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Ask Cathy
Looking for a Husband
In an Office Romance

Q. I admit it. I am looking for a husband.

To me getting the right person to spend my life with is more important than anything else - including my career.

The magazines say don't get into office romances but to me, that is the best place to meet men and see what they are like in various situations. What do you think?

Dear Looking for a Husband,

There is nothing wrong with putting the importance of finding your life partner above the advancement of your career, if that is your priority.

Many women would counsel, however, that you should not let the way you find your life partner sabotage your own career.

The reason why office romances are discouraged is because they are not only a distraction, but they can cause friction with other employees. I have been in many situations where the woman who partook in an office romance was the one asked to leave her employment, whilst her male counterpart remained safely employed.

It is also next to impossible to work in certain smaller environments when two people are relating openly in a way that is intimate. So, the etiquette about avoiding office romances is a good one for women because it brings with it a certain danger of losing your job.

I do sympathize, however, because seeing how a potential partner acts and treats people at work and how he performs his job are sometimes tell-tale signs of his character and work ethic.

I also have witnessed colleagues who were able to work side-by-side and not let their intimacy affect the employment environment, but that is very rare. Somehow, we need to find and judge a partner in the right setting, but perhaps not the employment setting.

I do not know what you do for a living, or if you are dependent on your employment income. If you are so dependent, then you will need to be very wary of office romances that put your job truly at risk.

If your employment means you can socialize with similarly-situated males and females outside your office through a professional organization or a softball league, etc., try to meet a real mate that way. Talk to his colleagues about how he is at work and learn about him indirectly; not as good as first hand, perhaps, but it is safer.

Overall, while I know it is easy to seek an attractive mate in the place where you spend the most time and can assess workplace behavior, it is a dangerous practice for a women who is financially dependent on her job.

Also, I just raise the question, do you think you get a true look at someone in the workplace where they have to behave at their very best? I wonder whether seeing how your man relates in a social group on a team or out with peers, might give you a clearer view; just a thought.

Good luck.

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Cathy Horton-Panzica

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