this week. And then do it.

(Before you think I'm being overly dramatic, I was in this exact situation - DH and I are now married, and DID keep it secret but I wouldn't have continued without disclosure to a trusted individual - DH was monitored to make sure he left the room during my pay discussions etc.)

Privatebanker Thu 14-Nov-13 09:28:05

All good advice here. But-- you are also being naive to think no one knows already. Other people (i.e colleagues) can keep "poker faces" too. I've worked in various settings where relationships are a well known secret IYSWIM.

TheDoctrineOfWho Thu 14-Nov-13 09:29:31

I actually think he will be in more trouble than you, professionally, so he needs to think about that.

I think it's a good idea to go together to HR for advice.

Fucketyfuck Fri 27-Dec-13 18:09:59

Still in the same situation here!

We are still seeing each other although it is still very cloak and dagger. We go on weekends away together and to each others homes but not out much in public locally. We have met some of each others friends.

I have made it clear I want to tell HR/our boss at work. He doesn't. He wants to get another job and says that is the way to resolve it. He is worried about his career if he gets moved from his current post into a duff job and is concerned about being seen as a problem for the company.

Some of the time I feel like an OW. I hate that.

I don't know why I am posting this really, just feel like I am a bit stuck between saying "we need to stop seeing each other" or going along with it how it is. I don't feel it's right to tell HR if he doesn't want to. I guess I know I will be treated differently by colleagues once it is all out.

DistanceCall Fri 27-Dec-13 18:46:31

Well, finding another job is a way of solving the problem, yes. Is he moving in that direction?

WinterBlondie83 Fri 27-Dec-13 18:53:21

Hi there,

I think you need to start initiating some change if you are starting to feel like an OW. Tbh, I can understand why you'd feel like that because when you start to fall in love with someone, you kind of want to share that!!!

Does he have any idea that you are starting to feel like shit about this? (Eg you feeling like something that's kept under wraps).

If he knew you were considering ending things because of how this is starting to make you feel, do you think he would reconsider?

When he says he wants to get another job, is the actively looking for one?

Big hugs! X

itwillgetbettersoon Fri 27-Dec-13 19:04:32

At our office meal someone mentioned that x was having an affair with y and y had left his wife. I'm not joking but 90% of the staff round the table already knew but had kept it quiet. I knew but played along that I didn't - it was quite amusing in a gossipy way. So don't for one minute imagine that no one at work knows ..... They are just being discrete.

Blushingm Fri 27-Dec-13 19:33:32

Where I work we've had loads of people get together - some have got married, some were just casual/ons. I think it happens in a lot of work places considering you spend so much of your life at work.

He could be worried about reputations, could you move sideways so he's not your immediate boss?

Or there could be more to it - you'll need to discuss it all with him

Wishyouwould Fri 27-Dec-13 19:36:30

Hi OP. As above poster said I wouldn't be at all surprised if some people already suspected. When my friend and her colleague announced that they were an item 90% of their workmates nodded and said 'we know'. I feel for you, can't be an easy situation.

U Sure he isn't married just agreeing with the person who has said have u met family and friends outside of work. Check now before its to late. why else would someone be so funny about things if your policies are ok?....

ToffeeOwnsTheSausage Fri 27-Dec-13 19:53:57

Ridiculous to "out" the relationship without discussing it first hmm.

I think this has been made all out of proportion. You could just be together and if people notice, deal with it. Or go and tell your bosses and see if there is an issue. There might not be. I would be questioning why he is so determined to hide the fact he is with you tbh.

Fucketyfuck Fri 27-Dec-13 20:32:07

He's in the process of divorcing. I know he's truthful about the relationship with his ex (I see texts, he takes her calls sometimes when we are together etc) so no worries there. He does say he's nervous about how she will react when she finds out he's with someone else as he isn't yet divorced but he also says that isn't the main reason.

He is also in the process of moving from the family home (she moved out initially) and I know is worried about what would happen financially if he lost his job.

He just says he is really worried that the company will see him as a problem, that one of us might be moved sideways into a duff role or that he'll be 'let go' which will cause him massive financial problems. I am aware they probably can't sack him for that but he says he doesn't want to end up in a conversation of "you can't sack me" and playing the rules vs HR. I am the most senior person in the team next to him and he's worried people will think he has favoured me. I think the only way to get round this is to be honest about the relationship and then no one can say anything like that! I know I am well thought of at work so I'm not worried about that.

He hired me on a very good deal and he is worried people will think he did that cause he had feelings for me. I think that's ridiculous and have asked if senior people rate me and he says they all do and of course had to sign off my terms.

He does know how I feel and hates it. I feel however that he is the only one with capacity to change it. He's asked me to trust him and said he is looking for another job internally and externally.

He is happy to be going out more together and has started saying "if we are seen then we're seen" - I just think id prefer a more pro active approach!

Thymeout Fri 27-Dec-13 20:48:47

One of my female colleagues was having an affair with the head of our dept. Both were single. There was nothing 'wrong' as far as the outside world was concerned, but it made for a lot of difficulties at work.

Some of us suspected what was going on and were very careful about what we said to her as we knew it would get back to our boss. We felt bad about not telling the others, who continued to speak freely, but we only had our suspicions to go on.

We were also well aware that there were occasions when she did seem to be favoured in the allocation of work or decisions being made that were to her advantage. This may have happened anyway but we did feel resentful, especially at annual reviews. She became increasingly isolated from the team.

There is no doubt that what you are doing is bad working practice, even if there is no policy about it, which would be surprising in a large company. Your bf is right. The management will consider it an issue that needs addressing. The longer you leave it, the worse it will be because it will look dishonest that you have not been upfront about it.

Don't know what they will do, but I doubt very much if you will be allowed to continue in your present roles.

WarmFuzzyFuture Fri 27-Dec-13 21:12:19

I think you OP need to slow things down a little bit. Yes you are in a relationship, but it's a complicated one. Your partner is right in thinking that him finding another job is the best was to go. .

He needs to find a new job, leave, and let his divorce get sorted. I think if you go public too soon your partner is highly at risk of repercussions that you are not really giving serious consideration.


Sevillemarmalade Fri 27-Dec-13 22:15:54

Hi OP - I'm with WarmFuzzy on this - let him get sorted before going public. Work relationships are common and worrying about that could be a red herring; it might all be fine (and as others have said, people may know already). How far along is divorce process? Are there other issues like finances or children to consider? Your relationship needs to be in a better place if you are feeling like an OW. Have a chat about things with new man and make sure he knows how you're feeling. Good luck with it all x

MillyChristmas Sat 28-Dec-13 12:47:53

Your last post set off a little alarm to me. He is getting divorced and doesn't seem to want to upset his wife. shock You are kept a secret. You only hear what is said between them from his side and when you are there. Could he still be having some type of sexual relationship with his wife and he is hoping to get back with her? You are definately been treated like an OW ?

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