Confessions From The Cubicles

Given our workaholic nation, more and more people meet on the job. Here, we share the juiciest tales of office romance you’ll ever hear!

By Lisa Lombardi

K, so in a perfect world, you wouldn't mix your work and love lives. But in the real world? It’s practically inevitable. You work late with these people, hit happy hour together, overdo the eggnog at the company holiday party, and—thanks to today’s open office plans—overhear every intimate conversation. Sooner or later you may well hook up... but then what? Will that late-night tryst end in marriage? Or will someone be looking for her bra in the break room the next day? Read on to see how real-life coworkers tempted fate.

The Highs of Office Romance…

From Boss to Bride
“I did the ultimate taboo thing: I dated a guy who worked for me. It started when Nick emailed me under the pretense of needing real-estate advice; I seized the day and suggested drinks. We had a great time and went out again and again.
“We do kiss in the elevator when we go on our Starbucks run: 22 floors gives us about 30 seconds alone.”
Nothing happened, though, so I wasn’t positive he felt the way I did. But I also suspected he’d never make a move on his boss, so one night I just blurted out, ‘Is this a date or what?’ There was dead silence and I wanted to hide under the table. I thought, ‘I am definitely going to get sued for sexual harassment.’ But then he practically yelled back, ‘Yes!’ Soon Nick got a great new job, and so did I. Now we’re married and have a baby. Going in, I knew it was a risky career move, but I also knew that good jobs are out there but amazing guys are one in a million.”
—Christine Henry, 36, Los Angeles, CA

Love in the Elevator
“On my first day of my new job, I chose a seat next to a cute guy listening to an iPod. Every time I asked him a question, he had to take his headphones off. Soon, he stopped bringing the iPod, and we talked constantly. We discovered that we lived two blocks from each other, and started hanging out on the weekends. I thought he just liked me as a work friend, but one night he dropped by my apartment with a coffee cake he had made for me. That’s when I knew he liked me liked me. Finally, one day we kissed... and kissed—but not at work! We’re careful not to stand too close at the office, but we do kiss in the elevator when we go on our Starbucks run: 22 floors gives us about 30 seconds alone.”
—Alex Ryan, 28, Chicago, IL

Caught in the Act
“My office romance got off to a bumpy start... but ended well. When things began between us, my guy was a co-worker who’d just gotten divorced, and I helped him through, as a friend. Even when our relationship was completely innocent, people at work started speculating about us. One day while having drinks after work, he kissed me. Once we became involved, the gossip was already in full-swing, so trying to keep our romance secret seemed futile. The low point was when we were caught fooling around — in his office — by the receptionist. Ouch! Eventually, I found another place to work, and we’re married now. The awkward times sure were worth it!”
—Beth Gissinger, 35, Avon, MA

And Lows…

Office Party Oh-No!
“After making the big mistake of hooking up with a co-worker at the previous year’s holiday bash, I vowed to keep a low profile at the next one. But somewhere between my fifth and sixth drink, I made a new, um, friend. And soon the dirty dancing began. So did the roaming Polaroid cameras. The rest is a blur of bad dancing, sloppy kissing, and flashing lights. The morning after,
“Soon the dirty dancing began. So did the roaming Polaroid cameras. The rest is a blur…”
I planned to make my way to the office with my head held high. That was, until I found a Polaroid of some guy I didn’t recognize kissing my cheek while I made a big wine-stained grin. I had somehow managed to wipe him from my memory entirely, but my co-workers ran with it. Three years later, my dance-floor makeout session still comes up.
—Erin McKay, 30, New York, NY

“I moved to New York from Georgia and took a job as receptionist. My boss was the CFO, 30, and really hot. Right after I started, he and a bunch of people from work took me out for my 21st birthday. They kept buying me shots, and my last memory was saying to him, ‘We should sleep together once I leave the company.’ After that, things got flirty real fast. We started dating in secret. Finally, after a year, I decided to leave the company so our relationship could finally be out in the open. But once I did, he started acting weird. Within two months he was engaged—to a woman from our marketing department. I learned a real lesson about dating co-workers after that one!”
—Ali Ludlow, 31, Brooklyn, NY

Lisa Lombardi is a New York-based writer and editor. Her work has appeared in Redbook, Marie Claire, and other magazines.
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