Happiness in Love

The Love Contract

Jan and Michael on "The Office" signed a love contract

Until now, the only ‘love contract’ I’ve ever heard of is what’s called a ‘marriage license’ in most familiar circles. But because of a rise in workplace sexual harassment, certain employers are having their workers sign documents providing written confirmation that any romantic workplace relationship they engage in is voluntary along with their W-2s. Smart, but it does make love sound like a business transaction.

According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 11,364 charges were filed alleging workplace sexual harassment in 2011. Those numbers aren’t all that surprising, considering the results of a Vault.com survey, which revealed that 59% of all applicants had indulged in a workplace romance at one point or another. Of that number 1/4 had dated a junior, and 18% had dated a boss.

Companies are justified in requesting documentation that will, in effect, save their behinds, but this love contract malarkey might be taking things too far. Most employees are already required to fill out anti-harassment forms. This just sounds like a desperate, legal request forcing those who have loved, lost and broken up to not make things uncomfortable for the rest of the office.

Well, guess what? No matter which way you spin it, life will be uncomfortable if you’ve dated someone you work with (especially a boss/subordinate) and have to see that person every day. You can’t fight nature.You can, however, control your reactions. So even if you feel like making an ex in-office love into your own, real-life voodoo doll, fight the urge to take out your rage in public. Be the bigger person.

Dating someone you work with doesn’t have to be a bad idea, contract or not. If your job consumes you, who’s to say that you shouldn’t become involved with someone you’re seeing on a day to day basis? You may not have the opportunity or time to focus on meeting someone outside of the office.

Only you will know what feels right, and what will make you happy in the long run. Just remember: if you sign that love contract, you’re legally bound. Not ’til death do you part, but to do the right thing and act like a grown-up in office.

You can handle that, right? If not, it’s time to grab the legal pad and start taking notes.


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About the Author: Laura Schreffler is a former New York Daily News columnist who left the world of celebrity behind to focus on what makes her happiest — love and travel. She is the creator of LoveTrekker.com — a website devoted to these two passions that she fondly calls “looking for love in all the right places.” In her spare time she likes to play matchmaker for her friends, dream about her next vacation and gaze at photographs of Taylor Kitsch. For more advice on love, relationships, and happiness, check out http://lovetrekker.com & her book "Internet Dating 101". And follow her here at Happiness Series with her weekly blog about finding love.