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While dating at work is discouraged by offices, spending more than half of your day with the same people can help forge some deep connections. According to a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, out of 7,780 American workers, 38% have dated a co-worker and 31% of these people ended up being married to a coworker.

The high percentage of people having serious relationships at work could be due to a few reasons; working in the same field, they understand each other’s challenges and the significance of their achievements. Being able to relate to an individual so well is an important ingredient in any relationship. Studies have suggested that spouses who meet through work tend to have longer marriages than most. Spending so much time with each other can also help maintain strong connections in the fast-paced world we live in.

That being said, it is important for these couples to discuss how their dynamics change post marriage, especially if they do not work at the same level in the hierarchy of their organization. Many couples choose to have one partner transferred to a different department or to avoid working directly together on too many projects to avoid conflict. When working closely together is unavoidable, it is important to maintain a professional distance while at work. This not only affects one’s objectivity but also impacts how your co-workers perceive you. Avoiding inside jokes, nicknames, and public displays of affection allow for a more inclusive work environment. When one partner is in a superior position to the other, and decisions about their career need to be made, it is important for the person making the decision to rely on their co-workers. This helps eliminate favouritism. It is equally important for the partner in a subordinate position to be understanding and accepting of the decision made, trusting that your partner did the best they could in a professional capacity.

It is also important to make decisions early on regarding both partners’ priorities. Being on the same page about whether work or family comes first is crucial to the success of a workplace marriage. Speaking of early decisions, it is vital that the partners set ground rules for how they will conduct themselves if the relationship goes south. While it is not always easy to adhere to these rules if the relationship does end, having decided to maintain professional boundaries or not display ill feelings towards each other can encourage the partners to be cordial, if not friendly, at work.

Individuals in workplace marriages also understand their spouse’s commitment to their work. This can prevent traditional problems related to establishing a healthy work-life balance as long as both individuals keep each other in check. Reminding each other to have a life outside work and to keep personal lives as separate as possible from their professional ones can help maintain a healthy relationship.

With so many factors to keep in mind, it might do the relationship well if the couple is proactive and seek out a relationship therapist early on. This can help the couple establish the required boundaries and stick to them, improving their odds of a happy married and professional life.

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By Dr Rachna Khanna Singh

Dr Rachna Khanna Singh, the Senior Fellow with DRaS is a Mental Wellness Expert, a TEDx Talk speaker, focused on Relationship, Lifestyle & Stress Management. She heads the Department of Holistic Medicine & Wellness at Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon and the Founder and Director of The Mind & Wellness Studio, Delhi & NGO ‘Serve Samman’. Dr Rachna is a visiting lecturer and faculty member of various esteemed educational institutes worldwide such as IIM, IIT, BITS PILANI, Delhi University, NMIMS, Amity University, Himachal Medical Colleges, University of Exeter, University of Minnesota, Royal College of Physicians, etc.