ask the readers: when workplace romance goes horribly wrong

It’s Valentine’s Day, so it’s time to amuse us with your real-life stories of workplace romances gone wrong — yours or other people’s. Sweet, romantic stories related to work are also acceptable, but embarrassing disasters are always the best.

Share away in the comments…

{ 1,122 comments… read them below }

    1. Sadsack*

      I met my current partner at work 17 years ago and we have been together for 14 years! I also met my prior partner at work, but that relationship was not good and obviously didn’t last. I don’t really have any interesting stories to tell though.

    2. Lemon Zinger*

      My boyfriend and I met at work! He was the only good thing about a truly terrible job, and I got out of there as fast as I could.

      1. AnonAnalyst*

        Same here! I met my partner at work 11 years ago. I only lasted in that job for 3 months and we started dating immediately after I left. At least one good thing came out of that job!

        1. Anon in love*

          Same with us! Neither of us could stand the place longer than four months, but we met each other and now happily married for five years.

    3. kk*

      met my finance at work! it’s been 6 happy years. the best part about working at the same place is sharing in work gossip and not having to explain who anyone is.

    4. Fiona the Lurker*

      Met both of my husbands at work – albeit different workplaces! I was married to the first for twelve years and have now been married to the second for more than 28.

      1. Zooey*

        How are people meeting multiple life partners at work, yet the closest I’ve ever come to an office romance is a creepy janitor making me a mixtape. It wasn’t even good.

        Where do you guys work and are you hiring??

        1. AnotherAlison*

          There are a lot of married couples here. The odds are good if you’re a young woman at a big engineering firm.

            1. Sputnik*

              Here I was trying to parse whether you meant “queer female software developer who isn’t seeing anyone” or “the only queer female software developer” and then I realized it could easily be both.


              1. Tau*

                I meant the first, but come to think of it – it’s both. In fact, arguably right now it’s “the only female software developer”, sexual orientation notwithstanding.

                …agreed on the sigh!

          1. alter_ego*

            And yet last week was the 6 year anniversary of my singledom (female electrical engineer) ::sobs::

          2. Squeegee Beckenheim*

            I’m a young woman at a medium engineering firm and all of my male coworkers are married, even the young ones. It’s weird being the only single person in an entire department.

        2. LloydBraun*

          I was doing a breathing treatment for asthma when I read this and about started another coughing fit. Worth it.

          Enjoy that mixed tape today!!

          1. Zooey*

            It was actually a link to a Soundcloud track he wrote out on a piece of paper. I went to the link and was horrified to find out his rapper name was like “Big P*ssy King” or something. He is a middle-aged dude with like 3 kids.

            1. Mookie*

              It was actually a link to a Soundcloud track he wrote out on a piece of paper

              I feel like people are focusing on the pussy too much (he’s a crazy cat janitor, yeah?) and not enough on how amazing this part is.

              I literally remember having to do this in grammar school, like, writing out the full geocities address so my classmates who had interweb access could read my dumb poetry.

              1. calibrachoa*

                hoo boy, this story is pretty long tbh.

                Short version, about a decade ago back in the days of LJ there was a site where you could see where people were accessing lj from – and dude was seeing who from our company was doing it. and my profile was interesting.

                Dude left a lot of creepy comments on lj, literally *followed me around when I was on a date with someone else and I had no idea* and then made comments about how I would have looked so hot if i’d worn fetish gear, the works. I had no idea who he was at this time – just that he worked at our company.

                Fast forward a couple of years, I’d actually met him face to face by then when he came to our building a few times and things had chilled considerably. My ex assaulted me. Stalker Guy ended up meeting up with me and lending me money to make sure i got through the aftermath and being super supportive and reassuring, more so than most of my friends, most of who took my ex’s side and decided I was a lying *insert slur here*

                … there is a bit more to it too but suffice to say nothing ever happened between us and although I was young and naive I was fully legal even if i had the self preservation instinct of a lemming.

        3. Audiophile*

          Ah the days of mix tapes. I do remember making a few and being given a few.

          But I think I can one up you a bit and say my grade school “boyfriend” and I used to call each other on our house phones and play different songs from the radio. Our parents were not thrilled about the increase in their phone bills.

        4. Jorgios the Greek*

          My then-spouse got a cd from a coworker that I thought was obsessed with her, got mad at me for teasing her about him making her a mix tape… they are married now…

    5. Hermione*

      I met my SO of 7 years at his place of work… but he worked at a funeral home at the time. “So how did you two meet?” is my least favorite getting-to-know-me question, because it just stops the conversation dead every. single. time. (pun unavoidable).

      1. Kalkin*

        I got remarried last year to a marital therapist. It’s a lot of fun to watch the wheels spin when people try to figure out if she was counseling me and my first wife. (She was not.)

          1. Appalled*

            Marrying a marriage counselor or therapist? Totally inappropriate and against legal ethics. Even if the therapy is over.

    6. Cath in Canada*

      My parents met at work 45 years ago and are still together. Workplace romance is why my sister and I exist! Although I really don’t think my Dad should have asked my Mum out at a school dance, in front of all their students…

      1. Paige Turner*

        Haha awkward! My parents met at work as well, so I owe a debt to J.C. Penney, even though I rarely shop there :)

    7. KG, Ph.D.*

      I met my husband in grad school, but we were working in labs…so technically at work? We’ve been together 5 years and got married last July. I had dated a different classmate/coworker previously, which was an epic disaster, so I’ve seen the full range of possibilities…ha!

      1. Julia*

        I met mine when I was a first year master’s student working as a very low-key teaching assistant (as in no grading ever) and he was a senior and the only student who ever showed up to class.

          1. Anonymoose*

            Wait, that might not have been clear. Because he was committed to attending everyday despite the grade….well, oh forget it.

            *step away from the lame-joke-inducing coffee*

    8. introvert*

      I met my best friend at work, and then 11 years later I married her cousin. So kinda relevant I guess?

    9. Witty Nickname*

      Met my husband at work 16 years ago, and we’ve been married for going on 11 years. I know several other couples who met here (and most of whom are both still working here).

      I’ve also seen quite a few work relationships implode (nothing really storyworthy, just general drama).

    10. Liane*

      They didn’t meet at work, but my late (and much missed) in-laws worked for the same Federal agency for some years before retirement. The didn’t work together at the agency, I think they were in separate states for a while, even. They had a long 50+ year marriage and loved each other a lot. They passed away exactly 13 months apart and I still believe Mom died of a broken heart.

    11. periwinkle*

      16th wedding anniversary is tomorrow – we were co-workers. Another co-worker played matchmaker. We are grateful for her meddling!

    12. Unofficial Front of the House Manager*

      My aunt and uncle met at work! They’ve been married since 1993 and are totally #relationshipgoals. :)

      I, otoh, am trying to get past an embarrassingly intense yearlong crush I’ve had on one of our regulars. (He’s just so cute and we talk about politics when he comes in and I get all googly eyed when I see him and oh lord, am I really 37 years old?!?!?)

        1. Anonymoose*

          Truth. And thank goodness for that because butterflies are the best part about attraction, I think.

    13. calibrachoa*

      I have yet to date a coworker thanks to the fact that at work is where my parents met… when my dad was married to someone else: By the time I came around, they were both married to other people, although no longer working together, so I am biased against this :P

      1. Anonymoose*

        So what happens if the love of your life walks into work tomorrow with your TPS reports? You’re just gonna shrug ’em off? ;)

        ps. I can’t imagine how that first preggo talk with your step father went (are they still together?). Seems like a pretty cool dude since they continued on.

        1. calibrachoa*

          Well since my girlfriend doesn’t work here….. :p

          Put it this way; when my parents first met, it resulted in my sister. Ten years later, my mother was separated from her abusive douchecanoe of a husband and I happened. Due to legalities in my home country i had his last name, but as far as I know i never even met him before he was stabbed to death by someone else he was abusing, so… yeah. Oops.
          All the while my dad stayed married to his wife and gaslighted the hell out of her; as far as I know my sister and I have at least one more sibling outside his marriage in a different country, and that is not counting anyone he may have fathered when he was a sailor back in the 1950s.
          … My dad was a cut-rate Don Draper wannabe.

    14. AnonForThisOne*

      Met my first husband at Blockbuster Video, circa 1992. (THAT place was a HOTBED of romantic intrigue!)

      Divorced 10 years later (amicably).

      Met my second husband at work. Together 13 years in May, married for 6 years. :)

    15. CAA*

      I met my husband while we both worked at the college dining commons. We’ve got our 30th anniversary coming up, and we are still friends with two other married couples who worked with us there.

    16. Relly*

      Mom and Dad met at work, or at least, because of work. Mom worked as in the front office, and Dad worked out in the factory, so they didn’t technically see each other. Dad’s older brother also worked at the factory, but his job involved communicating frequently with the front office. My uncle befriended the cute secretary, but already had a girlfriend, so he decided to fix her up with his little brother.

      They’ve been happily married for forty years.

  1. Stephanie*

    Eh, nothing major from past jobs. I worked at an airport facility and two coworkers were dating. They broke up and one quit and I remember my then-boss griping about how much work it was to get the SIDA badge back since Wakeen didn’t want to come in to return it when Lucinda was at work.

    Mostly, I’m commenting to subscribe to read everyone else’s. :)

    1. Audiophile*

      +1 to this.

      My only embarrassing story was when I tried to ask out the cute engineering contractor at one job. I had plans with friends, we were going to chicken restaurant, and asked him if he wanted to come along. His polite way of declining was to tell me he didn’t like chicken or shakes.

      1. Mephyle*

        But… but if it was an engineer, you don’t know whether that was a polite way of declining or if he didn’t want to go because he genuinely didn’t like what was on (culinary) offer.

        1. Mephyle*

          I don’t see, though, how it equates to socially inept. My point is that the type of person who is an engineer is often very literal. I’m not an engineer, but I’m very literal, too. Wait… so many things are making sense now.

          1. The Strand*

            I second this. It’s not ineptness, just a very special way of seeing and communicating about the world.

          2. Finn*

            I’m also very literal, and was especially out of sync with US dating culture after spending some time abroad a few years ago when I met a guy while waiting for a friend to get out of class. He was so good-looking that I actually looked behind me when he started talking to me. We talked for a while and then he started talking about all these things he was planning on doing soon, and I wasn’t shy about telling him that I didn’t like any of those things. A few hours later, I realized that he had been trying to ask me out. I’m happily in a relationship now, but I still kick myself for that one.

            1. Finn*

              Oh I also said no to a guy asking me to see a specific movie because I wasn’t interested in that movie. We ended up dating anyway, but to my detriment :/

        2. Mephyle*

          Because, for example, one time in school (uni) I said no to a guy inviting me out to lunch because I had brought my own lunch. I’m looking back at that with new eyes now.

          1. Elfie*

            Yep, I am extremely literal person too. I once said no to a guy asking me out (he was cute, too!), when asking you out actually meant walking around the playground hand in hand at recess (I was 9) because the bell was about to ring and we wouldn’t have time. So. Much. Regret.

            I also said no to a guy when asking me out when I was at university because I didn’t finish my shift until midnight, and of course I thought he meant RIGHT AWAY!! I’m amazed I’ve ever managed to have relationships.

          2. Sibley*

            Every relationship I’ve had – I didn’t realize until after the fact that the first date was a date. Every time.

            1. ZeDirector*

              My ex boyfriend flat out told me that when women would invite him out for coffee, he would say “No thanks, I don’t drink coffee.” (he didnt) with the express intent of seeing how they responded. He told me so many would simply say “Oh, ok.” and take it as a polite rejection, but once in a while a woman would respond with “OK, how about XYZ (water, tea, soda) then?” and then he would accept.

  2. NYC Redhead*

    A colleague hooked up with one of the IT guys at our Christmas party, came into work and naturally, her computer wouldn’t turn on, forcing her to call… same IT guy.

  3. Mary Dempster*

    I actually dated someone in my chain of command a while ago. He then told me he “met someone” but “if it doesn’t work out with her….” and I dropped him immediately. He actually told me I had the upper hand (like I wanted that?) because “you know about her, but she doesn’t know about you!” They got married right away so she could move from the UK.

    Last I heard they’re divorcing, and he tried to reach out to me. I’m happily married to the man of my dreams, thanksverymuch.

    1. Snarkus Aurelius*

      This reminds me of that Cheers episode where Rebecca was dating Robin Colcord, and she found out there was another woman. She rejects the expensive bracelet he gives her, and he tells her she’s “winning” because the other woman would have snatched it up. Rebecca, trying to act mad, turns to Sam and says, “Did you hear that? I’m winning!”

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I loved Cheers. I remember the one where she looked on the computer and found all his illegal stuff and she wailed, “I AM TOO STUPID TO LIVE!”

        I totally stole that since I find myself in stupid situations all the time, hahaha.

  4. Bend & Snap*

    A few years into my working for him, my boss (a VP) began dating and then married the president of the company. So he basically had unchecked power that he abused with wild abandon. That was fun.

    1. Whatever*

      Witnessed almost the same thing – former boss dated a colleague in the same team. Needless to say, she was given absolute power and her reign was one of terror. I was the only one who stood up to her and it killed her. Sadly the boss lost all credibility and respect of his colleagues in the process. Last I checked he was working in a remote location and she left. Moral of the story: Don’t sh*t where you eat.

  5. Mike*

    First job out of college, went out drinking with the 3 other new hire dudes, as well as our 2 interns, a guy and a girl from a college we heavily recruited from.

    Ended up bringing the female intern home. We tried to keep it a secret from anyone at work, which means everyone knew immediately. Manager told us she didn’t care what happened, but be professional at work. Hooked up for the rest of the summer until she went back to college.

    It really didn’t go badly. :)

    1. VroomVroom*

      Yea in a scenario like that since they’re just a short term person (and you knew it going in) it can work out. Like, even if you decided in mid-July you weren’t a fan of her, you could have drawn it out so stuff wouldn’t get awkward at work, since there was an expiration date anyway.

  6. Anonymous Poster*

    I worked with a gentleman that I considered a friend for quite awhile. His wife and my girlfriend (now wife) worked together during the summers and he and I got along well, so we were pretty good friends.

    A new woman (Let’s call her Clarissa) started at work, and he started spending a lot of time in her cubicle that she shared with another coworker. I mean a whole lot. Hours upon hours of time there. To the point where his supervisor was telling him he had to charge PTO instead of his normal chargecode because of how much time he was spending talking to Clarissa. The poor coworker that had to listen to this hours upon hours ended up buying a very nice set of headphones and blasting music so he didn’t have to overhear what was being said anymore, it got that awkward.

    His wife throws him a birthday party and he insists that she invite Clarissa, and he spent the entire time in the restaurant with his coworkers, his wife, flirting with Clarissa. It was the most awkward work-ish birthday parties I’ve ever been to, to the point where he was brushing hair out of Clarissa’s face and putting his hand on her knee, while his wife was sitting there with a devastated look on her face.

    Sadly, it didn’t turn out well, he ended up dumping his wife for this coworker, and quit our workplace to move away for another job. He was told that his behavior was wildly unprofessional in the workplace and wouldn’t be tolerated anymore, so he was basically told it was time to move on. It got to the point where he yelled in our cubicle farm at me that either I had to support him in his divorce, or I was not a real friend to anybody. It was that awkward.

    His now ex-wife is doing pretty well and getting her degree (for some reason, he was always against her getting her bachelor’s degree), and he’s struggling where he’s at with his new wife that he met at work.

    I guess it’s kind of a downer story… Definitely awkward though!

    1. RVA Cat*

      “For some reason” = he’s a sexist jerk. Though, bless his heart, a woman doesn’t need a degree to know he’s a cheater. So glad things turned out well for his wife.

      1. Anonymous Poster*

        I considered if that were true, but he didn’t have anything against women getting educated per se. He looked at it financially: she wanted to become an elementary teacher and start a family, and quit teaching while the kids were at home. He thought it wouldn’t make sense to start a degree, incur the debt, have a child and drop out, and not be able to complete the degree until the child(ren) was in school, or finish the degree, incur the debt, then stop teaching after a year or two when a kid comes along.

        To be sure I think he’s a complete scumbucket after dumping his wife like that for sure, but I don’t want to draw attention away from real sexism when the reason was purely financial.

        He and Clarissa have a kid now too, and they were living with his parents once he took a new job. I stopped figuring out what was going on with them after I left OldJob, which is just as well. My wife and I still from time to time reconnect with his ex-wife and see how she’s doing.

        1. TL -*

          Eh, I’d look at it as investing in my spouse’s future – you can’t always predict what’s going to happen and I would want my spouse to always be able to support themselves. Saying that a woman doesn’t need the means to support herself does reek a little of sexism.

          Plus, y’know, he did then divorce her, so there’s that.

        2. KellyK*

          This may be a trip down the rabbit hole, but a lot of “purely financial” decisions are steeped n sexism. Treating the woman’s education and career as secondary because she’s just going to quit when she has kids is an example. In a career that spans decades, a 5-year break isn’t a long time, and having a degree is useful not just for going back to work when the kids start school but also in case the husband is laid off, or can’t work, or, you know, cheats on you with a coworker and you have to divorce him.

          That’s not to say that he was consciously thinking, “I will prevent my wife from getting a degree, thus keeping her trapped while I flirt with younger women,” while laughing maniacally and stroking his evil moustache. Just that a decision that a woman shouldn’t pursue an education and career isn’t automatically “not sexist” just because financial concerns are in play.

          1. Artemesia*

            Oh this. My parents did support me in getting a degree, but they refused to fill out the financial forms so I could get a Fullbright grad fellowship for which my department nominated me. I will never forget my father blathering on about if he had a choice and couldn’t educate both me and my brother, it was more important to educate my brother because he would need a career and to support a family. They never understood why I got or wanted to get a PhD.

              1. Artemesia*

                But much later — the Fulbright didn’t happen because I couldn’t complete the required material — I went to grad school after leaving my first husband.

            1. The Strand*

              I’m sorry this happened to you. May I suggest that your father was a bozo?

              In the mid-1960s, an older colleague of mine was initially offered placement at the same PhD program as my dad, but they got rid of her when they found out she was going to have a baby. Another program did accept her and she completed the PhD and raised a family, though she did not do research, and ended up at a teaching-centered institution. (Her career has ultimately been more fruitful than my dad’s, but I know she still felt wistful about being canned from the program.)

              I hope there’s some comfort in the doors you opened up for other academic women.

              1. Artemesia*

                I remember when I was about 40 sitting around a table at a university with 8 male professors and 4 of us women listening to a speech in Japanese (which none of us understood). It was being sort of translated. I wasn’t paying attention to the speech and began to think about the people around the table and realized that EVERY man at the table had between 3 and 6 kids and the only woman at the table who had any kids was me — I had two. Most academic women gave up a lot of life to succeed.

                1. anonAdjunct*

                  On the adjunct track in my mid-30s; I started late into teaching as it was never my original plan, but I’m late starting a family because I kept hoping one of those FT positions would appear, and that isn’t how it went.

          2. Anonymous Poster*

            I suppose I should have made clearer that it was at the time a mutual decision, and his wife kinda wanted a degree but also agreed it wouldn’t make financial sense. She was planning on working on it online once they had children and she could do it from home.

            Perhaps this is one of those you-had-to-be-there things. It wasn’t an issue about being independent, since he suffered from Celiacs and the extra income would have been very helpful with medical bills or those times when he wasn’t able to work while in the hospital due to complications from that, but for them at the time they both thought it didn’t work out.

            I only know it was mutual because my wife and I asked her about it after the divorce, and she said it was a joint decision. His wife worked ~10 hours/day at a daycare and couldn’t do online classes on top of that at the time, and they both looked at the budget and saw they couldn’t really afford her to quit at that time.

            1. Erica*

              There’s such a thing as internalized sexism, especially if someone is married to a jackass like that. A lot of “mutual decisions” come about because one party is gaslighting the other, and convince them that their future and independence aren’t valuable enough to invest in. And this isn’t something that just disappears at the moment the divorce is final.

              And there are guys so into toxic masculinity they’d rather give up extra income than give up their power in the relationship and have a partner who is equal (and could therefore leave if she chose).

              She’s making school work NOW, without his income, so…

          3. Kara*

            Eh, sometimes they are just purely financial decisions. I have a degree, my husband doesn’t. He works in construction and makes decent enough money that it would actually be a financial hardship for him to get a criminal justice degree to be a police officer, which he once thought was his dream. The time off working to get the degree, cost of the degree, and cost of the police academy are expensive enough, but the end result would be that he’d make almost half his current wages as a police officer – which makes it absolutely not a cost-effective option. Gender isn’t a consideration in that equation… it just is what it is.

      1. urban teacher*

        I am watching that scenario play out at work now. My para from hell has the custodian keep coming in and flirting with her. He is supposed to get married in April. I expect to hear that the wedding is off and the para moved in with him.

      2. Anonymous Poster*

        I didn’t originally post the worst part:

        His wife got them a hotel room with room service that evening to give them a romantic night. They went there immediately after this party, they slept together, and then he dumped her right after and drove home, leaving her there at the hotel by herself. He told her she was too immature for him.

        Clarissa is six years younger than his wife.

        He is a scumbucket.

        1. Audiophile*

          I’m sorry, I’m even more stymied by the everyone’s decision making now. The wife got them a hotel room after the birthday party where she watched him shamelessly flirt with this woman?

          And he left Clarissa at the hotel by herself and she went back to him??

          1. A*

            I assume the wife booked the hotel room before the party actually occurred. And though I wouldn’t want to touch him after watching him flirt with Clarissa, the wife might’ve been trying to hold onto him.

            As far as I understand, he dumped/left the wife at the hotel, not Clarissa. (Ya know, right after he had sex with her. Cuz that’s what oh-so-desirable men do.)

            1. Anonymous Poster*

              You have it right. She booked the hotel before the party as part of an overall birthday gift before the dinner/flirty part. And the last bit you’re understanding correctly too.

        2. The Strand*

          Are you sure there’s no way I can congratulate his ex-wife for being rid of him?

          Maybe an e-card?

          1. tigerStripes*

            I was thinking that too. In a way, you could say it has a happy ending – the wife who was treated terribly is now doing well, and the husband who treated her badly isn’t doing so well.

    2. rageismycaffeine*

      This is heartbreaking. OMG. But I’m glad the ex-wife is doing well after dropping the scumbag.

  7. Marche*

    Many years ago I was a cashier for my first ever job and a guy in another department had a crush on me. We hung out a few times, texted (I distinctly remember him saying that I was “broken” and he wanted to help fix me, despite my repeated “I’m not broken”). At one point he texted saying that he liked me and I, distracted with making coffee writing a difficult paper, replied that I liked him too, thinking he meant as a friends way. Romance never crossed my mind.

    Next thing a work friend tells me that this guy is telling all our coworkers how he and I are going steady and that he’s already gotten to second or third base! I informed him quite firmly at my cash register that nope, that was not happening, I was not interested in him AT ALL and did not appreciate him spreading rumours about me. Within the month he’d quit and started working at a pizza place.

    1. Cassandra*

      Wow. This calls for a Sara Bareilles song: “King of Anything.”

      “I hate to break it to you, babe,
      but I’m not drowning.
      There’s no one here to save!”

    2. Mike B.*

      Ah, negging! He probably got the advice from some guy online who isn’t any better at attracting women.

      The “we’re already dating” part is bizarre.

      1. Marche*

        Yeah, he was kind of weird and awkward, but seemed nice enough at first. Now that I’m thinking about it, I remember he went and liked a number of pages on FB that I had liked – which could potentially be innocent, but to like Elton John, a specific local pizza place, and an author I liked all at once was unnerving.

        1. Zombii*

          It is. As the “alpha male,” it’s important to “mark your territory” early, so that the other males will know to stay away from “your prize.” If they don’t “respect” “your territory,” your obviously have to challenge them, and prove that you are the more “alpha.”

          (I think I threw up in my mouth a little.)

      2. Erica*

        It’s quite possibly White Knighting rather than negging. I’ve met a few of those. Their romantic goal in life is to Be The Hero That Saves The Girl (whether she likes it or not). It it INCREDIBLY important to their self-image to Be A Hero — because they’re incredibly insecure, which shows, and he knows that we know, which feeds his insecurity, ad nauseum. Therefore, being a decent human being isn’t enough, it needs to be DRAMATIC!

        There ought to be a high school course covering all these red flags, and teaching boys how not to perceive or treat girls as damsels or “others” or inscrutable mysteries or all those other toxic things. White Knight Syndrome is WAY more common than it should be. I met a guy in his THIRTIES who tried to White Knight me (and he didn’t listen to me either, when I said I didn’t need to be fixed, I just wanted to hang out on equal footing).

        1. Marche*

          Yep, that sounds like him. I’ve always attributed him wanting to fix me (It’s been a good six years and I’ll still gag a bit typing that) to him wanting a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, though White Knighting also fits him to a tee.

          I remember feeling slightly guilty when I told him I AM NOT AND NEVER WILL BE INTERESTED IN YOU but looking back, I want to high-five my younger self for putting herself first and not taking that from a dude. You go Younger Marche.

          1. Annonymouse*

            As an ex manic pixie dream girl I still don’t get guys like this.

            How about you try getting to know us as complete people with interests, quirks and faults instead of projecting a whole bunch of desires and misconceptions onto us?

    3. Elizabeth West*

      That reminds me of one I forgot–this guy at a factory job once asked me out, and I said yes. Then for a whole week, every time he saw me, at lunch with EVERYBODY else around, he would say things like “I can’t wait for our date!” Not in a salacious way, but like a puppy with a new bone. Coworkers thought it was hilarious at first, but by the end of the week, people were coming up to me going, “Yeah, that’s not cool.”

      He was just so overbearing that I couldn’t stand it, so I canceled the date. He showed up at my place with roses and and cried and I had to throw him out. Do not involve your coworkers in your crush, dude!

  8. Manders*

    My last boss had a “personal assistant” who I’m pretty sure was his girlfriend. I actually liked her; she’d show up now and then at the office in fabulous pink leopard prints and do absolutely no work, but she had a great personality and seemed like a woman who didn’t take crap from anyone. I guess she got fed up with my control freak boss, because one day they got into a screaming argument in the office and my boss sent the rest of the admin staff home early. The next day his personal assistant had vanished, never to be seen again, and so had the office microwave.

        1. Liane*

          I must be having an off day. My first thought was that it was Assistant’s microwave that she loaned him.

    1. FD*

      Man, I just have this image of this woman in leopard print pants marching out through the front door with the microwave in view of God and everyone, and just flipping the bird at anyone who dares say anything about it. With some sort of power ballad backing track.

      1. MoinMoin*

        Yup. Daenerys walking out of Slaver’s Bay as it burns to the ground, 10k Unsullied at her back, and a microwave tucked under her arm and TLC’s “No Scrubs” playing over the scene.

  9. Gen*

    I once worked at a bank in a department dealing with loans for high value assets (cars with six figure price tags, yachts, roller coasters). Every Valentines there’d be a parade of fancy bouquets, chocolates, jewellery delivered to the office from “secret admirers” that was usually suspected of being brokers buttering people up (the whole department was shut due to suspicious dealing not long after I left) but a few were genuinely from spouses/boyfriends/girlfriends. For three years I got nothing because my spouse is an accountant and only bought flowers after Valentines when its cheaper, but on the fourth year he happened to be off work and had a great idea. Wild flowers. Not much grows in our country in February so I ended up being called to reception to collect a glass (not a vase) containing a bouquet of weeds. The receptionist (thinking it was hilarious) made me take them back to my desk. Once they warmed up to the temperature of the office it quickly became evident that something had urinated on them :/ it took days to get rid of the smell in the open plan office. He’s stuck to store bought gifts ever since.

    1. Anonymous Poster*

      This sounds like something I’d do! I’d love to opt for something a bit more natural and gathered like this, but I’d be terrified what I picked instead was, ahem, ‘found’ by the local deer and dog population many-a time, and probably poisonous.

      This is also why I stick with store bought flowers :)

        1. Gen*

          They were mostly people running travelling fairgrounds or small seaside resorts though one guy had a mini steam train in his garden

    2. EddieSherbert*

      Hahahaha, awwwwww, this is so good. This totally sounds like something that would happen to me (try to do this lovely gesture and just… it falls flat. Haha)!

      1. Wendy Darling*

        I have an affinity for people who are sensible to the point that they sort of suck at being romantic (because really, most romance involves a bit of nonsense) so it kind of warms my heart.

        Also I just like it when people try hard and fail cute.

  10. FormerSoundTech*

    In college I used to work as a sound tech and stage hand. On a musical I was doing some mic work for, I showed up to a dress rehearsal to just utter chaos and couldn’t find the stage manager. Apparently the male and female lead had been hooking up in a dressing room and the male lead’s girlfriend had caught them. Male lead chased after his girlfriend but she had slammed a door behind her, catching male lead’s hand in the door. And of course he went out to the stage to get help, dripping blood on the stage. The stage manager drove him to the hospital while another stage hand and I cleaned the stage. I have heard second or third hand many variations on this story. Theaters tend to have a lot of backstage drama.

    We also had a concert once where the two featured soloists were a married couple and they just fought viciously in front of the backstage staff. And made us watch their kids during rehearsals.

    1. VelociraptorAttack*

      Here when I read this I didn’t even think of all of my showmances from my days in theatre!

      I think my favorite one is the young man I dated when I was roughly 16 during the run of a show. He later attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and came out on The Tyra Banks Show. We hadn’t quite worked out.

    2. Anon in theater*

      Oh geez my worst show biz romance story was the community theater production where the male lead was 35 and the female lead was 17. It culminated with a closed-door meeting with the male lead, executive director, and the female lead’s parents, which the male lead left looking very pale.

      1. awkwardly*

        TW: Statutory Rape
        I was volunteering (for school credit) with the local community theater. We had a deal with a failed “romance” where one of the high school extras from the previous production was stalking the male lead (who was in his mid twenties). We (the stage crew) were told not to let her in.
        That was awkward, but the worst part was when the male lead was arrested about a year later for statutory rape of (The same? A different? I can’t recall….) a high school girl that he had broken up with and NONE of us were surprised.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      Lots of drama in the college theater department when I was in music school. We did a lot of stuff with the community theater troupe also. Thank God it was the ’80s and nobody had smartphones or internet, LOL.

      1. Phyllis B*

        This isn’t a romance story, but fits in with this thread. When I was in college I did Props for our theater productions. We put on the play “The Subject was Roses.” Well, there is a scene in there where the two male characters were supposed to be drinking/getting intoxicated. I of course, put water in the bottles. Then during one of the performances, yep, you guessed it. The guys put vodka in the bottles. Just as the curtains opened, one of the stage crew told me what they had done. It was too late to do anything, so we had to watch it all unfold. Yes, it was the disaster you are imagining. The audience thought it was just extremely good acting. This was in the seventies so no penalties were levied. We were also lucky that no college officials were attending this particular performance.

    4. theater volunteer*

      Back in college, was in a truly terrible musical (the actual script/score wasn’t great, plus mismanagement) that culminated its awfulness with the conductor and the stage director, who had been dating, breaking up during a 6-hour long tech week rehearsal and no longer speaking to each other for the rest of the run of the show. Which meant our musical cues and stage direction no longer matched up for the second half of the second act. Not great.

    5. Gadget Hackwrench*

      Ahhhh, theater days. When I was in college theatre, I distinctly remember nearly loosing my cool when ASMing a show, and one of my stage hands decided that Fives was a great time to break up with his girlfriend the actress. We had to hold at Fives for 15 minutes to get her calmed down and have her makeup fixed because she had mascara tears.

      1. Gadget Hackwrench*

        It’s not all bad in the theater though. I met my husband there. Technically not a job, but the theater, whether it’s a paid, community, or college, is definitely a hotbed of people who work together and date one another.

    6. whatwhat*

      a hand injury plus this: “…stage hand and I cleaned the stage. I have heard second or third hand…”

      *takes the stage* Let’s give them a hand, folks!!

      (I’ll show myself out)

    7. awkwardlyowl*

      TW: Statutory rape
      I was ASM for a community theater production as part of a college class, and we were warned that a former chorus member (who was in high school) was stalking the male lead (who was in his mid twenties and attended the same college I did), and to never let her into the theater.

      That was awkward, but the worst part was about 2 years later, the male lead was arrested for statuary rape of (the same? a different? I don’t recall) a high school girl. None of us who worked on that show were surprised.

  11. Snarkus Aurelius*

    I’ve told bits and pieces of this story before but never in its entirety. Today is AAM’s lucky day!

    I worked at an organization with Chris. Chris had a habit of dating every new female employee who was unmarried and in the 18-25 age range. Chris was in his mid-20s at this time. He’d date them for awhile, dump them, and then they’d quit. You can see how he had a revolving supply of women to date. (Predominantly male) management said and did nothing.

    Chris started dating Julie, who ended up being a close friend of mine. Julie was in her mid-20s, but she was no shrinking wallflower. She liked Chris a lot. I was never sure if she was ignorant of his workplace dating habits (how could she not?) or thought she was different, but they became a couple.

    One day, Julie and I were getting to know the new receptionist. During that conversation, the new receptionist reveals that Chris asked her out, and they’re going on a date later. For reasons I’ll never understand, Julie and the receptionist get into a verbal argument and then physical. HR and I break it up. From that day forward, Julie was pretty much parked at Chris’ desk as long as she could be.

    I have no idea if Julie ever confronted Chris, which is what she should have done in the first place, but Chris leaves and then Julie. This time, they work at two different places. They eventually got married. Best part? No one in the office was invited to the wedding, but Chris emailed us a link to their registries. No idea if they’re still together.

    1. Rincat*

      “No one in the office was invited to the wedding, but Chris emailed us a link to their registries.”

      Stay classy, Chris!!

      1. Snarkus Aurelius*

        I really wanted to ask her why she and the receptionist didn’t go back to his desk and confront him themselves. He was the cause. Plus he didn’t go to great pains to hide his behavior so… Maybe he didn’t care?

        The bigger issue was management or lack thereof. I’m horrified that they allowed this revolving door of women go through this office. Chris’s antics had to have cost so much money! I wonder what AAM would have advised if I’d written in. (I had to help train some of them!)

      2. Allison*

        Maybe not. If she had informed the receptionist that, hey, Chris was actually her boyfriend, and the receptionist responded with something rude like “well clearly he likes me now, so we’re going out, deal with it” I could see that getting ugly. But yeah, she should have just said “excuse me” and went to Chris’s desk to confront him.

  12. Popcorn required*

    Yay! I have a fun one!

    I was out to lunch with a co-worker and we were describing past encounters with different co-workers. I told her about a guy I knew who was (quite literally) sleeping his way through all the women in the company. Married, single, tall, short, it didn’t matter to him. He had broken up a few marriages, had a few stalkers, etc. Just an all around “winner of a guy.”

    My co-worker mentions how strange it is, because she worked with a guy like that too. Same thing – he had busted up marriages, promoted women who were sleeping with him only to see that blow up in his face, etc. Apparently it was a pregnancy scare that made him back away from it. She even mentioned at one point he had 7-8 different women he was sleeping with AT THE SAME TIME IN THE SAME COMPANY.

    I casually dropped the name of the guy….and sure enough – SAME GUY!! Apparently after he left her old company, he came to mine. Even better – he’s now engaged to one of his more recent hook-ups. There is a pool in the office around how long it will last.

    1. Kelly L.*

      I think I worked with him too! I remember a guy a lot like that at one job, I just can’t remember the specifics well enough to tell it interestingly.

    2. Gen*

      When my spouse was a teacher one of his colleagues got two other teachers pregnant whilst still being married to a third. The news got out to the students and all four ended up moving to other schools within days of each other. He was caught in a store room at his new school with another teacher a month later.

      1. Zoe Karvounopsina*

        My Latin teacher was…asked to leave after it came out that she had been having an affair with the drama teacher. I confess, I was a very naive fourteen year old, and truly believed he just kept losing his stapler, and she had to help him find it.

        Things came to a head when one of her students fainted, no one could find her, and they had to run and get a PE teacher. Afterwards, they discovered that her GCSE Latin classes that year had mostly consisted of My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Hercules on repeat.

        I understand they are now married.

        1. Emi.*

          My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Hercules? Not even, like, Gladiator or something? Yeah, I’d ask him to leave too.

              1. Amber T*

                Having studied Latin (and Ancient Greek) for many years, I’ve determined that that scene gets funnier the longer you’ve studied Latin. I’ll explain:
                – Friends that have never studied Latin: no response, maybe an awkward chuckle because they realize it *should* be funny but don’t really understand why.
                – Friend that studied Latin for one semester (and hated every second of it): Some laughter remembering the torture.
                – Fellow Classics majors: Hysterics, literally rolling on the floor clutching our sides. Then quietly sobbing in the corner as we too remember the torture.

                1. AnonEMoose*

                  I studied French in high school and a bit in college, so I’ve got enough background that it’s pretty funny to me.

                2. Liane*

                  I was a science major, not a classics major but I loved the language and both my high school teacher and the professor.

                3. Chinook*

                  Wait, is “Romans Go Home” the Latin equivalent of the French Canadian classics involving Sol the Clown (used to torture French students outside of Quebec)?

                4. AnonEMoose*

                  Out of nesting, but a reply to Chinook – it’s a reference to the Monty Python move “The Life of Brian.” In which there’s a scene in which a centurion gives a Latin lesson – at sword point – to the main character.

            1. Lucy Honeychurch*

              Our Latin-party staple was Rinse the Blood Off My Toga. It’s on YouTube and it’s perfect.

        2. Anna*

          I had a high school teacher who would disappear to the transportation office “to make copies” and be gone for almost the whole class period. I honestly thought she was making copies and just chatting until another student mentioned it was well known the transportation manager and our teacher were having an affair.

          I loved this teacher and am still in touch with her, but I can’t help but wonder what kind of workout that copy machine got…

          1. Julia*

            Oh my god! Now I wonder whether that maths teacher who went to get coffee only to not be seen again until the end of class (thanks for making us all fail the centralized state exam, by the way) had a sordid affair with someone.

        3. K.*

          Two well-known, long-standing teachers at my high school left their spouses for each other. The scandal was before my time (they were married when I was in high school) but it was apparently a HUGE drama because both of them had kids who were at the school at the time, so this was playing out in front of them and all their classmates. It was very public. One teacher had a son who stopped speaking to him over it (he lived with his mother after the divorce), although I think they eventually reconciled. The adulterous teachers continued to teach there until their retirement and remained married until the wife passed away (relatively young, she got sick).

          1. BPT*

            In some ways, it’s nice to hear that people who’s relationships began by cheating ended up remaining married for the rest of their lives. Not saying cheating is EVER the right way to go about breaking up with someone you’re with, it’s definitely not, but it’s almost good that if they broke up a marriage over it, at least it was for something meaningful and actually right. Then again, I really enjoy stories of cheaters getting their comeuppance, so really I’m fine with the story going either way.

          2. Teacher Drama*

            Reminds me of my high school teachers. Both married to other people. I don’t remember what the guy taught but the woman taught gym. The guy’s wife confronted the gym teacher and threw the sex toys she found at the gym teacher. In front of a class full of high school students. That made it around the school before class was over. Both teachers were divorced and married each other. I think they are now divorced. Same deal with their kids being in the school. Both of them were gone by the end of the year.

        4. Clewgarnet*

          My English teacher married one of his ex-pupils – two weeks after she finished school.

          This was 20+ years ago, so he was allowed to stay on and nothing was said.

          1. Mrs. Fenris*

            My senior year, we had a new graduate teacher at my high school who was REALLY good looking, and the girls were falling all over him. It got ridiculous. He kept it totally professional, but he came to the graduation party and ended up leaving with one of the students. This was a small high school in a small town and there was no WAY the powers that be wouldn’t hear about it. He was asked to resign. Looking back, I feel bad for him. We all thought he was so grown up, but he was only about 22…just barely past being a kid himself. He probably thought that after graduation, it would be ok. Somebody really should have taken him aside during the school year and said “so it’s no secret that the girls are all pretty infatuated with you…here’s the line of what you can and can’t do.”

          2. Annonymouse*

            I’ve got one.
            This happened at a friend of mines school in her year. (My friend is 3 years younger than me and went to the same high school as my older sister.)

            This girl (let’s call her Melody) is in year 10 (sophomore year) and starts to get a little to friendly/flirty with the new English teacher who is in mid to late 20s.

            He declines and she takes a 3 month break from school to recover from the resulting breakdown. She returns and this time starts flirting with the married math teacher in his mid to late 40s who has kids her age.

            And he gladly accepts. Huge scandal when it gets out, breaks up his marriage, he has to leave obviously (not sure if he is banned from teaching).

            It even gets media attention and follow up a few years later. Still together and he claims they are “equals” in their relationship. And for Christmas he bought her a formal (prom) dress and 20 my little pony figurines.

            She has also got into university and is studying to be a teacher.

      2. AnotherAlison*

        My fourth grade teacher had an affair with one of the other fourth grade teacher’s husbands, who happened to be the school district psychologist. She also took her very young kids to the home daycare across from my house, which my sister also attended, so I had the inside track on the drama.

        The school handled it by moving our classroom out of the 4th grade pod, and across the building (exchanged it with a special ed class). At semester, the teacher was no longer employed and we had a long term sub to finish out the year. The other teacher stayed around for a while. I don’t remember what happened to the psychologist.

      3. EddieSherbert*

        In high school, I had a teacher that was hooking up with his student teacher from the local college… My understanding is that she failed the semester when it came out (had to re-do student teaching at a different school and graduated late). He had no consequences.

        … but I also don’t recall him ever having any other student teachers in his classroom.

      4. MsMaryMary*

        Some years after I graduated, a couple of people 2-3 years ahead of me came back to work at our old high school: Mr. S, Mr. P, and Coach F. Mr. S and Coach F were high school sweethearts who later married, and Mr P is their best bud. Then it came out that Coach F was cheating on Mr S with the father of one of her players. Mr S moved out and stayed with his buddy Mr P. One day, Mr S walks in to find Mr P getting hot and heavy with an underage student. Mr S sends the girl home and tells Mr P that this had better never happen again, or he’ll go to the school admin and the cops (which he is actually legally required to do, but you know, they’re BFFs).

        Coach F and Mr S are estranged, but talk occasionally while sorting out the remnants of their marriage. Through one of their awkward conversations it comes out that Mr P has hit on Coach F, repeatedly, although she’s asked him multiple times to stop. At this point, Mr S went to the school administration and turned in Mr P for having a relationship with a student. Mr P went to jail. Mr S and Coach F got divorced.

        1. Anna*

          Stay classy dude. You only turn in your buddy out of vengeance, not out of any sort of obligation to a student being coerced by a teacher. They should both be in jail.

        2. Ann Furthermore*

          I attended high school at a boarding school in a small mountain town in California in the 80’s. There were rumors constantly flying around about teachers having affairs with students, but nothing concrete. Except for one story. One of my closest friends when I was a sophomore was a senior. After graduation, she told me that she’d been having an affair all year with the British English teacher, and they were engaged. It had been going on all year, but I’d had no idea and I don’t think anyone else did either. She lived in a smaller dorm further away from the center of the campus, so I’m sure it was much easier for them to sneak around. The plan was that she was going to go off to college in DC, and then he was going to join her there. However, I believe the next year he found another senior to hook up with. Shocker.

          I attend reunions every year or 2, and now, 30+ years later, I’ve found out that all the rumors I’d heard about teachers and students were true, plus learned about quite a few more trysts as well. A lot of those teachers were at least in their 30’s, so old enough to know better. One teacher though, was a super-dreamy History teacher who I think was probably only 23 or 24, and he had a fling with a senior my first year there. I’m not excusing him, but he really was not that much older than some of the students he was teaching, and being that young, I could see how a terrible lapse in judgement could have happened. I’m not saying it was OK, but I understand how it happened. Plus it was the 80’s, when stuff like that was regarded with kind of a wink-wink-nudge-nudge mentality. Then I found out that he had ANOTHER fling with a student 5 or 6 years later, so I changed my assessment of him and decided he was just a reckless, stupid, idiot.

          1. PlainJane*

            This stuff really was viewed differently in the 80s. I had 2 high school teachers who had inappropriate relationships with students. One was the women’s basketball coach who was caught sleeping with one of the players. I wasn’t too surprised, since he used to ogle some of the girls pretty obviously. The other was infamous for having divorced his wife and married one of his students some years ago. He was also infamous for being hands-y with female students–which unfortunately I know to be true from personal experience. It’s so weird to look back on that and realize that pretty much every student knew about his behavior, but no one said anything, and nothing was ever done. He died last year, and so many former students posted glowing things about him on Facebook. I wondered how many female former students were reading those posts and having very different memories of him.

            1. Ann Furthermore*

              Ugh, that is so gross. I’m sorry that happened to you. I’m a member of a private FB group for alumni of my school, and many of my classmates have come forward and talked about the drama teacher, who was a sexual predator and preyed on many of his students. It was so shocking and upsetting to find out about. My time at that school truly was one of the happiest times of my childhood, and to find out that so many of my classmates were victims of this guy at the same time just broke my heart. Most of those girls were seniors, and we all took dance and drama classes together. I was a gawky, nerdy, 8th grader, and I was in awe of them because I thought they were all so graceful and pretty, and beside them felt like one of the hippos in Fantasia. Then years later I found out nothing was what at all what it seemed. It was so sad, and surreal at the same time.

      5. Lemon Zinger*

        My middle school *health* teacher got another teacher pregnant. After she started showing, but before she announced who the father was, he proposed to her at the school talent show in front of the entire staff, student body, and parents.

        It was a wildly dysfunctional school and the staff were 90% of the problem.

        1. Lemon Zinger*

          Another story… one of my middle school teachers had a sexual relationship with a student (it was consensual, but she wasn’t old enough to legally consent). This was well after I’d gone off to college and I was shocked when I heard the news. He was a great teacher and I really liked him.

          Now he’s in prison for 30-some years.

            1. Mike B.*

              Yeah, for someone just shy of 18 one might see some moral (if not legal) gray area, but a middle schooler is not remotely capable of consenting to sex with an adult.

              1. BPT*

                And even then, I just don’t understand why people couldn’t wait a few more months until the partner was actually legal. Especially when the age difference is big – not talking about a 19/17 year olds. But like, if you’re 40, and you just could wait to have sex with a 17 year old until they were legal, I have no sympathy if you get in legal trouble. You knew exactly what you were doing. (That said, a 40 year old waiting for the clock to strike on an 18 year old’s birthday is super skeevy too to me, but that’s another non-legal thing altogether.)

              2. Zombii*

                In my state, the age of consent is 16–but that doesn’t mean anyone should be boning the middle schoolers they teach (I’m pretty sure the schools don’t approve of it, anyway).

            2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              Thank you. I find that when folks speak out both sides of their mouth on “consent,” it’s usually to offer an apologia for why it’s ok or at least morally ambiguous to assault children.

              1. Zombii*

                I can hypothetically understand people being a little squidgy on the ethics depending on all kinds of circumstances, since age of consent varies by state, but a lot of the states where it’s 16 still have a “nevermind” attached if the older person is in a position of power.

      6. Lefty*

        Oof. My teacher love story is so tame in comparison. In our middle school, our biology teacher often visited our algebra teacher during his free period (which happened to be our period in algebra). He was always very sweet and helpful with her class and would happily cover for her when needed. As a bunch of 14 year olds, we began to tell sweet Ms. Algebra that Mr. Biology liked her… she denied it and said he was always a nice guy. 10 years later, I ran into them at the grocery store- they are married. Ms. Algebra said she never would have noticed his advances if it weren’t for her nosy 5th period students.

        1. Tafadhali*

          Same! I went to all-girls school and we maybe were a little overinvested in the sweet romance between two of the Math and English teachers. He proposed using Scrabble!

          (As someone working in similar school environments for the last 6 years, the idea of similar scrutiny towards my personal life makes me break out in hives, but I’ve also hardly ever told my family when I was dating people so my privacy settings are a bit higher than average.)

      7. Cath in Canada*

        One of my old teachers was at my Dad’s birthday party a few years ago. After a couple of beers he decided that the statute of limitations for gossip had well and truly expired, and started telling me all about which teachers were sleeping together while I was in school. I yelled for my sister, my BFF, and my BFF’s sister, and they all came over to hear the gossip. It was a looooong list. Best party ever!

        1. Cath in Canada*

          Oh, I did know about one of the affairs. My guitar teacher, who lived way across town, was selling his house and the two teachers in question – both married to other people – showed up to view it while I was in the middle of a lesson! They were not happy to find one of their students in the house…

          A few years later, after I’d left school, I was working in a local bar one summer when the female teacher from that couple came in for a sneaky lunchtime date with a different guy. There I was again, although this time she found it funny rather than mortifying!

      8. Gadfly*

        I have a fairly common first name and uncommon last name. There are a few more common but still not really common variations in spelling of my last name. My senior year of high school they hired a new orchestra teacher whose name sounded EXACTLY like mine.

        At first it was funny because the office would nake a call over the intercom for her and teachers would send me to check on it. And then she started sleeping with the drama teacher…. and he was the sort who had a few rumors of inappropriate relationships with students. Ugh. My younger sister was in her orchestra class for a coule of years. I understand that he retired and they got married the next year.

      9. Annie Moose*

        Somewhat pervy older English teacher got caught in a closet after school with… an unnamed individual. Pervy older teacher was married. (his daughter was in my grade and categorically did not discuss the topic) Pervy older teacher quietly went on a short leave of absence afterward.

        Rumor had it that the unnamed individual was the (also married, to someone else) science teacher, who was in the middle of having some kind of mental breakdown (if it really was her, this was only one of MANY bizarre and poorly-thought-out things she did that year) and soon went on a year-long sabbatical. In retrospect, she was clearly not well, so it was a sad situation. (when she came back, she was obviously in a much better place, and the bizarre behavior stopped) He had no such explanation, though.

        (not the same English teacher as in my other story, believe it or not! I swear all of the other English teachers were perfectly professional people)

      10. Science!*

        The married headmaster of my high school was found to be having an affair with one of the librarians. They were both well liked, but the scandal forced them both to quit. I believe he divorced his wife and married the librarian and then they both ended up getting jobs at some english school in Russia? There were so many rumors it was hard to figure out what actually happened. This all went down the year before I started there, but my brother was a student.

        Then the headmaster hired to replace the previous guy had his own scandal, where he fired (“let go due to differences of opinions of the direction of the school”) the school guidance counselor who was BELOVED in the school and hired his wife instead. Students were so pissed that they actually had to cancel afternoon classes to address the issue, and he ended up leaving at the end of the year. So we had an interim headmaster for a year who was great, but they finally hired someone for my junior year and he lasted 2.5 years before he had his own scandal: he came to school completely drunk, went to one of the hockey games and egged on the players to fight.

        But there was a really sweet love story between the math teacher and the college counselor who dated and got married my junior year! They were adorable together, so it wasn’t all bad.

      11. Pommette*

        Ah, teacher pregnancy drama. You are a classic.

        Most of the teachers in my high school were older. So it didn’t seem particularly odd to anyone that two of the younger recruits, a math and a drama teacher, spent a lot of time together. Eventually they start pointedly avoiding one another instead.
        One day our drama teacher announces her pregnancy to the class. Much (non-malicious) gossip ensues, because we are a bunch of fourteen-fifteen year olds, and babies are exciting news. It takes exactly 45 minutes for someone to announce the news to their friends in math class. The math teacher turns white, tells us that he will be back in a minute, and disappears for the rest of the day.
        (Being a pathologically naïve teenager, I was oblivious to all of this; as an adult, I can’t remember it without cringing.)

      12. AliceBD*

        Going with the theme of teacher stories….

        In 8th grade everyone teased Ms. R, the young English teacher, and Mr. B, the middle-aged drama teacher. We thought they liked each other, and they were the subject of much gossip. They ended up married, but divorced a few years later. There were rumors that Ms. R left Mr. B for Mr. W, the young and inappropriate* science teacher, but I don’t think anything was verified.
        *Not inappropriate in a sexual way, but maybe don’t pitch (aka throw hard/fast) tennis balls at students in your class, for example. Not gentle tosses, but throws that could really hurt.

        I took French in school instead of Spanish partly because the French teacher was an excellent teacher and the Spanish teacher was a pretty poor teacher (the kids in French learned stuff whether they wanted to or not; the kids in Spanish had trouble learning anything even if they wanted to), but also because the Spanish teacher creeped a lot of us out some. His computer desktop background was a picture of a particular student the year ahead of me, for example. Not a group picture of a club he mentored or a team he coached or something innocent like that, but he was really buddy-buddy with this particular boy. My sophomore year of college I got a call from a friend still in town that he was fired for being inappropriate with a student.

        And finally, the PE teacher at my school. He did nothing you could pinpoint — didn’t touch anyone inappropriately, didn’t say anything wrong, but none of the girls wanted to be alone with him. When I was in college I had a summer/school breaks job, and the daughter of the owner of my company was in school there and she confirmed that still the girls were all creeped out. Unlike the Spanish teacher I don’t think the boys had a problem with him. He’s no longer there, but I didn’t hear anything about why he left, so I don’t know if it was scandalous or he just moved on.

    3. Anon for this*

      I guess I’ll throw in my story of teachers behaving badly. We had two married (not to each other) teachers caught by the principal fooling around in one of their classrooms. This was a while ago and I know at the time our teacher’s had a “morality” clause in their contract. No idea if they still do, but with it being on school property plus the clause the principal wanted them out. However, the principal was new and the teachers weren’t so the school board refused (the teacher’s were friends with the “right” people, essentially). Principal ended up quitting due to the outrage that nothing was being done when it could have been students that walked in on them.

  13. edj3*

    I met my now husband at work on a billion dollar project (that ultimately failed). We were in very different work groups at a large 120k employee company.

    He was interested in me right away and I . . . was not interested. For three years. Yes, that’s right, I wouldn’t date him for three years.

    Long story not so long, I finally got over my own fears, we started dating in early 2002, got engaged a year later and married in October 2003.

    I had no idea marriage could be so fun. We like to say that the CEO at the company with the failed project spent billions so that we could meet–we were the successful launch :D

    1. Branch Coordinator*

      That’s super cute! And I’m glad that you’re still going strong!

      My husband and I met at a wedding about 13 years ago – the couple who were getting married ended up divorced a few years later (they really weren’t good together, and are much happier now with other people), so I like to joke that we were the happy ending love story from that wedding. 13 years, and 11.5 years of marriage, later, and we’re even happier than we’ve ever been.

  14. Need to be anon for this*

    I used to work at a university in the residence halls. We worked closely with the police because our live-in students obviously didn’t always follow the rules. We ended up having far too many interdepartmental relationships, including:

    – Officer 1, married, who was head over heels for Employee M. Employee M strung him along for at least a year, occasionally also hanging out with other Employees with Employee M. Suddenly Officer 1 is divorced and dating Employee G, who is friends with Employee M. Officer 1 and Employee G get hitched.
    – Officer 2 is married and his spouse is also employed on campus. Officer 2 starts spending a lot of time with Student Employee L. Suddenly Officer 2 is no longer married. Student Employee L tells supervisor that she’s dating Officer 2. Officer 2 doesn’t tell his supervisor. Officer 2 eventually gets fired. Student Employee L dumps him.
    – Officer 3 is in a long-term relationship with a live-in SO, but spends considerable time with Employee A. Officer 3 and Employee A deny any relationship for years. Suddenly Officer 3 is dating Student Employee C. Employee A finally acknowledges the years-long secret relationship and starts harassing Student Employee C and Officer 3. Mind you that Employee A and Student Employee C work for the same department.

    So, basically, lots of awkwardness and a total lack of professionalism. But, according to the legal team there is nothing against any of this, even in light of the power differential. So it goes on…

    1. OhNo*

      Yikes. Did the student employees happen to live in the residence halls as well? Because that would just make for a mess of truly epic proportions.

      1. Need to be anon for this*

        YEP. All the employees and student employees lived in the residence halls. So imagine being a normal student living in the residence hall and you see one of the officers slip into a staff member’s room…and not return for some time.

    2. Noobtastic*

      This reminds me of something that I found out at my college, so I’m not sure it really counts for this thread, but it’s interesting, nonetheless.

      When I moved into my dorm, I liked it just fine, but soon, I noticed I got weird looks, whenever I met people and told them where I lived. Eventually, I found out that the year before I moved in, the occupants of my dorm had set up a prostitution ring!

      They had this whole system of signals and a person manning the emergency exit, so the customers could sneak in. Not only was this against school rules, but illegal in that state, so it was a big deal when the news broke.

      Unfortunately for all the women in my dorm, that year, it became “a thing” that when a guy wanted to flirt with us, they’d imply we were hookers. Seriously, guys? Has that sort of approach EVER worked with a woman who was not, in fact, a sex worker? I suppose you might find the rare woman who would actually take you up on the offer, even if she’s not a professional, because some women are desperate, some are curious, and some are looking for “easy money” (and it’s only “easy” money if you actually find the customer attractive, and want to do it, anyway), but as an actual approach for a real date? Seriously?! They’d joke about it, and then say they were looking for a relationship, but I never heard of one single dorm-mate who ever went for it. There were dorm-mates who were very hot and heavy in their relationships, but those relationships did NOT start with a “what are your rates?” conversation.

  15. Bethany*

    I have a happy work related romance/Valentine’s Day story: After my mom graduated high school she got a job as the receptionist at the headquarters of a trade union. My dad was a couple of years older than her and he had just finished trade school and had just joined the union. Over the first 8 months they had those jobs they saw each other a few times when my dad had to go to headquarters for something but they never talked beyond saying hello. There was one day dad had to go to headquarters for something and it happened to be Valentine’s Day. The boss had given my mon and the other women who worked there each a flower. One of my mom’s co-workers had seen my mom and my dad looking at each other whenever my dad came in and when he showed up that day she gave my dad her flower and said my mom might like it. He gave it to my mom, they talked and agreed to have dinner that night after work. Two years later on Valentine’s Day they got married. Today is their 41st wedding anniversary.

    (Disclaimer about my mom’s boss giving all the women who worked for him a flower on Valentine’s Day: This was back in 1974 and times were different. My mom always says there was no creepiness behind it and he was just doing it as a nice gesture. He encouraged my mom and other women who worked there to go to night school and gave them opportunities to advance at a time when women weren’t given the same opportunities as men. My mom was in a management position when she retired and he has been her mentor. He also encouraged women who worked in the trades to advance in their careers and didn’t care if married women or mothers worked for him, and he tried to accommodate women with kids as best he could, which was somewhat radical at the time)

    1. sunny-dee*

      I actually read the flower thing as being really sweet, even before your disclaimer. It was thoughtful of him to show his employees that he appreciates them.

    2. Teapot librarian*

      I was just given a flower. Boss and senior staff are all women, except for two. The two men chipped in and bought roses “for the ladies.” And made a big production of giving each of us one at our staff meeting. All the other women thought it was so sweet. I think it’s sexist AF.

      1. OhNo*

        Yeah, I think it’s only sweet in very specific circumstances, like if a.) it’s the boss giving out flowers, b.) you have a close and friendly relationship with your boss, and c.) it’s combined with a genuinely appreciative attitude across the board.

        This sounds like it meets absolutely none of those criteria. And frankly, sounds like the guys are saddled with that “gotta give the laydeez flowers for V-Day otherwise they’ll get upset amiright?” attitude, which just irks the heck out of me.

      2. Cafe au Lait*

        It’s probably the production that’s making it creepy and sexist. If they’d bought flower and just gave them to you as “I appreciate what you do,” it’d feel fairly tame.

    3. New Bee*

      This is super-sweet. My parents also met at work and today would’ve been their 20-something anniversary if my dad were still alive.

  16. Anon for this*

    First, my co-worker Fergus cheated on his girlfriend with Jane, who also worked there. It went sour somehow, and he started giving her the silent treatment at work, which was hella awkward.

    Afterward, Jane started dating a lovely friend of hers, Wakeen. They’re great people and they’re still together and married now…but Jane, at the time, lived right across the street from our work, and one day the two of them forgot to close the blinds. Yep.

      1. Anon for this*

        It was a restaurant, and Wakeen didn’t work there anyway. Jane was off that day, or had a different shift, or something, I don’t remember anymore.

    1. Fifty Foot Commute*

      As a person who relatively recently moved across the street from my job (which has frequent night meetings), I am super grateful for this story. I hadn’t even thought of that. Crisis preempted!

  17. Government Worker*

    Not a workplace romance story, but I came in this morning to find that all the women in the office had heart-shaped tins of candy on their desks, with no indication of who it was from. It’s both kind of sweet and a little icky. I feel very aware of the fact that I’m the only woman in my little corner of the office in a way that I usually don’t.

      1. Jadelyn*

        Yeah…one of my coworkers has a bag of the Valentines Hersheys Kisses and is going around the branch leaving a few on everyone’s desks, but it’s not gendered at all.

      2. Amber T*

        Yeah, lots of people brought in candy and sweets today, but it was either left in the lunch room for everyone, or given to everyone (men and women) on specific teams. Ick.

    1. MoinMoin*

      I know a lot of people that treat Valentine’s Day more like “woman appreciation day” or something rather than a romantic thing. I’ve definitely been the recipient of flowers or candy simply because they were brought in for all women in the office/meeting/class/etc and my husband is definitely expected to get his mom flowers, which I thought was weird as hell at first.

      1. Emi.*

        There was a guy handing out free flowers to women in the metro yesterday. It was kind of weird–like, who wants a single carnation from a stranger?

        1. CeeL*

          People who like carnations might not be inclined to object. As long as it’s not attached to a “hey I’ll give you this if you give me something,” I don’t think there’s anything weird or inappropriate about it. It sounds like this kind of thing could cheer a lot of people up, particularly if that’s the only acknowledgement they get this time of year.

          1. Allison*

            On the surface it might not seem weird, but I would wonder if this guy was hoping to get something in return, and then worry that if he didn’t get what he wanted, he might eventually burst and go off on a woman who didn’t say “thank you” properly or something.

            1. Emi.*

              Do you mean money, like when people “give” you flag pins and then announce that they’re raising money for veterans, or that he might have been trying to score with the dozens of women hurrying through the metro? That seems unlikely to me, but then again the metro’s not exactly a hotbed of reason and coolheadedness.

      2. Zoe Karvounopsina*

        One of my colleagues sent an email round noting that the Cadbury’s Milk Tray of Mystery was from him…and also there was popcorn.

        We work in SRH, so I feel like we could have done something…themed.

      3. Manders*

        I hadn’t noticed it before, but yeah, you’re totally right. When I was single, it always felt a little weird that I was missing out on being appreciated/didn’t “deserve” the same appreciation as my friends with partners. I wish it could just be a universal treat yo self day.

        But then again, my husband and I are celebrating the day by staying in and ordering matching shirts from a video game we play together, so maybe I’m out of sync with the culture here.

        1. AnonEMoose*

          My husband and I are staying in, making steaks for dinner, and prepping for a gaming convention this weekend. On the other hand, the convention was where we originally met, so it seems appropriate.

        2. LizB*

          In my family growing up, Valentine’s Day was absolutely a universal treat yo self/show appreciation for everyone you care about day. Cards and/or candy were given to family members and friends as well as significant others, and my mom would make heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast and get all us kids little gifts. I now realize this is not the way most people do it (my boyfriend thinks it’s weird), but I like the idea of a day where all kinds of love and caring is celebrated, not just romantic love. (Plus I like that my mom still sends me a box of candy in the mail. :) )

          That being said, I think that if someone has this perspective and is going to acknowledge it at work, it has to be completely gender-neutral, and framed as “I appreciate all my coworkers, have a good day!” kind of thing. Singling out the women is weird.

          1. Aurion*

            I’ve a friend who’s like this too with her family. The siblings get Valentine’s gifts for each other since they’re all single, and they have a friendly competition of who can get the most over-the-top gift for each other. I think the current record-holding gift is a Darth Vader holding a heart.

          2. Just Answering*

            We also do this in my family. I always have gotten a little something for each of my children.

          3. Mental Mouse*

            In my family, Valentine’s Day is… Mom’s birthday. Oh well, we all had a nice dinner with my sister’s family.

      4. theletter*

        It is weird. I wish people who did that would realize that there already is a women’s day. March 8th. Leave Feb. 14th for the Lovahs.

      5. Marillenbaum*

        I’ve seen this, but mostly from my female friends (whether they call it Galentine’s Day or not). I mostly love that the day after is my half-birthday, and the day all the candy goes on sale.

    2. thunderbird*

      At my office all of the women arrive to a rose on their desk with a personal note (your name) and they are signed from the Gentlemen of the division. This has been a long standing tradition and no one really knows who does it, but there are plenty of theories.

      1. HisGirlFriday*

        My only male co-worker, who also happens to be gay, always brings in cupcakes and rose-shaped chocolates and leaves one on everyone’s desk. I work in an office of seven people total, so we often do small things like that throughout the year. I make peppermint brownies at St. Patrick’s Day, for example.

        It doesn’t feel weird or sexist to me, but he does do it for everyone, it’s just that we all happen to be female.

      2. Anonimouse*

        I would like that – I got a ton of candy and I’m dieting but I decorated my desk with it and it brightens the place up!

    3. EddieSherbert*

      Right? That’s weird. Like… it seems sexist, people might be allergic or dieting or just not want candy from a stranger… not a great plan.

      I just brought in cupcakes and left them in the kitchen for everyone with a note to dig in. Much easier all around!

    4. Princess Buttercup*

      Some of the comments make me want to scream “THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!” Come on, can’t we just appreciate that someone did something nice for us without having to look for something to be upset or “weirded out” about?

      1. Just Answering*

        I rather thought the same. Accept generosity when it happens. Accept someone’s gesture, even if you wouldn’t have made the same and think it’s a little weird.

        People have different ideas about nice gestures. If they’re shut down because someone chooses to interpret them in the worst possible way, we’ve killed a little bit more kindness in the world.

        Assume the best, and enjoy the flowers/candy/whatever.

      2. Lissa*

        I’m honestly really torn about this one! On the one hand, I totally agree that sometimes people look too hard for a reason to be creeped out, or assume the worst in harmless gestures. On the other hand, I dislike gendered gestures overall, especially in the workplace. If this happened to me I’d probably be a little meh about it, but not say anything negative.

      3. LN*

        I really don’t think people generally “look of reasons to be upset.” Upset is an emotion that hits you unbidden, and then you have to decide what to do with it. Posting about it (semi) anonymously online is pretty harmless, all things considered. I don’t get the sense that anyone here is raging at the person who offered the “nice gesture,” they’re just expressing their gut reaction to it.

        And honestly? Yeah, gifts that single out ONLY people of (certain status) in the office are weird. They’re going to feel weird. I don’t want to thought of as A Woman (TM) in my office environment, and being gifted something seemingly for that reason? Is going to feel weird. Doesn’t mean I am a Special Snowflake Looking For Reasons To Be Offended, it just means that it’s an uncomfortable reminder that I’m still perceived as different than my male coworkers in a way that definitely isn’t going to serve my career.

        1. Hrovitnir*

          Thank you. There is no downside to making your kindness (or “kindness”, since part of the problem is there can be very different motivations that are difficult to distinguish) gender-neutral, and those of us who wanted to be treated as just *people* rather than Women get to not feel super uncomfortable! Win-win!

  18. Ghostwriter*

    Two of my friends are RNs at a World Famous Medical Institution, and they met over a coding patient on a night shift. The patient lived, and they got married a couple years later.

    Just in case anyone needs a sweet romantic story in the midst of the stories of heartbreak and carnage.

    1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

      I’m just imagining their Valentine’s Day cards: “Roses are red, Violet coded blue, when we restored systolic rhythm, I got so into you”

      1. Tabby Baltimore*

        When you retire, you MUST, MUST, MUST find a job writing for Hallmark’s modern-day greetings line. You will CRUSH the competition.

      1. Ghostwriter*

        I don’t think so. That would make the story way more awesome than her throwing equipment at him, and him looking her up in the organization-wide directory after the fact.

    2. paul*

      I hope any and all heart shaped cards are anatomically accurate, with all four chambers and all the valves.

  19. cookie monster*

    about 10 years ago, I worked for a HUGE company. We had an annual regional meeting where about 1000 of us would get together for a few days. It was typical for people to get unreasonably drunk during the evenings of these events and to go out and party. One night, a group of us , all on the same level, went out dancing. Fergus, the HR representative for our area joined us-he was the only one there that was not on the same level. Fergus and one of my (married with children) colleagues Jane were all over one another. The next morning, Jane was seen leaving Fergus’s room. They started a relationship together. Then Jane ran into problems with her manager Susan and Susan was later fired with the help of Fergus. Susan found out about the relationship and challenged her firing, and then Fergus and Jane were both fired. Sue remained fired because despite everything, she was a terrible person and the firing was justified once everything about her was dug into by a non-involved HR rep. Jane’s marriage fell apart, she left her husband and children to move in with Fergus in another state. Last I checked (about 5 years ago) they were still together.

    1. she was a fast machine*

      So many stories like this make me wonder why people stick it out with their fellow cheater. Is it because they really are well matched, or do they suffer from a serious sunk cost issue? As in, I did a lot of things for this relationship, I can’t end it.

      1. Gadfly*

        I wonder if the non-cheater (when one isn’t in a seperate relationship and the other is) sometimes feels guilt about the cheater destroying their other relationship for them

          1. Lissa*

            Yup. I think it’s a nice morality story that people who cheat/break up marriages are terrible in every way, and can never have a successful relationship, but not really accurate. There are definitely people like this, but I’ve seen the whole spectrum. (And just to head off the “you wouldn’t say that if you’d ever had it happen to you”, I have! People can have experienced a thing and still react differently about it.)

      2. Zombii*

        It’s not always malicious. Some people are really bad at ending relationships (some people have to actually have a new relationship lined up before they’re willing to end a relationship they already know isn’t working); this isn’t fair to the other partner, obviously, and is intended more as an explanation than an excuse.

  20. RKB*

    My boyfriend and I (3 years) met on Tinder and later found out we are both employed by the city. Though in vastly different departments. He’s in recycling and I’m in parks and recreation. It’s funny because we get the same internal memos, but the way the city runs our departments varies extensively so we get to compare bureaucracy.

    Some more good and bad:

    My coworker met her now fiancé at our work. He maintained the ice rinks. My boyfriend used to maintain ice rinks. My boss’s boyfriend also used to maintain ice rinks. Something about those arena boys…

    My boyfriend’s coworker slept with another coworker who is married. His wife is pregnant. Oh! And now that coworker is pregnant. Their due dates are a month apart. I suspect he also was sleeping with someone else, because he caught the clap, but coworker 1 doesn’t have it, and neither does his wife.

    In the vein of workplace romance, I work for the city recreation centres and I suspect tomorrow we will see lots of our regular couples sporting some new bling.

      1. JustaTech*

        I *really* hope they get tested, having an active clap infection during delivery can make the baby go blind.

      1. Bomb Yogi*

        When I read the line about her working in Parks and Rec, and the boyfriend working in Recycling, I thought to myself, “I don’t remember Leslie ever hooking up with Joe the sewage guy.”

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Ice rinks, man. One arena boy went through like four of the older skaters and is now married to one of them. A coach married one of the hockey dads. A husband and wife team was hired–she was a Russian coach, he the skating director. He got fired after messing with some of the teenage skaters and they disappeared. I hope she dumped his ass.
      I never met anyone there, but in hindsight I’m kind of glad!

  21. Going Anon This Time*

    This was at a University job, I used to have. So, two of my coworkers, one a TA and the other a Lab Worker, were having an affair with each other. It was very obvious and they did a very poor job of hiding their activities. Plus, it was totally awkward anytime the TA’s wife came around. She was super nice and I hated feeling like I was lying to her. Well, they had a habit of slipping off during work time and making out in the Departmental Library stacks. One day, the Librarian walked in on them while they were in action.

    Needless to say, within the week, the Lab Worker had been transferred to a different department and the TA had lost his prestigious position with our Department and was transferred to another area.

    Last I heard, they were married. So, I guess kinda a happy ending?

    1. Wants to be anon*

      I work in a lab. For a while people thought that I was dating a coworker because I had the same name as his girlfriend and we hang out a lot. One particularly funny time we went out for happy hour and his girlfriend was meeting us there. He and his girlfriend were regulars there and the waiter was being really weird and avoiding all eye contact. It wasn’t until his girlfriend showed up and the waiter started smiling and acting normal that we realized he thought my coworker was cheating on his girlfriend!

      1. Annie Moose*

        At OldJob, I worked with a good friend of mine, Fergus. Sometimes Fergus, his wife Jane, and I would go out after work. Because he and I worked in the same building and left at the same time, we’d often get to the place together and have to wait a few minutes for Jane to get there. VERY OFTEN we’d be assumed to be together (even though he wears a wedding ring and I, being unmarried, do not) until Jane showed up… it was kind of amusing to see this brief moment of hesitation when a waiter would come back to the table after Jane had arrived (wearing a wedding ring and sitting next to her husband, naturally), look back and forth between us, and rearrange the relationship cards in their head!

        This happened enough that all of us used to joke that I and another female friend of ours were his girlfriends, and argue over which of us got to be Girlfriend #1 and who had to be Girlfriend #2. I dunno why random strangers repeatedly thought I was in a relationship with Fergus!

        1. CC*

          Because a woman and a man doing anything together *obviously* are in a relationship. They can’t possibly be co-workers or friends. (eyeroll)

          Not a relationship story, but: I was on a work trip with a co-worker of the opposite gender. We shared a rental car so necessarily arrived at the hotel together. We had separate reservations at the hotel. We were still asked one room or two? (Brief look at each other… uh, two? As booked? We’re co-workers, thanks, that’s why we reserved two rooms and not one.)

      2. hermit crab*

        Haha! For a while I shared a workspace with my coworker (and friend) whose brother has the same, not-too-common first name as my husband. Occasionally we (me, husband, coworker, brother) would all hang out on the weekend or go to the same event or whatever. I’m pretty sure anyone overhearing our casual “what are you up to this weekend” conversations would assume that my coworker and I were sisters-in-law.

        There’s also the coworker who everyone thought I was dating, when that wasn’t true.

      3. Chinook*

        This happened when DH was off on police training. He ended up becoming great friends with one of the women in his troop and was quite open about her with me from the start. I even met her when I came up to visit at the half way point. Thing is, everyone else on the troop thought they were having an affair (they weren’t and I have reason to trust both of them on this) and their troopmates refused to make eye contact with me whenever I was near her.

        Dh’s friend and I ended up becoming friends and, because of the awkward looks their classmates were giving us, we arranged to share seats next to each other on our flight back home. The looks on his troopmates’ faces when we sat next to each other on the 4 hour flight back east was priceless, especially because we both ganged up on DH and teased him mercilessly. All 3 of us just couldn’t get over the fact that these new cops just couldn’t wrap their heads around the idea of a man and a woman just being friends.

      4. Cube Farmer*

        That sounds as awkward as the time the guy I was dating brought his supposedly DEAD wife into the restaurant where I worked and I had to wait on them. I was professional and never let on. I didn’t want to be the one to tell her her husband was scum and that she had died two years ago.

        1. LeftWantingtoKnowMore*

          So this reader would love to hear the rest of the story! He knew you worked there, right? WTH??!!
          Did you ever hear from him again, was he awkward during the dinner or play it off like a pro?
          That’s easily one of the worst I’ve heard!

        2. Cube Farmer*

          Sorry the reply is so late…

          Yes he knew I worked there because that is where I MET him. I have no idea why he brought her there but I always imagined the following conversation took place:

          Scum: Where would you like to go out to eat?
          Dead wife: Oh, how about that sports bar/bbq place you spend so much time in?
          Scum: Nah, you wouldn’t want to go there…
          Dead wife: Sure I would. I would LOVE to meet your friends there.
          Scum: But…
          Dead wife: I insist. (Cold stare)

          I was actually glad it happened because the absolute fear on his face every time I came to the table was so worth it.

      5. Mirax*

        One of my exes and I stayed good friends after a breakup. We still avoid taking other friends to “our restaurant” because of how tight we’d been with the staff there. (And we still go there frequently! I don’t think we’ve actually signaled to the hostesses that we broke up.)

  22. Kelly L.*

    I love how our pool of pseudonyms makes it sound like we’re all talking about the same 4 or 5 people, and they’re all beyond promiscuous! :D

      1. Anna*

        I know a cat named Fergus, so it’s a lot of fun for me. I should copy Fergus posts to my friend so she too can read about her cat’s escapades.

    1. FlyingFergus*

      My boyfriend’s dog is named Fergus, and he will totally go home with anyone. (I started reading this site after we named him.)

  23. fposte*

    I once interviewed at a location where the relationships were so intricate somebody there took me aside to brief me: famous person who used to work there was once married to semi-famous person who still worked there. However, current department chair, different last name, also used to be married to semi-famous person and they work together amicably.

    I kind of admired the approach–it was clearly something they got questions about but it wasn’t a touchy subject, so they just included it in the applicant briefing.

    1. Jadelyn*

      You know, at least they’re getting it all out in the open. Probably the best way to avoid salacious gossip, tbh.

    2. orchidsandtea*

      At my alma mater, two of the professors had been divorced for some twenty years, but they were so relaxed about it (and had a common name, like Brown) that I didn’t notice for years.

      1. Elsajeni*

        At my alma mater, two professors in the same department were in the middle of a contentious divorce; my then-boyfriend was majoring in their field, so he was taking classes from both of them, and one of them was his advisor. It was a weird couple of semesters.

      2. awkwardlyowl*

        The very small college my father worked at had a spate of professors marrying their students. My father was my mother’s academic advisor, and the relationship was considered mildly scandalous. They eloped about 6 months after her graduation. Then, she and my father divorced, and she started dating ANOTHER professor in a different department. This was MUCH more awkward, and the department secretary (who was amazing, and may have secretly run the college) was drafted to help my father avoid my stepfather for the duration of the divorce proceedings. When people at the college met me, there were often odd looks that I didn’t understand until I was MUCH older.

    3. Hankie Enlightenment (formerly Sarahnova)*

      I got given a briefing on office relationships at an old job!

      I should have heeded the red flag that it was. As a culture, it was a complete cluster with way too many people who were cheating on their partners with other employees, and senior people who could still not be in the same room due to who slept with who twenty years before.

    4. Nynaeve*

      I got briefed on the relationship triangles when I first started my last job. The CEO had two ex-wives who worked there and was rumored to be having an affair with one of the directors. One of the ex-wives was now married to the IT director and their daughter worked in one of the departments. (Not the only mother-daughter pairing, either. This place was a family business in all the wrong ways.)

      They eventually wrote a nepotism policy, but it didn’t exactly smooth anything over.

      1. Spice for this*

        I wish someone at my old job had briefed me on the relationships! After working there for several months I slowly started to find out that many of the employees were married, somehow related or dating other employees!
        And most of them loved to twist the truth about work related stuff (so that they looked good and non related employees looked bad), just sat at their desk and played on their smart phones or surfed the internet! Then after working 5 hours, they would sneak out the back door to leave for the day.

  24. Kathleen Adams*

    This isn’t my workplace romance story, thank goodnesss, but…

    Years ago I started a new job, and one of the women there was called…let’s say Lisa One. Within one month of my going to work there, her divorce, which apparently had been in the works since before I knew her, was finalized and she went back to her maiden name, let’s say Lisa Two. It can’t have been more than a couple of months after that that she started dating a guy at work called Leo Three, and it can’t have been more than a couple months after they started dating that they decided to get married and she became Lisa Three.

    So in less than six months, this woman went by three different names. I have no idea how she kept up. I only worked there a year so I don’t know how things turned up, but I have from time to time wondered what her name is now.

    1. MoinMoin*

      I also worked with someone who in two years went from Lisa Divorced Name, to Lisa Second Marriage Name, to Lisa Maiden Name, to Lisa Third Marriage Name. It was a bit of a joke but she was a good sport about it. Having jumped through all the hoops to change my name once, if she’s tough enough to go through all that so many times she’s tough enough for a joke or two.

      1. Michelle*

        We have a woman like this at work. When I meet her she was Jane Married Name. She got divorced and less than a year later was Jane Second Marriage Name. That marriage ended and she changed her name back to Jane Maiden Name. Married a third time and is now Jane Third Marriage Name.

    2. OhNo*

      I had a teacher do that in high school, which was beyond confusing because she went from a very distinctive name, to a very common name that several other teachers shared, to another very common name that several teachers shared.

      There were many conversations that included the exchange, “Wait, which Ms. Three? Math, P.E., or civics?”

      1. Lemon Zinger*

        One of my high school teachers got a divorce over the summer. I knew her as Ms. P, but everyone who’d had her before kept slipping up and calling her Mrs. S., much to her frustration!

        The divorce was obviously really hard on her, and she spent a lot of class periods talking about how crappy her ex was. She met a lovely man that year, started dating him, and they are now married.

        1. Julia*

          While I do feel sorry for her, I can’t help but find it super inappropriate to talk about your crappy ex in class.

          1. TootsNYC*

            plus, what a huge waste of students’ precious time!

            I remember thinking that when I was a student–that I only had 50 minutes of class time, and I wanted to make the most of it. I was OK w/ going slow because someone was learning, but I got pissed off bigtime if students were misbehaving and wasting time.

            As a parent now, with a grownup’s realization of exactly how little time my child has to learn in school, I’d be so pissed.

    3. Fiona the Lurker*

      Oh, this has reminded me that a long time ago I worked with two men who had both been married to the same woman; she’d divorced Nigel – who was already her second husband – and then married Steve. She didn’t work there, thank goodness, because it was already fairly awkward, but Nigel and Steve didn’t really have overlapping responsibilities so the drama was kept to a minimum; I don’t think they spoke to one another at all, but they didn’t need to. The kicker was that all three husbands’ surnames began with the same letter; the office joke was that the wife would never need to change the monogram on anything, and if she was ever looking for a fourth husband she’d have quite a limited pool to choose from.

      1. Kathleen Adams*

        I had another coworker who did the same thing as Lisa: She was Jane One when I met her, then she divorced her husband, changed her name back to her maiden name and became Jane Two, then remarried and became Jane Three. But Jane did this in about two years, whereas Lisa did it in 5-6 months.

        Re the “surnames that began with the same letter” that Fiona mentions, my late FIL was married three times, and his wives were named something along these lines: (1) Mary, (2) Maryann and (3) Marina. I used to tell my husband that if I were him, I’d just call them all “Honey.”

        1. Mike B.*

          That brings to mind Johnny Carson’s first three wives: Jody, Joanne, and Joanna. (The fourth wife broke the pattern and lasted longer than any of her predecessors.)

        2. Poster Child*

          My friend’s three serious relationships’ names all started with J. She only married the last one but for years I had to repeat his name in my head to avoid calling him the wrong name, especially since she was with the second guy for a long time and had a rather dramatic breakup. They all looked similar to each other too.

          1. Sparkly Librarian*

            My cousin keeps bringing her boyfriends home for Christmas (usually a new one every year, sometimes she comes single and we see a new one the next time the family gets together). Four or five in a row started with J. When she finally broke that pattern and brought S to Thanksgiving, we thought it might be a sign. Until next year she brought a DIFFERENT S….

            1. Julia*

              Talk about relationship patterns and having a type!

              My parents’ neighbour had two boyfriends with the same first name in a row. We joked that she didn’t even need to change out his personalised towels.

            2. Lissa*

              I had a friend who dated Jason, James and Juan. Then she came out as bi and dated a Julie. I can’t make this up!

            3. S-Mart*

              Late to the party here, but my last three girlfriends (the last of which is now my wife – been together 17 years) were named Jen.

              1. Noobtastic*

                Growing up, my mother dated several very nice men (seriously, she has no “I dated a jerk” stories! Amazing!), all of whom had the very same first name. Yep, Fergus got around!

                Then, she moved away, met and married my father, and when she brought him back to her home town for a visit, the people there didn’t even ask his first name. They called him Fergus.

                Wakeen really hates the name Fergus, now.

                Also, I’d like to put out an apology for another story I told that used names deviating from the approved list. I’m still new (-ish) here, and didn’t realize.

                1. Mental Mouse*

                  OK, thanks! I suspected as much (I’ve seen that sort of local tradition form on other sites), but I just wanted to make sure.

          2. Meghan*

            My aunt “Jane” was married to a guy named “John” who before my aunt was married to a woman named “Jane.” My aunt and “John” get divorced and she married another man named John.

            Fast forward a few decades, her daughter (my cousin) marries and divorces a man named “Mark.” Then got married to another man named “Mark.”

      2. Pineapple*

        I have a relative whose first and second husbands were both named Max. They don’t look at all alike, but at least one distant acquaintance got confused and thought thre most likely explanation was that there was a single Max who had radically altered his appearance.

  25. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

    The closest I’ve ever come to a workplace romance was one of my labmates in grad school. Same advisor, similar research, lots of late nights doing lab work with lots of down time while the PCR cycler ran…it was pretty natural. And it was really anything but a disaster; it was fun and easy and low-key, we didn’t make demands of each other we knew we couldn’t honor, we collaborated on research, and it ended gently and without hurt feelings either way. We’re still friends.

    1. Julia*

      It’s not the fun when there are three of you and the other two have something weird going on. I finally understand how Harry Potter must have felt.

    2. RavensandOwls*

      A little late to the party, but my experience is similar; no workplace romances except for Grad School Round 1. The breakup was… not ideal… but we still talk and share stories about what we’re up to, and we’re both happily married to people who fit our personalities much better.

  26. Adam*

    Mine’s pretty tame, thankfully, as I’m the only one who knew it happened. My first “real” job post college was in an office setting and I started to get a little crush on one of my co-workers in the same department. Right away sounds like a bad idea right? But still, I really liked her. We had similar senses of humor and energy levels and I thought the very least we could have an interesting coffee date or something.

    I’m very slow to get going on these sorts of things so I waited a good long while before I decided to work up the nerve to approach her. Well apparently the Saint of Preventing Embarrassing Blunders was smiling on me then because the week I worked up the nerve to talk to her before I could do so I discovered that she was, in fact, a lesbian. (This tends to be a pattern with me: I don’t crush very often but when I do it nearly always is with someone who I have zero chance with for one reason or another, and I usually don’t know what that reason is at first)

    But no harm, no foul. We continued to have a great working relationship through my time at the company, she eventually met her partner, got married and has two kids, and I am spending Valentine’s day with another single friend watching Attack on Titan.

    Happy Valentine’s/Singles-Awareness Day!

    1. GigglyPuff*

      Oh my god this is exactly what happened to me. Really started liking a guy I was working with at both of our first post school job. We got along great, I could let a little more of my sarcasm out with him…and later learned he was gay and in a relationship (he just didn’t talk about it a lot because he was from the rural South).

    2. AMG*

      Okay, I have one. Denise, Tim, Joe and I all worked together. Denise and I were friends, Denise and Joe shared a cube, and I was Tim’s replacement. Tim was moving to another role in the company on the other side of town. I casually mentioned to Denise (who I was friends with before I started working there) that Tim is kinda cute.

      The next thing I know, Joe finds out and I’m going on a date with Tim. Ugh. It was like dating-your-brother awkward. And the goodnight kiss? Imagine a mother robin force-feeding her baby a worm. Just awful. At about the same time, I start dating my future husband. Break it off with Tim, who could barely conceal his happiness. Why would he bother going out with me in the first place then, you ask?

      Because he was in the closet. Joe had suspected as much, and called his bluff by setting us up. Tim slammed the closet door shut and locked it by going out with me. We didn’t find out until a few years later when Tim came out on his own.

      The funny thing was, my husband sent me flowers at work one day a couple of months after we were dating. The whole office was absolutely giddy, assuming they were from Tim. Only more so when I told them sheepishly that they were from my boyfriend. ‘Ooh, and what’s your boyfriend’s name?!?!’ They teased. Me: ‘uh, Pat.’ They were shocked and dissppointed but it was funny.

      Poor Tim.

      1. Adam*

        Yeesh, I’m generally pretty neutral on office dating, but this makes me glad my current org really frowns upon it. I have enough trouble keeping my family out of my love life.

  27. FDCA In Canada*

    My parents met via a commute to work!

    As young people they both worked at the same bank, but in vastly different departments and had never met. They knew each other by sight at the bus stop and one evening sat together on the bus ride home–not talking or anything, just sitting. My mom fell asleep on my dad’s shoulder, and he went to wake her up at her stop and asked her to go see a movie. (The movie was 2001: A Space Odyssey, where my mom ALSO fell asleep. She was a very lovely and charming young woman, which is probably why my dad wanted to continue going out with a woman who kept falling asleep on him all the time.)

    Thirty-five years married this year, all because they had a long commute.

    1. Adam*

      *Laughs for two reasons:
      1. That’s adorable.
      2. The last stranger to accidentally fall asleep on me on a bus was a dude.

      1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

        I’m a 34 year old dude. I traveled for work last month and had a girl who was maybe 13 or 14 fall asleep on my shoulder. AWKWAAAAAARD. I woke her up, because either people were going to think I was her dad, or call the cops on me once we landed.

        1. Adam*

          Yeah, I’m pretty easy-going about most sleeping people for some reason, but I definitely would have woken her up too.

          1. TL -*

            Oh, I do not let people fall asleep on me – I have a very effective innocent elbow to the ribs when the vehicle jostles move.

      1. Kelly L.*

        I fell asleep during it too. To this day I don’t know what happened during like the middle 2/3 of it.

          1. NACSACJACK*

            Thank you. I hated the movie and I’m a sci fi geek. To this day any mention of Stanley Kubrick has me running in the opposite direction.

      2. Fiennes*

        I used to think this, and then I tried watching it one afternoon when I had a high fever and had taken a lot of NyQuil. And it was GENIUS.

        I mean this–it’s genuinely brilliant–but it is truly intended for audiences who are not in a state of normal consciousness/sobriety. Like one of those optical illusions that only looks right held underwater.

        I’m not advocating use of illegal substances here–but if you’re wondering what to do the next time you’re home sick and half out of your head…

    2. Collie*

      This is an adorable movie scenario, but I’d be so mortified if it happened to me! Glad it worked out for them! :)

    3. Elemeno P.*

      This is very cute!

      My parents met at work. Mom was a waitress, Dad was a new bartender. Very Professional Boss introduced my mom with, “This is Mom- buy her a drink, and she’ll dance on the table.” Dad said, “Hi, I’m Dad. Can I buy you two drinks?”

      Very classy.

  28. Zip Silver*

    Back in my high school retail job, I had a wild fling with one of my coworkers for several months. Everything went pretty well, we ended things amicably, and we ended things when we went to different colleges. As far as juicy goes, we did hook up in the stock room twice after closing, which was fun because of how daring it was. Ahhh high school.

  29. Elaine*

    Years ago I started with a company and met my (now ex) boyfriend. We tried to keep it a secret, fairly successful, for about six months. After that, he transferred to a different location in the same city (same company, etc.), and I was promoted. Soon after, the stress of my job put us on the rocks and we broke up. Every once in a while we’d run into each other at work-related things. Until this winter, when I was promoted again. To the location he still works at.
    Needless to say, I’ve sworn off workplace romance.

  30. SNS*

    Not quite a workplace romance, but my dad’s coworker used to try to set him up on blind dates all the time. But the ones he would go on never worked out. Finally he told her he would go on one more, and then he was done. And that date was my mom, so in a way he was right.

    1. AKJ*

      One of my Dad’s older coworkers got sick of hearing Dad complain about being single and suggested Dad go on a date with Older Coworker’s single niece, who was close to Dad’s age. The niece ended up being my mom and they’re still together, over forty years later.

  31. Lizabeth*

    I meet my Sweet Baboo at work, but I waited until I left the company to go out with him (only nine months there and he’s still gainfully employed there) 10 years later we’re still together :)

    1. Veruca*

      In high school, I was a cashier at a local store. I frequently went on my Saturday lunch hours to a fried chicken restaurant.
      One day the normally very shy fry cook from the chicken restaurant came to my store. He sauntered in, very skinny, very blond, and wearing a purple velour pimp coat, his hair spiked in late ’90s glory.
      He tossed me a look of supreme confidence, and proceeded to slowly strut the length of the store and back. He finished his stud-walk by presenting me his card with a flourish, then walking out with a smug smile. He never said a word.
      I was speechless. Baffled. At seventeen, I had never seen such a display.
      I found out later that he had a huge crush on me. (Which explains why my four piece chicken meal always came with seven pieces.) A cashier at his restaurant felt really bad for him, so she told him that while I was ordering, I told her that I was in love with him. In LOVE!
      She was hoping to give him a little boost of confidence so he would talk to me. Well, she turbo charged his confidence! Obviously, any girl who would confess love of him while ordering fried chicken was a sure deal.
      No, we didn’t date. And my chicken meals went back to only four pieces.

      1. EddieSherbert*

        “And my chicken meals went back to only four pieces.”

        Saddest part right there. This is too good!

  32. Extra anonymous*

    This doesn’t count as a “romance” but it is a deeply embarrassing disaster that resulted in no less than 3 people being fired, including my manager. At OldJob, there was an apartment complex within a couple of blocks and after work parties were a thing.

    Three managers and an undisclosed number of non-management employees had what can only be described as an orgy one night complete with pictures. Pictures that were sent to our very conservative general manager by accident! The managers were all immediately let go. I’ve always been a little foggy on how the pics got to the GM, some speculated that the sender did it deliberately, but the official story given was that when typing names into the email the wrong one autopopulated.

        1. Zombii*

          Points are awarded for locations, not activities. I’m assuming the photos were someone’s attempt to make sure points were being counted accurately. Then the photographer was shorted points for not documenting his/her participation correctly, and sent the photos to the GM to get revenge.

    1. SophieChotek*

      I can believe the auto-populated.
      I once wrote an email to my mother (mentioning by name my graduate advisor). Fortunately for me, it was one of the FEW emails I ever sent to my mother not complaining about how awful my graduate advisor was — I was actually complaining about a different prof. My graduate advisor replied and was (for him, since he was known to leave classmates in tears in class)…surprisingly nice about it.
      Yes…autopopulate…an awful thing…

      1. Erika*

        Haven’t you ever heard all the terrible stories of people looking at porn at work? I guess this kills two birds with one stone.

      1. Creag an Tuire*

        Wait, wait, are you telling me I wasn’t supposed to take pictures for the company newsletter?

        Oh. Oh dear.

    2. LizB*

      Of all the bad decisions that had to happen to make this story possible… I think choosing to send the pictures of your workplace orgy to the other participants through your work email system (which is what I’m assuming had to be used if the GM’s address autopopulated) is the icing on the cake. Once you’re close enough with a colleague to be having orgies with them, I feel like you’re also close enough to know their personal email address, right?

  33. seejay*

    Oh oh oh, I have one. It’s terrible though. Like, jaw-dropping, terrible, and “WHY THE HELL DID YOU DO THAT.”

    So, as the company fraud/investigations department, we got called in because during a department (very large company) xmas party, one of the female employees went to her management and claimed that a male colleague had slipped her a date rape drug. Her only evidence was that she was flirting with him, but she blacked out. She had no evidence of assault, she woke up at home and her friends said that they’d gotten her into a cab when it was obvious she had too much to drink. She said that she knew she didn’t drink *that* much, knew her limits, and there was no way she’d ever blacked out like that before, so he *must* have tried to roofie her to assault her, and she wanted him fired. Problem was, it was a he-said, she-said, she hadn’t gone to the hospital, there was no evidence of any drugs in her system, and no evidence of an assault. There really wasn’t anything we could do about it.

    On a lark, my manager told me to pull the email accounts of both employees, just to see if there was any evidence of a relationship prior to the xmas party. Maybe we could get some insight to something going on before hand and this might shed some light into the accusations (since there was no evidence to support her claims). Note, it’s not that we didn’t believe her, but without any evidence to back her up other than her statement that she was black-out drunk and that it had never happened before, the company wasn’t willing to just jump ahead on the assumption that someone had drugged her and she hadn’t really just drank too much.

    I pulled the emails and started going through them. I found emails between her and the guy she was accusing. Um… there were lots of flirting and… well… sexually explicit emails between them. O_O Mostly directly from her to him, about things she wanted to do to him. Oh hey, one had an attachment. Opened it up. NUDES. OF HER. ON HER WORK EMAIL. Yep, she was sending him nude photos of herself through the work email network.

    And it got better.

    He was forwarding them to his buddies, also in the company.

    I threw my hands up in the air, packaged the whole thing up, handed it to my boss and said “here’s your massive employee misconduct issue, feel free to bring it to their manager”.

    I don’t know what happened after that, as a forensic tech I generally didn’t get to find out the outcome of cases, but that was one massive pile of poo that I stepped in and then went screaming from really fast.


    1. Jadelyn*

      WHY DOES THAT HAVE TO BE AN EXPLICIT LESSON??? I just. I would think – hope – that “don’t send nudes to coworkers via company email” is the sort of thing that would be self-evident. I mean clearly it’s not, but…no.

      1. Kate, short for Bob*

        You’d think it would be a given, but one time I had to walk a contractor off the premises for surfing hardcore gay porn at his desk – next to our female admin, and his defence was “nobody told me I shouldn’t”.


        1. seejay*

          Same company, we had an employee discipline issue where one of our employees swung his monitor around to a customer and said “HEY CHECK THIS OUT!” to a very hardcore spread-eagle naked woman image. Customer, rightfully, was pissed, went and filed a complaint, and the employee doubled down and denied it. I pulled his email and there was the image in all its full naked glory in his inbox (he’d deleted the email but when you work for the biggest employer in the country, we capture all incoming and outgoing email *for security reasons*).

          The stupid thing? I don’t think they could actually fire him. He got shuffled off to a different location and put in an office where he wasn’t working with customers.

          So yes, employees are usually outright stupid and “no porn at work” isn’t always clearly obvious. :|

            1. seejay*

              I genuinely don’t know. >< Big companies, employee protections, garbage like that? From what I was told, it was essentially a major reprimand but there wasn't any outright rule violation or something like that. It's also not in a country/province with at-will employment so there has to usually be something clearly egregious.

              Trust me, I kind of jaw-dropped when I was told he wasn't fired either. I thought it was a clear cut-and-dry "you get canned for this" behaviour. My manager said that it was highly unlikely due to the guy's position and that it was a first offense (at least that had been complained about) and other BS, and that he was just going to be shuffled off to another branch and not allowed to interact with customers. I believe my response was "what is this, the Catholic church???" and was told that it wasn't funny. At least I couldn't get fired for making the comment, since apparently you can flash porn to customers and not get fired for it?

        2. Anon for This*

          Not strictly a “coworker”, but one of my colleagues had to represent someone who was caught engaging in — ahem — self-love at his desk.

          The same person was also the subject of a harassment complaint by multiple women, because evidently Fergus’s way of welcoming new female employees to the job was to invite them to a hotel room and suggest various hotel-room related activities to engage in. Fergus admitted to his union rep that these allegations were true, but that “That’s not harassment! If they blow me off I don’t ask them twice!”

          I don’t think we saved his job.

        3. Arya Parya*

          You’d think. I worked in the IT department about five years ago and the network drives were starting to fill up. So our network- and system administrator was checking if people weren’t using the company network drives to store personal data. Sure enough he found a guy with loads pornographic images stored there. So he went over to the guy to tell him to not do that anymore. And without betting an eye, this guy asked “is it okay to store them on the harddrive of my pc then?”. Our admin was so flabbergasted, he told him sure.

    2. rageismycaffeine*

      I’m constantly shocked by what people will say on their work email, but this is a new one. I almost want to applaud.

    3. MoinMoin*

      Man, I always get nervous when people even swear in work related emails. I just assume it flags some sort of internal filter and even if the emails are totally fine otherwise I don’t want to be associated with too many flags or something.

      1. seejay*

        As far as I know, we didn’t have filters other than spam and virus filters and this was for one of the top 10 employers of the country (and a financial institute). The volume of email going in and out of the company is pretty massive and not really feasible to be monitoring unless we absolutely needed to monitor someone specific. (That being said, I wasn’t that high up on the totem pole, it could be that there was other more nefarious things going on that I didn’t know about). If there was actual things we needed to find, we either went looking after the fact that we knew about something (such as the case of the employee crying date rape drug), or when we had a major fraud investigation going on for a specific employee, so I had a few monitoring searches going on their activity/email (not actual monitoring/spying, but I’d pull reports of their daily activity that they’d done and their incoming and outgoing emails to check for anomalies to send to the investigators in charge of the case, but this was for a multi-million dollar fraud investigation that had been going on for several years at the time and we were amassing evidence).

        Some companies might install spyware and stuff, but I would think, for the most part, most companies wouldn’t bother given the volume that would trip it. It’s usually easier to just go searching when you know what you’re looking for.

      2. Anonicat*

        The more diverse your workplace is, the harder it is to flag individual words without causing more trouble than it’s worth. Many years ago I worked at a university that tried to filter emails straight to spam based on individual words and it only lasted a week. We suddenly stopped getting emails from our important collaborator in Vietnam, because her name is Dong. Meanwhile, the ornithology department found they could no longer discuss tits and cocks.

        1. seejay*

          One of my favourite images is “look at the TITS ON THIS”, which is a picture of two little birds standing on a big image of the word “THIS”.

          And then I send it to people at their work place, just to watch them freak out.

          (of course, workplaces that won’t freak out in the first place just for the words)

      3. Elizabeth West*

        Swearing doesn’t bother me too much. When the timing is right, it can be hilarious. My excellent old boss and I were in the middle of trying to parse some really crazy stuff from accounting and we finally gave up and she sent me this:

        I cried laughing at my desk. :D

    4. JB*

      Also, if you’re going to send noods of yourself through your work email, maybe don’t make a loud complaint that brings you to the attention of the company fraud investigation people?

      BTW, you sound like you have a cool job. Are you more on the HR, IT, or Internal Audit/Compliance side?

      1. seejay*

        I’m no longer in that job anymore, this was back in 2004-2008 unfortunately. :( I moved and had to quit and I’ve been a software engineer since.

        I was in IT though, I was a computer forensic technician and worked for an internal fraud investigations department in a financial institute. We mainly focused on company fraud, but also handled a fair share of employee misconduct, skimming, phishing, false checks and a few other things that fell under the financial fraud banner as well. My certification expired awhile ago, but I’m hoping that once a few things fall into place and once I finish grad school, I can find my way back into the field. It has some juicy stories at times.

    5. Anon for this*

      I also have a crazy story involving an employee sending nudes on a work computer.

      I had to fire an employee for not doing her job. After she left she was very concerned about getting a reservation or ticket for something off her work email. We had reason to suspect she had been up to some shady financial stuff and we were worried she was trying to cover her tracks. We told her to give us the date/company and we’d find the reservation for her. She didn’t respond. More suspicious, we searched her emails.

      We are a non-profit so we have volunteers. She was sleeping with another staff member’s husband and the husband is also a volunteer. The fired employee and the volunteer had been sending nudes via their work emails while the volunteers wife worked in the same office!! It’s one big room with 4 desks. I can’t even.

      1. seejay*

        Wow. Just… wow! O_O
        I’m not quite sure the logistics of how these coworkers (the woman sending nudes to her male coworker and then him forwarding them on to his buddies) were all connected, their desks, offices, set ups, etc… it was a whole other department in another building separate from my department, and being the fraud investigations department, I just stayed away from knowing most people in the company (really, no one really wants to know you when they find out that you legit can go snooping through their email and records and everything). But that’s some pretty big brass balls to be doing shady stuff right there next to everyone.

      1. seejay*

        They don’t, but it made the situation far, far more complex and convoluted and messy. It was no longer “male employee may have drugged female employee at party but there’s no evidence of it other than he said/she said”. Now it was “female and male employee have been sending dirty emails back and forth at work, female employee sent nudes, male employee has been forwarding them to his male employee buddies, and it’s possible she found out and is PISSED OFF and is now concocting a story to get him in trouble, but either way both have behaved *really inappropriately* regardless of accusations, and this is a bigass mess that their respective managers and HR needs to sort out”.

        This is why our department was asked to go through their emails in the first place. The accusations were one thing, they wanted us to find out if there was something else going on that might back up or counter the accusation she had made… someone wondered if maybe she had continued conversations or a relationship with him after the party but before the accusation came out, possibly if she had discussed making a false accusation against him with a friend in email, etc. Basically, we were looking for evidence in their emails, which is company property, to try to untangle or make sense of the accusations because the company couldn’t act on her accusation without any evidence (she only had her claim, no medical evidence to support either drugging or an assault) and HR did want to take her claim seriously, so they had to do a full investigation on both sides, to see if there was merit in her claim. We weren’t looking to discredit her, as an investigations department, we were just looking for “evidence of any sort” to either support or refute. The company wanted to make sure they were protected from a lawsuit if they fired him, since they needed to be able to defend it as with cause, but if there’s no evidence… they kind of can’t do that.

        Suffice to say, it just looked really messy once the emails all came to light. ><

  34. MechE31*

    I had a coworker that I would do lunch with on a regular basis that started asking me to go to lunch right at this very moment on a semi-regular basis. I didn’t think much of it, just that she had just finished something or needed to be back at a particular time. Fast forward a long time (like a year).

    Apparently she had consensual relations with a coworker once, who then took it as a regular thing. She wanted to break it off, but couldn’t. He was a lead in a different department, but not a direct management role. Her way of getting out of their lunchtime meeting was running out to lunch with me.

    To add more drama, said guy was married and worked as a direct report to my friend’s father. It got really awkward when it all came out. Note that I was only a friend and had no romantic interest with said female.

  35. Finding Nemo*

    Long long LONG time ago, when I worked as a Counselor t a summer camp, I found a group of kids alone with no adult watching them. When I asked where their Counselor had gone, they said he went to have lunch with another Counselor. I hurried to the second group of kids and found them Counselor-less too. Apparently the two Counselors had started dating and decided to leave the camp to have lunch, leaving two groups of kids all alone.

    The Camp Leader did not fire them because we were understaffed for Counselors but gave them a strict talking-to. They didn’t pull that particular stunt again but they did often combine their two groups for lunch so they could eat together, even though groups were supposed to take lunches separately.

      1. wealhtheow*

        My kid’s camp has an acronym for that: RACBNAC (pronounced rack-ba-nack), which stands for “relationships are cool, but not at camp”.

        I mean, I *assume* it also applies to counsellors…

      1. Julia*

        Weirdly, one of my favourite young adult novels plays out mostly at a summer camp, but those counselors are at least responsible.

      2. Kelly L.*

        YA novels gave me unrealistic expectations about all the supposed romances I was going to be swept up in during my teen years. Every vacation, camp, or school project was supposed to lead to lurve, dammit! And we were supposed to have a formal dance about once a week. Possibly on a beach.

    1. K.*

      My first boyfriend was a fellow camp counselor! We never left kids alone though. He remains one of the few men I’ve been involved with that I stayed friends with after breaking up.

    2. On Fire*

      My husband and I met as counselors at a church camp. On the last night of camp, we stayed up all night, sitting in a public, visible, well-lit area, talking. Nothing hinky; the only time we even touched was shaking hands when we said goodbye the next day. (We did, however, see the camp director’s son vandalizing camp property – camp director happened by just when that happened and thought it was funny.)

      The next year, the camp announced a policy that counselors were discouraged from forming relationships.

    3. Terry D*

      My very first boyfriend was at summer camp! We were both campers, and it was fairly tame – holding hands at the camp fire, a few smooches on secluded paths, a lot of melodramatic sighing. Ultimately, we broke up after a few weeks, largely because we realized that we were both more interested in ~being in a relationship~ than in…actually being in a relationship. Everything amicable, no harm, no foul.

      Fast forward eleven months: we’re back at camp, this time as Junior Counselors. We find out, in talking with our now-colleagues, that we’d been the hot gossip the year before – Terry & Mickey, will they or won’t they, they’re so cute! That was bad enough (especially when the Director cornered me during lunch to ask if we were still together), but it got even more awkward during our JC training, when we were explicitly told that, owing to the power imbalance involved, we weren’t allowed to date regular counselors. And of course we couldn’t date campers, either.

      “So we can date…each other?” asked the third JC that year, a lovely young lady named Katie. Mickey & I looked at each other, and then very definitely did not look at each other.

      …Mickey and Katie were dating within three days.

  36. regina phalange*

    A few years ago I had a huge crush on a coworker. We worked on different teams but were on a project together. I assumed he was flirting with me, but come to find out, that’s just kind of his personality. I finally mustered up the courage to tell him I had a crush on him (via text, outside of work, on a weekend, when I was in a different city). He said he was flattered but he doesn’t date people from work. He’s now living with someone we work with. In hindsight, he was letting me down kindly and we would not have been a good match at all. I tried my best to pretend like nothing happened. The funny thing is that he STILL doesn’t talk about his girlfriend to me, ever, at all, three plus years later even though her and I are FB friends. It’s strange.

  37. Really*

    Many years ago I worked at a small retail store. Someone there had I party that I, the ass’t manager and manager all went to. It was clear that the ass’t manager and I liked each other. But what I didn’t know at the time was that the manager (who had brought a date) was crushing on the ass’t manager. I didn’t work there very long after that and never did date the ass’t manager.

  38. Detective Amy Santiago*

    I’ve mentioned in other posts that OldJob was a hotbed of inappropriate activity. Here are a few of my favorite stories.

    1. Guy in upper management was sleeping with two different ladies below him in the chain of command. He sent them both flowers. They figured out they were both sleeping with him. Surprisingly, they went on to become BFF and both continued sleeping with him.

    2. Two newer hires started hooking up during their training. One day, the dude came back from lunch late, looking all disheveled and sweaty. His manager found out that they went out and hooked up in the car on their lunch break. Gave him a warning. Not long after that, they were both fired because they had sex in one of the restrooms after hours and bragged about it.

    1. Kenji*

      I saw your username and immediately populated this story with the Brooklyn 99 cast. And it is a beautiful thing

  39. Allinthefamily*

    Big boss, founder of the company, was married to a department head (rather, she appointed her husband head of a department). She dumped him, but he continued to work for the company. She married a new guy and brought him in to the company as another department head. Ex-husband was introduced to a temp working for the company, married her, and she is made a department head (which she is entirely unqualified for, unsurprisingly). Head of another department is living with someone in his department – no, this is not a problem, they just rearranged the chain of command to make it work. Several other family units working together – spouses, cousins, in-laws, parents and their children.

    1. Gadfly*

      My last Old Job after a reorg ended up with a father and 2 of his 3 daughters all in I think the same chain of command–all under the same same boss anyway. Daughter 3 was in a related but different department. I think he and one of the two were peers directly reporting to the same boss/vp with daughter 2 reporring to daughter 1. It was not too obvious if you didn’t know since the daughters allhad married names, but there was some awkwardness.

  40. Anons*

    Not “romance,” but more Ewwww WTF on inappropriate romantic overtures.

    A friend and former colleague of mine, Jane, had a former supervisor of mine, Fergus, hit on her out of the blue. She never worked for him, but was friendly with him as were others. I didn’t work for him for very long since umoved to a different division a couples months after he came on board, but he was always really nice and offering advice to more junior staff (being at least 15-20 years older than most of us). We sometimes went to lunch with him. Like totally normal mentorship from someone more advanced in their career. At one point, Jane applied for a job in Fergus’ division, but lost out to another, very qualified colleague of ours. Fergus yook Jane to lunch and offered her tips for future career development.

    I moved away to a different city. Jane went to work fo a different organization and then moved to a different city along way away a couple years later as well. She contacted some former work folk, including Fergus, to keep in touch and let them know what she was up to.

    Well, Fergus sent her a *lengthy* missive about how much he missed her and couldn’t stop thinking about her. He then sent her sexual stuff. He said he wished he’d said something sooner. Could he fly out to see her? To say Jane was stunned and appalled was an understatement. She contacted me about it and we were both super skeeved out. She ended up telling him to never contact her again.

    It was all so wildly out of the blue and inappropriate!!

    Fergus, by the way, is married with kids. Jane is gay. Openly so.

    1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

      A good friend of ours is a lesbian, out and very public, activist in LGBT+ orgs, and so on. Still has male coworkers try to hit on her. She’s like “I drive a Subaru, I have short hair, and I wear my keys on a karabiner. I’m not sure what else I can do.”

        1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

          That used to be the stereotype, but since they started outselling Mazda and Volkswagen combined, I think it’s dying. And I’m in Colorado, where they issue them at the state line.

          1. Rainy, PI*

            Haha yeah, when I moved here I was surprised I wasn’t issued a Subaru and a large mutt as soon as I arrived.

            1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

              Welcome to Colorado. Here’s your Outback, an adorable rescue dog, and a craft beer.

              1. Rainy, PI*

                And I live in a city which should remain nameless but is rife with Outbacks, rescue dogs, and craft breweries, so it was particularly noticeable.

                My hiring announcement blurb, I included a line about my cat, because everyone else’s blurb mentioned their dogs.

                1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

                  Hate to break it to you, but you were a diversity hire. :D

                  Also, that description does not narrow things down.

              2. Ama*

                You know, my brother and his wife foster puppies and they were having a hard time finding adopters for one set where they live, so the rescue organization had them sent to a sister org in Colorado. I asked him why Colorado and he said “I dunno. There seems to be more demand there.”

              3. Tabby Baltimore*

                I want to make a giant poster out of this, drive to the first Colorado border I see, and plaster it on the over-the-highway welcome sign. On second thought, I’ll have a local-area elementary school child create it, THEN go find the nearest Colorado border to hang it at.

          2. MoinMoin*

            Recently moved to CO, can confirm. Fleece vest, dog, opinions about IPA, and hiking shoes that double as going-out shoes were also in my Front Range starter pack.

          3. chocoholic*

            I live in Colorado as well. My husband and I moved here in 2001, and in 2002 we took a trip to Washington DC to visit my sister. We saw a Subaru parked on the street, and commented on seeing a Subaru outside of Colorado. As we walked down the street, closer to the car, we noticed it had Colorado license plates on it.

            1. AMG*

              Haha! I’m in CO too. I don’t drive a Subaru and I don’t drink so I feel really culturally out of place sometimes. Just kidding. The rescue dogs totally make up for it.

              1. chocoholic*

                We just bought our first Subaru after living here for 13 years. We decided we needed to make ourselves official Coloradans. :D

          4. Clever Name*

            Yeah, I was going to say that pretty much everyone in Colorado drives a Subaru. Or a lifted Jeep Wrangler.

          5. Bryce*

            Back in the 90s when all-wheel-drive was new and proprietary, we got a Subaru because after the nice normal test drive we left the lot in our old car and discovered there was a patch of black ice at the exit that the Suba had completely ignored. Liked to joke that one of the dealers must be out there with a bucket when nobody was looking. Soon after that they showed up a lot more often in our part of NM, because even if it’s dry 90% of the time it’s below freezing most nights and morning ice was common in monsoon season. Not to mention snow, we used that Suba to push other stuck cars, which probably helped sales.

            I guess what things are stereotypical of depends on what they’re useful for. Nobody looks twice at a pickup truck in a rural area.

          1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

            Yep. That’s me – middle classish, outdoorsy, dog, kid, Outback.

            1. Adam*

              I had a green outback for a while until it randomly blew up on me. Just one of those freak things that happen to cars sometimes. I loved that thing though. Drove it all the way to Alaska and back.

              1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

                Yeah, mine’s been good to me, and I’ve taken it down some pretty fun trails.

              2. Corky's wife Bonnie*

                We just traded in our 2002 green one too, we loved it as well. Took us to our honeymoon to Canada and back. We now have a newer one, still trying to get used to the bells and whistles.

        2. ThatGirl*

          It can be two things! :)

          (For that matter they’re also sorta hippie-crunchy cars; my friend from Vermont drives one.)

        3. Kathleen Adams*

          My husband and I (neither of whom are lesbians :-) ) are about to get our third Subaru. But yeah, the combination of those particular characteristics should at least give people pause, I’d say.

        4. JB (not in Houston)*

          Lesbians loving Subarus is a stereotype but grounded in a kernel of truth. That led to Subaru being one of the first companies that did ad campaigns in the US specifically targeting gay and lesbian consumers. It’s kind of a cool story. I won’t link to any of the articles about it, but you can find them pretty easily if you’re interested.

          1. Singa*

            Yes! Highly recommend the Planet Money podcast about it http://www ( . ) npr ( . ) org/sections/money/2016/10/14/497958151/episode-729-when-subaru-came-out

        5. Anon for this*

          In the Southeast, subarus are pretty diverse, but the across-the-board stereotype down here is that they drive slowly in the left lane.

          Whatever the creed, sexuality, race, etc. of the driver, it seems almost all of people who are attracted to that Make of vehicle down here is never in any rush and is happy to get out in the left lane and cruise at 65mph, slowing down allllll the traffic around them.

          1. Felicity*

            Busting all the stereotypes! I’m a heterosexual woman who drives a Subaru (it’s my company car), and I drive fast.

        6. NACSACJACK*

          Every so often I get cruised by lesbians while in my Subaru with the pride dots across the back. I feel so bad for them. Sorry, sisters! I wanted a car I could parallel park in Uptown!

          So I have the Subaru, and the dogs, and wore out my last pair of hiking books…how come I don’t live in CO?

      1. Erika*

        Oh geez, I just looked down at myself and realized I’m a lesbian too. At least if those are the requirements. :)

        1. Adam*

          I was going to say, where does this person live? Because in the PNW those are way too common traits to be much of an effective tell.

        1. Marillenbaum*

          It does make me think of the song “Ring of Keys” from Fun Home, where the little girl starts to realize she might like girls when she develops a crush on the lesbian repairperson.

        2. Rebecca in Dallas*

          I heard this lately, too! I’ve always carried my keys on a carabiner, it’s a holdover from my days as a retail manager. *shrug*

        3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

          I think it’s the combination, not their existence by themselves.

          Although of course, literally every college-educated woman I know who enjoys “solo outdoors” activities (rock climbing, hiking, camping, distance biking, running) or who grew up in the Bay Area uses carabiners, particularly for their keys.

        4. Marcela*

          Hahahahahahahaha. Carabineros is one of the two police forces in Chile, and I could not describe them as practical! :D

  41. Anon#3*

    While I was in university I worked at a shipping company where most of the male staff worked in the warehouse and all the female staff worked in the office. I worked the day shift in the office with “Cheryl,” who was married to “Bob” who worked in the warehouse on the night shift. They’d been together a long time and had school age kids.

    Cheryl apparently started having an affair with “Fred,” who worked the day shift in the warehouse. They were pretty blatant about it too – she’d bring him into the office all the time and they’d often be seen leaving together. So, obviously, Bob found out and decided to come in to work to confront Fred. There was a fist fight in the parking lot, the police got called, etc. It was a big mess.

    Anyway, Bob got fired, and Fred got suspended and then quit a few weeks later. I left shortly after to go to grad school so I don’t know whatever became of Bob and Cheryl. But I do still think about them sometimes…

  42. Gandalf the Nude*

    Oooh, I got some of this piecemeal from friends who witnessed the events in question, but my 10th grade English teacher was a hot mess. This is a woman who came back from a conference and showed a class of 15 year-olds her new lower back tattoo, along with some incidental flashing of her lacy thong and upper ***crack. Mrs. Hot Mess spent an inordinate amount of class time telling us about her perfect kids and her perfect last job and her perfect second husband.

    And then, one day, my friend went to her classroom after track practice and found her making out in the dark with the hot young biology teacher.

    Several years later, when I was at college, one of my younger friends posted on Facebook about the screaming match Mrs. Hot Mess and Hot Young Biology Teacher had in the science wing that day because Mr. Hot Young Biology Teacher was cheating on her with Ms. Fresh Out of College.

    This woman was in charge of our National Honor Society.

    1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

      I was enjoying the whole story, but the last line I will savor like a fine wine.

    2. Rusty Shackelford*

      At least she was going after a teacher. Several years after I graduated, I was shocked to find out how many of my peers had “dated” a particular young teacher in my school. Oddly enough, one described him as a “perfect gentleman,” even though he was married and fooling around with his underage students!

      1. Hankie Enlightenment (formerly Sarahnova)*

        It is far far too depressing to even think about how common it is for male high school teachers to be getting it on with students.

        1. Kinsley M.*

          I was actually accused of sleeping with my History teacher in high school. He was a coach, and I was an athlete. He treated me no different than any other athlete (stored gym bags in his classroom, hung out there during free period, etc…) I was actually called to the office where I was met by the Principal, VP, Guidance Counselor, and our Resource Officer (who was a local cop). They were all so comforting and nice. Letting me know they supported me, etc, etc. And finally I was like what the hell is this about? They told me, and I burst into laughter. No. I was NOT sleeping with him. He wasn’t sleeping with any student. A non-athlete had complained and made the story up because he was mad that I seemingly got ‘special treatment.’ He could have ruined this man’s life. I was pissed, teacher was pissed, administration was pissed. Pretty sure the student who complained got suspended and almost got expelled. Can’t remember now though.

        2. Fiennes*

          At my high school, rumors smoldered about a coach and a senior girl. She was *always* hanging out with him–but, it seemed, always in public.

          About two days after her graduation, they were spotted out on their first date. Or first public date. No way to know.

          Outrage died pretty quickly, though. She was 18; he was 22; there was never an issue about him & any other student; they later got married. (Eventually got divorced–but about 15 years later.) It’s still questionable af but he pretty clearly wasn’t being predatory. Yay, I guess?

        3. subrosa for this*

          My school too. I had a cousin who worked in the school district, and she told me ALL about my science teacher, who was at least in his 50s.

          He had married one of his students a couple of years earlier. Kept the whole thing totally on the QT all year, then she graduated and they apparently drove straight to the courthouse from the graduation ceremony. And in those days, there was still the perception that marriage “made it all okay,” so he kept his job.

          No idea how long it lasted, but… ew. Ewww.

      2. pugsnbourbon*

        No joke, I was chatting with three coworkers last week and all of us had multiple stories about teachers hooking up with students. Like what the hell.

        1. Annie Moose*

          I never knew of any at my (fairly small) high school that were hooking up with students, although there were a loooot of rumors about how your grade would turn out in a particular English teacher’s class if you were female, sat in the front row, and wore something that showed cleavage.

          …my best friend and I decided we’d sit in the back of the classroom and do our homework for a good grade instead.

        2. Chinook*

          While professionally inexcusable (and illegal), I do have one defense for those teachers who hook up with high school students – sometimes the age gap can be quite small. I was floored one day to learn that one of my students was only 3 years younger than me (he was repeating grade 12 and I was only a year out of university) and I honestly would have hit on him if we had met in a bar. And, considering Dh is 8 years younger than me, dating that student would have been more age appropriate than what I eventually ended up with. In my defense, I met Dh when I was 29 and he had refused to tell me his age when he did hit on me in the bar (he had just turned 21), but I still shudder at the thought that I am old enough to have taught him in junior high.

          And then there was a time a high school classmate came back to class during the start of the new year, talking about a hot new girl who had just transferred to our school who turned out to be one of the new teachers. We never did let the guy live that one down. :)

          1. Trig*

            Yeah, this is why I’m glad teachers in my country need both an undergraduate degree AND several years of teacher’s college AND time spent subbing before they actually have a job. The age gap is far greater, which in theory should decrease the likelihood of borderline cases. I mean, it doesn’t stop the predators, but the ‘otherwise good person who is only a few years older’ situation doesn’t come up.

          2. Formica Dinette*

            The small difference in age is no defense. It’s one thing to be attracted to a student, but it’s another to act on it. The power differential makes it unethical, and any teacher who doesn’t recognize that doesn’t belong in the profession.

            1. Formica Dinette*

              BTW, “Any teacher who doesn’t recognize that” wasn’t directed at you. It was a general statement.

          3. Elizabeth West*

            Yep, I met quite a few teachers in my master’s program who were barely in their twenties. If they were teaching secondary school, they wouldn’t be much older than their students.

            What happens here is you can get a teaching degree at the bachelor’s level and then get a job contingent on you getting your master’s. If you’re in elementary ed, it’s usually not an issue. But the secondary teachers are barely out of the same dating pool.

          4. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            But the issue isn’t really about age—it’s about relative maturity, and the power asymmetry between a teacher and a student. An 8-year difference is not much when you’re in your 30s or 40s, but if you’re 20 and hanging out with a 12-year-old, it’s pretty skeevy.

  43. SJPufendork*

    Some years ago, I worked for a large corporation that regularly acquired small start-ups. Our people had signed a letter of intent to acquire a company and it came out that one of the founders/senior leadership had been dating someone several levels lower (think marketing assistant). She had become pregnant and the couple had broken up. Both still worked there, they had agreed to co-parent, but there were some “bonus payments” and other expenses that seemed well….not appropriate. Looking further, when they discovered that he had dated numerous other assistants over time and other irregularities also existed. But since he was a co-owner nothing had been done.
    Our leadership came up with the bright idea that, since the founder was considered important to the acquisition, the gentleman needed to get an insurance policy to pay for his “ future indiscretions” before the deal could go forward. I remember sitting at the meeting where this was discussed. My boss heard about it and asked, “what type of insurance policy would you even get?!? And why are you even considering keeping that guy?!”
    The deal fell apart soon thereafter.

    1. AndersonDarling*

      Ooo. My company took out one of those policies on a particularly lecherous employee. He had multiple sexual harassment complaints and one made it all the way to court.
      I don’t understand it at all. What says “we know this guy is sexually harassing people” more than having an insurance policy to protect the company from future lawsuits?

      1. Emi.*

        Well, it’s like when you have a missing stair in your staircase, you get insurance for when people fall and break their legs, y’know?

      2. SJPufendork*

        Dear me. I never even considered that you could actually get insurance for that. I figured our leadership was just pulling something out of the air.

        Learn something new every day.

  44. Aft*

    Two managers I had a few years ago were dating and it was just awful. She had left the company and when she wanted to come back he got her a higher level position in charge of a new department that had just opened. She was a terror, and they were always fighting. Screaming on the phone to each other, bad mouthing each other to employees…it was also suspected they were sneaking off regularly to have sex on company grounds/time.

    One day after they both stopped working here I heard they got married at town hall and now they’re living halfway across the country and I guess they’re doing well? I never understood that relationship.

  45. Annie Moose*

    Here’s a good story (that doesn’t end with anybody getting married)!

    College acquaintance of mine ended up working at the same company as me. I knew he’d been interested in me previously (he mentioned it in an oblique way, I obliquely said I wasn’t looking for a relationship, and that was the end of it), but he asked me out more directly once we’d both graduated and were working. He’s a great guy but… don’t tell him I said this… kind of boring. So I turned him down firmly but kindly (I think the stereotypical phrase “I just don’t think of you that way” was uttered).

    I was still in the recovery phase from a different acquaintance who did NOT understand the concept of “I like her but she doesn’t like me back”, so I was pretty nervous about what would happen next… and it turned out just fine. He accepted my lack of interest, and we continued to be both friends and normal coworkers from that point on.

    Not a very exciting story, but proof that it is possible to have a coworker who asks you out and doesn’t get weird when you turn them down.

    1. k*

      After all of the crazy stories we hear about on AAM, such a simple, drama-free thing seems so uplifting. Sanity does exist!

  46. anonintheuk*

    I had an older male colleague (whom we shall call George) who thought that it would be nice to have some romance in the office. Unfortunately, once I turned up he desperately tried to push me and one of my younger male colleagues (Fergus) together and encouraged Fergus to ask me out repeatedly.
    Finally, I said ‘What is *wrong* with you, I have turned you down three times, either stop or I am going to HR’, and Fergus explained all.
    Apparently George thought Fergus was lonely (possibly correctly) and needed a girlfriend. I, on the other hand, was single and over 30 so in George’s mind, would be thrilled at any male attention.

    1. SophieChotek*

      Ugh– single and over 30=desperate for any male attention.
      Many people are happy single and don’t need a SO to “complete them”…

      1. MrsMac*

        I hate that so much! Relationships are complicated, if you aren’t a whole and complete person on your own you don’t have your crap together enough to be in a relationship and if you are whole and complete enough on your own you aren’t desperate

    2. Gadfly*

      Ugh. I had a group of coworkers try to set me up with another coworker once. I am 93% certain it was in large part because we were both very fat. They tried to claim it was also because we were both smart, and talked when assigned to work together (booth attendents at parking lots) but we mostly talked about how we completely disagreed about everything the other held dear.

      1. Gadfly*

        Oh, and he was over 25 and I was over 20, so in UT terms should have been ready to go for anything…

  47. Newby*

    I don’t have an actual office romance story, but I do have one about the most awkward “responsible conduct training” ever. As a graduate student, I had to attend responsible conduct in research training every year, and one year the topic was inappropriate relationships. The main point was that dating your boss is a bad idea. The professor running the training disagreed and said that sometimes it is a good thing for the mentee since they get more time. There was a long awkward silence after that while everyone tried to figure out who he had dated.

      1. Evan Þ*

        No, no, he meant get more thyme. After all, spices are a much more interesting – and useful – present than flowers!


    1. Artemesia*

      I know someone who teaches at a liberal arts college and whenever these issues come up in the faculty senate some of the ancient male faculty protest against the restrictions on dating students. So creeptastic.

      1. Kelly L.*

        I think every school has that one professor who trades in the old student-wife for the new student-wife every ten years or so. (Shudder.)

        1. Mockingjay*

          One of my English Lit professors made sure that all his students knew he had an open marriage.

          No thanks.

      2. gogglemarks*

        My parents actually ran into some rule about that -they met when they were both in undergrad but he dropped out, so several years later she was a professor, they were already married with a toddler, and he decided that now that I was old enough for daycare it was a good time to go back and get his bachelor’s. Except he had to take a class that she usually taught because it was a Gen Ed requirement so they had to have someone else teach it that semester or something.

        I was too young to remember any of it, but him stepping out of the processional line at graduation to kiss her was legendary at the college for years.

  48. Seriously*

    One summer one of our top VPs hired her (very immature) son as an intern. His mom traveled a lot and so one day he decided he would use her empty office to “get it on” with another intern. One of our other VPs who travels frequently had permission to use her office while he was in town for a client meeting. So the executive assistant unlocks the office door for him and several clients to use the office for their meeting and well… they all received quite the surprise!

  49. Zoe Karvounopsina*

    At a previous workplace, two of my coworkers had previously been in a relationship. They were in this relationship when room bookings were made for the AGM, and, despite all suggestions to the contrary, insisted they would share with each other.

    By the time the AGM came around, they were no longer in a relationship.

    (I believe they still hooked up afterwards, though most of what one of them told me about it is a desperate blank, with the words “Fergus is quiet, but…he’s so good in bed—” rotating in the centre.)

    They stayed semi-romantic friends, and he used to get grumpy whenever she had a boyfriend. They also insisted on always having lunch together, which was annoying because we were in a customer service role and it threw off coverage.

  50. Lawyers*

    My last job was at a legal agency. I had some suspicions about office romances but after I left it all blew up. One married female attorney was hooking up with a defense attorney and two other prosecutors, all three guys were married. It went badly with one of the prosecutors when he got jealous and he started stalking the female attorney. He stopped when he started hooking up with a single support staffer. He got weird though when staffer dumped him for a different defense attorney and started stalking Big Boss to get ammo to get one of the girls fired. Big Boss tried to discipline people for office hookups but was busted for sleeping with a judge and essentially blackmailed by the stalker guy and another one of the attorneys since he could lose his own job if it was found out. One male attorney agreed to resign and now female attorney alternates is divorced and dating one of the married guys (though it varies which one depending on the year). I can’t believe I left that job.

    1. zora*

      Whenever I watch tv shows where everyone sleeps around (lawyer shows, Scandal, etc) I always am scoffing in my head that people are not having that much sex in real life!

      Then I hear an IRL story like this (also see: Petraeus scandal) and I’m like, a thousand apologies, it’s entirely realistic….. never underestimate people….

      1. Anonicat*

        Apparently the personal life shenanigans in Rake (awesome Australian show about a Sydney lawyer) are pretty true to life.

        I used to get home halfway through the episode and my first question was always “And in what way is it all going terribly wrong for Cleaver Greene today?”

  51. Girl Alex PR*

    When I was much younger (read: barely legal), I started dating my older boss.

    When we first met, I noticed a wedding band and a photo of a child on his desk. I inquired about the kid and he said it was his niece. A few weeks later he mentioned that he had never been married but wore the wedding ring because we were military recruiters and he thought parents felt better about him recruiting their young daughter’s when they assumed he was happily married. It made sense then, but now, ten years later, I would never buy that line.

    Our relationship progressed pretty quickly. After a few weeks and several dates, I mentioned that I wanted to see his place. He told me he was shopping for a new one and would I like to come tour a few with him that weekend. I said yes and when I told him I liked a very nice condo near downtown, he rented it on the spot- AND invited me to move in with him. Things were great for six months. He “traveled” a lot, but in our field that wasn’t uncommon.

    One day, six months in, a woman showed up at the door with a small child while I was home alone. She told me she was my boyfriend’s wife, that they were separated but working on things, and wanted to know who I was. I took one look at that (very cute, very young) child and said I was the housekeeper. I packed my shit and left that day.

    He called me repeatedly that night and when I finally answered, I told him if he ever contacted me again I would have his charged with adultery (again, this is the military). I also said he needed to immediately approve transfer paperwork for me to Puerto Rico (a very sought-after assignment). He did.

    I have now been happily married for seven years and we met in, you guessed it, Puerto Rico.

    Thanks horribly shady, shitty boyfriend!

        1. Girl Alex PR*

          Thanks! As a mother of two (also very cute) girls myself now, I still think it was the right choice. The two of them reconciled for a couple of years, had a son, and then officially divorced. He made rank, and I kept my dignity and his secret. All is well that ends well.

    1. MsMaryMary*

      Does anyone in the military really get charged with adultery? My friend’s military ex-husband married a coworker less than a month after the divorce was final. She was in his chain of command too. It had to be obvious to everyone on base.

      1. Girl Alex PR*

        Gotta have hard proof. If the divorce was finalized and there were no witnesses outside the marriage willing to come forward, etc. then it’s pretty impossible to prove. I have seen several people lose rank over their affairs though. Look at Petraeus.

      2. she was a fast machine*

        Not unless there’s something serious that comes up or it can be used as ammunition against someone. It’s absolutely rampant and it theoretically can(and has) ruined careers, but because it’s so rampant nobody wants to bring it up unless there’s something else on top of it that makes it more than just an affair.

        1. AnonHere*

          Yeah, the case I mentioned came with a pretty light sentence if I remember correctly (since aside from being an officer/higher standards there wasn’t anything extra to it).

          But if somebody wants to get somebody in trouble (even to get revenge on somebody else) they certainly are capable of doing so.

      3. AnonHere*


        My husband knows a CO who was charged with adultery because his old fling’s ex-boyfriend (only the CO in this story is in the military, fling and BF weren’t dating at any time during the affair, fling didn’t even know the CO’s exact rank) decided to report the affair, which had happened years ago at that point, to the Navy.

        Every single person who was actually testifying was completely truthful, from husband to wife to ex-fling, and all three reported they’d already resolved the matter amicably, but he was sentenced nonetheless.

        It was gross that the controlling ex-BF got revenge like that, but the court handling the case was worried about having a bias towards not adequately disciplining officers and maintaining secrecy as much as possible.

        In other words, you probably wouldn’t even want to try being poly in the military, especially as an officer.

        1. AnonHere*

          (come to think of it I think there’s an element of adultery military law that only gets broken automatically if you’re an officer or high ranking enlisted)

        2. Anon, I wot*

          When I was much younger (and just barely legal), I lived near a military base, and a much older, married officer who was friends with some of my friends started aggressively pursuing me. I rebuffed him, but someone started a rumor that he and I had had sex at a party, and despite that if it came up I’d correct the person who mentioned it, he pulled me aside a few months later and was quite rude. Apparently he *was* having an affair with someone, and his wife had found out, but assumed it was me, and had threatened to have him charged with adultery. I’m not sure why I was supposed to consider this my problem. Maybe he should have kept it in his pants.

      4. Liane*

        My husband, former US Air Force, told me that in his experience, it only happened when the person’s superiors &/or the investigators wanted to pile on the charges, for whatever reasons.

        1. AlexDCgovPR*

          That’s a fair assessment. COs are willing to look the other way for lots of heinous crimes and acts if the person is regarded as an asset.

      1. AlexDCgovPR*

        Thanks! He apologized to me about two years ago and thanked me for saving face with his daughter. I only wish I would have asked the names of her and his ex-wife… I unknowingly named my two daughters THE EXACT SAME NAMES. :|

  52. Lovemyjob...Truly!!!*

    Years ago I worked for a retail specialty store. I was an assistant manager and one of my major duties was to create the schedule. We employed a lot of students – some in high school, others in college – and it was tricky to work around their schedules. We hired this high school girl “Ariel” who was difficult to work with from day one. She wanted to only work when she felt like it despite what the schedule might say, she was rude to customers and her fellow co-workers, she was insubordinate, lazy and awful. Myself and the other two assistant managers hated her but we couldn’t fire her. The store manager ” Eric” was a guy who I had never had an issue with in all of my years of working with him…until this girl came on board. We’d let him know what happened, he’d take her into the office for a talk and after 30 minutes she would come out smirking and he’d be telling us that things would change but they never did. Ariel started telling her fellow co-workers / classmates that she was “messing around” with Eric. One of my fellow assistant managers heard the rumors that Ariel was starting about herself and reviewed the security tapes. We had cameras in every room of the store, excluding fitting rooms and bathrooms. Sure enough, Ariel was orally pleasing Eric in order to keep her job. Even when confronted with the video proof he denied it! The other assistant manager was so fed up she shouted “Who do you think you are? Bill Clinton?” (this was happening at the same time as the scandal). It was a huge argument right there on the sales floor in plain view of everyone. Nearly 1/2 the staff quit that night and the rest ended up filing complaints. He was removed from his position…and since she was underage there was also a lawsuit. Not sure how it turned out for him. The store closed the majority of it’s locations soon after (unrelated, I swear!) and we all kind of scattered to other things.

    1. Liane*

      Just reminded me we had similar things, only, with all-adult participants at the Famed Retailer store I worked at.
      1. One of the male Assistant Managers, who was living with girlfriend & their newborn, was apparently fooling around with one of my (hourly) supervisors, which I found out after she moved to another state. He only got a Very Serious Talking-To. I suspect said Talking-To was nether formal nor documented, since that was Fire Now! conduct per company policy.
      2. We had a Store Manager, a woman probably 5-10 years older than me. She had grandkids in fact. SM seemed to be an average to good manager, but she had a very short tenure at our store before leaving the company. Turned out SM was having an affair with someone else, I never found out who.

  53. Anon for this*

    Ooh! Ooh! We had a full-on sex scandal a few years back. Petyr, the CEO who was married to another employee, had an affair with Lysa Tully-Arryn, a manager married to John Tully-Arryn, another manager. They made essentially zero effort to hide it. Lysa hated a third manager, Sansa, for reasons known only to herself, and began intentionally rubbing the affair in Sansa’s face. Lysa and Petyr would arrive at work together, park directly outside Sansa’s office window, and spend half an hour cuddling in the car before coming inside. When Sansa grumbled about it Lysa began a campaign to torpedo Sansa’s professional reputation in an industry where professional reputation is everything, and when Petyr the CEO refused to put a stop to it there was little Sansa could do.

    All this roiled under the surface until the Tully-Arryns announced they were going back to their original names, an event my boss calls “the dehyphening.” After that in quick succession Sansa left the company, Petyr and his wife divorced and both of them left the company, the Tully-Arryns divorced, and Lysa left the company. So to sum it up: one workplace affair plus one needlessly vindictive woman ended in two divorces, several professional reputations in tatters, and four people including about half of management leaving the company. Oh, and did I mention the company is a nonprofit with an explicitly Christian mission? Petyr, the Tully-Arryns, and Sansa are all ordained ministers.

      1. Anon for this*

        I know, right!? If I hadn’t lived through it I’d probably suspect the story of being a bad attempt at a let’s-set-GoT-in-present-day-America fanfic.

  54. not so super-visor*

    One of my first jobs out of college was at a temp-to-hire data entry job. One of the supervisors there started up a relationship with a new temp (a definite no-no). To make matters worse, she (the temp) was in a long-term relationship with the father of one of the other temps who had been there much longer. Most of us tried to just stay out of it and to look the other way since the place was really disorganized and management was terrible. Then one day on break, they went out to his car and started having sex. He was parked in the front row. We all had break at the same time, and most of us were outside smoking. Needless to say, they got reported, and he got demoted. Not long after that, she broke up with her long term boyfriend and announced that she was pregnant. I left not long after that place for a legitimate full time job, but the last time that I ran into someone from there, they told me that the couple had gotten married and had at least one more kid.

  55. EdProf*

    Not my workplace romance, but it did involve two workplaces…
    As a master’s student applying for Ph.D. programs in Counseling Psychology, I received several requests for campus interviews one spring. At the first campus I visited, it turns out the whole department was in a bit of turmoil, having very recently lost one of their professors to another university. It seems that the male half of a married professor pair (both in the same department) had an affair with one of his graduate students, divorced his wife, and then threatened to leave if his new paramour wasn’t offered a tenure-track position in the same department once she had graduated. The department refused to be held hostage and told the male professor where to go.
    Turns out, at the third campus I visited, they had just hired a new professor couple. Guess who! It was interesting to interact with the couple during interviews while trying very hard not to think about all the trouble they caused at the first location. Thankfully I ended up at the fourth campus.

    1. Midge*

      Yikes! Sounds like you really dodged a bullet. I shared below that the chair and graduate chair of my department in grad school were married. There was no drama with the relationship itself, but it did make the students uncomfortable that the two people who controlled the department were married.

      1. TL -*

        Yeah, I worked in a lab that was run by professor and his wife and though their relationship was never a problem, his wife was extremely difficult to work with and there was nothing anybody could do about it (he clearly wasn’t going to listen.)

    2. TL -*

      Professor/grad student stories squick me out more than any other consenting adult relationship – it’s such a violation of power and trust.

      1. Wants to be anon*

        Yeah. It really isn’t ok, even when it works out in the end. If you are in the same department there is no way to eliminate the power differential. Most universities explicitly ban relationships like that.

        1. Julia*

          I also wonder why anyone would want that. But I’ve never quite understood the concept of student-teacher-romance. And my mother’s cousin actually married one of his grad students. They’re great, but… (Says the woman who met her fiancé when she was his informal TA…)

          1. TL -*

            The TA/student relationship is so different from professor/grad student though. For a start, you don’t completely control his career for 5+ years.

    3. A non*

      This reminds me of an infamous scandal among professors at my alma mater.

      Male professor was hired and moved to college with actress/model wife and their kids. Around the same time, a female professor was hired to work in the same department. Female professor was engaged. Actress/Model wife became friends with female professor, only to discover that she was having an affair with her husband. Both couples divorced, and the two professors remarried and had a kid. They both still teach at the college (they’re actually great professors).

      The best part? Actress/Model wife then went on to write a BOOK about the affair and their divorce. It become a national best-seller and was featured on Oprah.

  56. Seriously*

    I’ve got another one! In a previous job, there was a rumor that the married 40 something HR manager was having an affair with one of the warehouse personnel (mostly college aged guys). I figured it was just a rumor until one day the police came and arrested the HR manager in front of everyone. Turns out the guy she was having an affair with was 16 and his parents found out and called the police. Clearly she knew he was underage since she was the one who processed all of the new hires and would have had access to his birthdate! Apparently the charges were dropped, but she was quite obviously fired for her insanely bad judgement.

  57. Anon a Bonbon*

    VP (married) started sleeping with his admin. The admin was half his age and very, very naive. She came from a very religious family and had only held hands with a boy before.
    Company found out and they were both told to immediately find new employment. The VP went to a new job out of state for a year, got divorced, but then came back after the job didn’t work out. He called to hook up with the admin when he got back into town.
    Admin thought they were going to get married and live happily ever after. He was just hooking up until he found a new lady.

  58. Adam*

    Not workplace related, but an alternate story showing that sometimes the magazines are wrong. My best friend met his now wife on an airplane. They were sitting next to each other and he struck up a conversation and they really hit it off. A year-and-a-half later they were married and have been for almost three years now.

    Funny thing if you look online and other various places for dating etiquette and tips they’ll all tell you that a plane is pretty much the last place you should try and flirt with someone since there are no convenient exits.

    1. Fiennes*

      My cousin met her husband when they were seated next to each other on a plane. 17 years, 3 kids and counting.

    2. Bryce*

      It can work out, but be aware of the captive audience. DEFINITELY take no for an answer. For that matter, take anything less than an enthusiastic yes for an answer in that situation.

    3. Marillenbaum*

      Speaking of planes, when I was 19 my whole family went on a vacation. On the flight back, my sister pitched a fit about not getting to sit next to her boyfriend, so I swapped seats with her and ended up sitting next to this VERY handsome guy in his 20s. My dad was about to swap seats with me so I could be with the rest of the family; my mom took one look at this guy and says “Don’t you dare!” because my mom understood that as an awkward college student who had never dated, one nice conversation with a cute guy was practice I desperately needed.

    4. Emma*

      Starting a conversation isn’t the same thing as flirting with someone, though.

      There’s a big difference between being chatty, and discovering that the other person is also feeling chatty and that you get on really well, but if that hadn’t happened, the conversation would have just lapsed into silence; and hitting on someone who doesn’t know you and is stuck next to you for however many hours, and doesn’t have an easy way of communicating “leave me alone”.

      Striking up a conversation only works if both people are willing to participate. “Flirting” can be, and far too often is, entirely one-way.

    5. AcademiaNut*

      That’s how my parents met. Knowing them, I suspect it started out with my mom striking up a conversation to be friendly, rather than aggressive hitting-on on either side.

    6. bryeny*

      A twist on the airplane situation that’s actually work-related, though not romantic: A former boss found himself on a plane next to a woman he recognized; she worked in another division of our company. She didn’t recognize him, though — he was pretty new — and when he tried to talk to her, she repeatedly shut him down. Apparently she thought he was hitting on her, which is pretty unlikely as he’s gay. Of course she didn’t know that, but if she’d let him get a whole sentence out, he could have explained that he was a coworker and she could have avoided some awkwardness later.

  59. OP2 VDay 2015*

    Aah! I actually wrote into Allison 2 years ago. I was the one who was married but had a crush on a co-worker. Well, I followed Allison’s advice and stopped being social with my crush. My husband and I entered marriage counseling shortly after and we ended up getting divorced. It was a very amicable situation and we’re still good friends today. In some ways I’m grateful for the weird crush situation because it pulled me out of my marriage before things got really bad. I am happily dating an ex-coworker, not the crush, and have since moved on to a new job (promotion!). This site has really changed my life in a lot of positive ways.

    1. motherofdragons*

      Thank you for following up with us! While I know a divorce is no cake walk, I’m so pleased that everything turned out positively for you, in the end. Congratulations and best of luck!

    2. Lemon Zinger*

      I just re-read your letter today and wondered how things were going. I’m so glad to hear you’re happy and doing well! Thanks for the update.

  60. N*

    My parents met while working together in the early 1980’s. My dad owned a small business and hired mom to be in a marketing/customer support/staff training type role. They’ve been married for almost 30 years, but looking back it just seems like an HR disaster–the owner and manager of a small company living with one of the members of their very small team must have been awkward.

    Incidentally, whenever someone asks my mom how she and my dad met, she always bats her eyes very innocently and says, “Oh, he hired me.”

  61. VroomVroom*

    I worked at a Summer Camp in college. Talk about incestuous. By the end of the 12 weeks, the 50 or so staff members had pretty much all hooked up with each other when you think about Kevin Bacon degrees…

    1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist*

      Yeah, I worked at a camp when I was 17. Good god, it was basically an orgy with daytime archery activities.

      1. VroomVroom*

        Yea, looking back we were pretty lucky that there wasn’t that *one* person who brought an STD with them, otherwise we would have had like 100% coverage by the end of the summer :-P

        I actually *dated* (and at camp, that means we hung out for 3-5 days) THREE different guys that summer that my best friend did too, at different points.

    2. k*

      That’s how my first job out of college was. It was at a call center where everyone was 21-25, almost everyone was single, there was high turnover, and we all frequently hung out at happy hours and outside of work together. There was never NOT romantic drama, and I swear the gossip was worst than high school. Looking back it’s embarrassing how unprofessional we all were. On a happy note, one couple that met there recently got married, so there’s that.

    3. KTB*

      I worked at a local ski school on the weekends for six years in my twenties. SO incestuous. The morning meeting was a great time to catch up on who had hooked up with whom the night before. Or the weekend before.

  62. Anon for this*

    I fell in love with and married someone who worked at the same company as me. We never actually saw each other at work as we worked on different floors and took different lunch breaks, and our areas of work never overlapped, so we’d give each other a chaste kiss goodbye at the stairs and head to our own desks. I thought nothing of it.

    Then one day my manager called me into her office. She explained to me, in hesitant tones that with hindsight I believe were her drowning in embarassment, that while everyone in the office knew we were married, guests in reception might not, and perhaps our kiss goodbye would cause them to think negatively of the company, particularly if they belonged to a particularly conservative religion…

    My husband was fuming when we met up again in the car park. He’d got a similar talk, except that his had included an accusation of ‘snogging in the stairwell’.

    My poor manager. She could see the stairwell from her desk and knew there was no unprofessional behaviour going on, but had clearly been instructed to have this ridiculous talk with me.

    We never did find out who was putting in the snogging complaints, but from then until I left the company, we would part each morning with a formal handshake.

    1. Midge*

      Haha I love that you guys shook hands. After that snagging comment, I hope you did it in front of his manager so he could see how professional you were both being. ;)

    2. Emma*

      I’m desperately hoping that, as you shook hands, you loudly said something like “Have a good day, wife!” Just for the avoidance of all doubt, you understand.

    3. Anon for this*

      It was quite a while before we both stopped feeling a bit naughty every time we shook hands with someone.

      Another story from the same company, but several years before I met my husband: rumours started flying around that my not-yet-husband was sleeping with the new hire, Lucinda. This was news to him, but he soon tracked down the source of the rumours: Lucinda.

      Not being the smartest where matters of the heart (or the trousers) were concerned, he agreed to go on a date with her, but before the date she came to his house, where she immediately dumped him for his brother. And not long after that she dumped his brother for his best friend.

      Several years later, when the two of us were together and talking marriage, I invited him to come and watch a show I was performing in. Imagine his surprise when I was joined on stage by my new friend, Lucinda.

  63. rageismycaffeine*

    My husband and I had the same boss once upon a time. I could probably just leave the story there. :)

    She – we’ll call her Olivia – actually asked me to apply for the position. My husband had already been working for her for a couple of years, a star employee. I wanted out of the job I had so thought, sure, why not?

    Olivia hated me. Unrelentingly. HATED. ME. Accused me of lying on my resume, posted nasty stuff about me on Facebook, told me she hated the way I answered my phone, etc. She told me I was not allowed to ask my husband for assistance on things that were literally part of his job to help with – he was the tech guy for our department, including doing graphic design, and I was charged with developing an online training program for which I needed graphics. She did not like my proposed timeline for learning Photoshop, but also wouldn’t allow me to use THE PERSON WHOSE JOB IT WAS TO DO GRAPHICS. I ended up making stick figures. (Which the organization still uses to this day, eight years later, and no I am not in the SLIGHTEST bit bitter about that.)

    The whole time Olivia’s still loving my husband. It showed him a whole new, nasty side to her he’d been sort of peripherally aware of but had never seen for himself before. It destroyed our home life. We’d both come home so totally stressed – me from dealing with her, him from pretending to be nice to her – and were miserable all the time. We both tried, independently, to talk to her about it as our manager – him asking that she not complain to him about me (yes, she did do that), me trying to understand what I was doing wrong – but got pretty much exactly nowhere. The woman was just unmanageable.

    Ultimately, he went to her boss – with whom he had an excellent relationship – and said, in no uncertain terms, that she was ruining our lives and we had to figure out some way around it. Yes, I know, the idea of a family member dealing with a work issue on another family member’s behalf makes everyone cringe. I’ve seen it happen myself, when I’ve been the third party, multiple times. He’d actually offered to go to Grandboss several times before and every time I begged him not to because I didn’t want it to be the husband swooping in on the wife’s behalf.

    Ultimately, though, it was a question of survival, while I had a fruitless job search going on and still had to deal with the tyrant. There was one inciting incident I won’t go into that was the final straw, and after talking to Grandboss some changes were made that allowed us to breathe until I got another job not too long afterwards. The phone calls that came gushing in from people I worked with telling me how much they would miss me were a nice counterbalance to the amount of craziness and sheer self-doubt I’d felt after months of berating by Olivia, but unfortunately, too little, too late. (NB: they are STILL USING that online training I made! I was not the horrible employee she made me out to be.)

    My husband still works there, though Olivia is long gone, and has advanced considerably in his career since then. He risked his career to go to bat for us with Grandboss, and I’m really glad it didn’t end up being something we regretted. His going to her was probably the most romantic thing that’s ever happened to me at work.

    And lesson learned: NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER have the same boss as your spouse. Ever. EH. VER.

    1. RVA Cat*

      She was trying to break up your marriage, full stop. With that level of nastiness, I wonder if she was thinking, “well if she killed herself it would be quicker and cheaper than a divorce?”

      1. rageismycaffeine*

        I was and am 99% sure she had a thing for my husband and was lashing out at me subconsciously (I really doubt she was even aware of it herself). I say 99% sure because I wanted my husband to corroborate and he’s so horrified by the very idea I can never bring it up. :)

      1. rageismycaffeine*

        I feel so vindicated to see that people think the same thing I did re: her having a thing for him! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who suspected that.

        1. No Name Yet*

          Oh yeah, that’s totally where my mind went. Could there be another explanation? Sure…..she was taken over by aliens?

      1. rageismycaffeine*

        Oh, I’m happy to! I was trying not to make a long post even longer.

        Olivia had recurring back problems that had cropped up again, bad enough that she was out of the office on pain meds (I don’t know what exactly, just that they were strong enough to keep her from work). Of course while she was out, the software we used threw an insane error that I’d never seen before. I’d gotten pretty good at figuring out a lot of the issues with this product on my own, but this was not something I was familiar with.

        For some context, you need to understand that the position I was in, “teapot logistics,” was, and is, pretty much known universally at the institution as a thoroughly thankless position. They’d never managed to keep someone in the role for more than 18 months at a time. This was why Olivia had originally asked me to apply – she was hoping for someone competent that she could keep in the role for a while. I lasted 14 months. In the 8 years since I left, they’ve gone through at least another 6 people in that role.

        I didn’t know what this error was, and Olivia didn’t either, when I reached her by email (with lots of apologies for bothering her, though it must be said, she was sending tons of work email all day long so it wasn’t as if I was the one dragging her back into work-related stuff while she was out). But she knew who did: Jane, the last person who had been in my position, who still worked for our organization but in a different area. Olivia said to reach out to Jane to see if she could remember how this problem was fixed last time.

        So I reached out to Jane. I sent a very apologetic email, sorry that I was bothering her with something that wasn’t her job anymore, and referred to “the nightmare that is [teapot logistics].”

        Now I will admit to the fact that that was not the best thing ever. In my head, it was a self-deprecating joke about how everyone knew that the job was awful, and an acknowledgement that it was awful to pull Jane back into it again when she’d successfully escaped. But as we all know, tone does not convey over text, and Olivia read it as snide. I will own that it would have been fine for a manager to gently correct me for my choice of wording.

        Let’s just say Olivia was not gentle. She called me from home to rip into me for insulting my job in the email, and while she was at it, decided it was a good time to air every other thing she didn’t like about me. Including that I had lied on my resume, that I answered the phone rudely when she called so she assumed I was rude to everyone, that I made up how long it would take me to learn Photoshop, and other things that I honestly think I’ve shut out out of PTSD but as I recall basically came down to her thinking I treated her like she was stupid. It was 45 minutes to an hour of her just yelling at me.

        (I hadn’t lied on my resume. I said I had knowledge of querying SQL databases, and did not know how to program in SQL, but Olivia decided I had said I could program, which was not even required for the job. I had caller ID, so when she called I would answer with “Hello” in a way I can’t explain in text but was standard within my family, but Olivia read as rude; if it wasn’t her calling, I had a very professional greeting, and as I’ve said before: nobody else EVER had any issues with the way I did my job. I had no Photoshop or indeed graphic design experience coming into the job, and I believe I gave a 16-week timeline to learn the VERY BASIC BASICS, on my own, without going to a class that would cost money. I didn’t treat Olivia like she was stupid; I asked questions when she trained me that evidently nobody had ever asked before and she didn’t have a good answer for, and it left her feeling defensive.)

        I could have and probably should have hung up on her, but at this point it was very clear that this job was a temporary stop for me, and my husband intended for his career to be with this organization. I couldn’t stand up to this woman for fear of destroying my husband’s career. So I let her yell at me in her pain- or med-induced haze, hung up the phone, and cried for about an hour.

        The next day was when my husband went to Grandboss and said “enough is enough.” The day after that I was moved to another boss, in a place that actually made more sense for my role to be anyway. And the night after was when the Facebook posts started. Olivia was never, ever made to apologize to me for those. Grandboss relayed through my new boss that Olivia had been “spoken to.” I’m still angry about that.

        I’m actually still mad about a lot of this, as unhealthy as this is. My husband was more or less the only one who came to my defense and Olivia got off more or less scot-free. In trying to transfer responsibilities once my role was moved to a new boss, I inadvertently cut off Olivia’s access to something – because instead of doing it herself or helping me do it, she refused to aid me in any way – and got called to a meeting with her and Grandboss during which she smirked at me across the table while Grandboss said something like “I don’t know if this was deliberate or not…” Right, because vindictive me would totally destroy an important organizational system just for some weird slight against Olivia.

        Thinking about her smirking face makes me want to punch something. Oh well… I have my awesome husband and a much better job, so I win.

        1. bryeny*

          What Facebook posts? You keep dangling these intriguing morsels …. You have our attention, no need to count words. ;)

          Congrats on escaping from Olivia, and you’re not wrong to still be mad. Her behavior was completely outrageous. Another way to think about working with your spouse: what if you’d been stuck with a boss like that in a place where nobody was motivated to go to bat for you? (Of course you would never have encountered that particular boss if your husband wasn’t already working for her, but there are plenty of other nasty ones cluttering up the landscape.)

    2. thebluecastle*

      ummm yeah. she totally had to have a thing for your husband. nothing else explains this crazy behavior!!!

  64. CeeL*

    My time to shine has come at last.

    Okay, so there was this guy who does not speak to people in person. He’s a hardcore introvert like that. But we started an email chain meme war one day and started talking on the company IM after that, and we found out we have a ton in common. I was never interested in him but he started asking about why my last relationship with a coworker (whole other story) hadn’t worked out and if I would ever date a coworker again. I said no, multiple times, and shut him down at every possible turn. He never explicitly asked me out but I knew he was hinting.

    Conversation eventually turned to me job searching, and he got REALLY interested in that. Like, sent me links to new jobs several times a day, interested. I finally realized it was because he wanted to ask me out but currently couldn’t because he was above me in the chain of command. So life happened, I kept shutting him down, and I started a new job in the same department. Not one month after I switched jobs, he messaged me to ask me out. I said I didn’t think it was a good idea because I’d dated a coworker before and it didn’t work. He seemed fine after that. He let it go.

    Fast forward a month. New Hire comes in and is exceptionally attractive and I once again get caught up in the idea that this could be my future hubby when he asks me out. So I start dating New Hire. Then I get a message from First Guy that flat out says “So I guess that not dating coworkers thing was just a lie, huh?” Cue an HOUR LONG CONVERSATION in the middle of the workday about why I will not break up with my boyfriend to date First Guy. He could not let it go.

    Even after that, I would get weird emails from him asking where my car was in the parking lot and why I wasn’t parking in the same spot I usually do, and all of it was so weird. I finally had to loop my boss in on it because he wouldn’t stop arguing with me over “well if you’re still dating coworkers, why won’t you date me?” Uhhhh…because I had a boyfriend I wasn’t going to ditch?? One who didn’t completely creep me out.

    1. EddieSherbert*

      Yeah, once it basically turning into stalking, it definitely time to loop the manager in on it!

      “why didn’t you park in the same parking space today?”
      …ummm, why do you know where I park, guy-I-don’t-see-in-person-ever?!


      1. CeeL*

        Right?? It was SO weird. Granted, it’s not a huge parking lot, but still. Combined with the completely not subtle pressure to dump my current boyfriend and go out with him? Just plain creepy.

    2. rageismycaffeine*

      Curious – how much longer did you have to work with this guy before you or he left for another job?

          1. CeeL*

            Thankfully, he’s a lot better now. We only interact once every couple of weeks, anyway. He backed off completely when I told him flat out that I was not going to date him even if the New Hire and I broke up (spoiler alert: we did and I am seriously ACTUALLY done with dating coworkers), and that this topic was permanently off the table.

            He seems to fall into this habit, though. He did the same thing to another girl before me, and as soon as I told him to stop, he started flirting with another girl in the office.

    3. Artemesia*

      Men who think like this guy creep us all out. I remember a scandal at the UN where some muckity muck was upset that a couple of women would not date or sleep with him when he knew they had dated or slept with other men. It was as if any woman who has ever had sex owes sex to any man who wants it. The utter depersonalization and commodification of women. ‘How come I’m not good enough’ is the way they usually put it; the idea that women get to date whom they want to date is incomprehensible to them.

  65. Really*

    My husband and I worked at the same company for a little over a year. He had worked there for about 4 1/2 years when I got hired. We were engaged by then. It was small company that had already had family members working there. There was a father/daughter-in-law and a father/son combination. The son would work on his father’s projects. I occasionally would check my husband’s work. And the daughter-in-law was in the accounting department. There were never any problems Then there were “Dick” and “Jane”. He was divorced and maybe 15 years older than her. They both skied and got to know each other outside of work and started dating. There was never any real issues at work though apparently one day she got frustrated and hit him over the head with a pad of paper. They both worked there till they retired together. And then they got married.

  66. Ayla K*

    God, I really wish I could remember all the specific details of this, but I’ll share what I know.

    I used to work in the same building as a bunch of lawyer-types. Two of them, Sarah and David, were dating quite seriously and publically; they had just gone to their company holiday party together. After the holiday party, though, Sarah had hooked up with Gregor, one of the IT guys. David eventually found out and happened to arrive at the office at the same time as Gregor. Sarah was already inside, but thanks to the fancy floor-to-ceiling windows in the office, she (and everyone else in the building) had a perfect view of the parking lot…and of David socking Gregor right in the face. More punches were thrown, Sarah ran outside where she (accidentally) got hit too, police were called, and they were all fired. We never heard from any of them again.

  67. A.*

    Definitely not a “romance,” but my husband’s one co-worker is borderline obsessive about him being perfect for her daughter. She acknowledges that he’s married, begrudgingly, but just laments and laments that he didn’t meet her daughter first, because they “have so much in common.” (I mean, she’s not totally wrong…allegedly, they both like Spanish food!) Reportedly, when my husband announced my pregnancy to his colleagues, she initially gasped and whispered, “NO!” into her hand before putting on the smiling face.

    She’s harmless, but it definitely gets annoying for him! And I’m sure the woman’s poor daughter would be mortified if she knew.

      1. A.*

        Oh, it totally is and in most circumstances, he’d probably complain about her. But she’s basically one of those Legacy Employees (there in an administrative role since the beginning of the company) and would get away with murder because of how long she’s been there and also because she’d leave cupcakes for everyone after. It’s certainly annoying, but my husband just kind of nods and lightly says, “Too bad I love my wife so much!” with a laugh when she brings it up, which isn’t too often luckily. There’s enough good in his work that he doesn’t let one kooky co-worker get to him too much.

    1. rageismycaffeine*

      This sounds like something my batty (but wonderful) grandmother does whenever I’m out with her – grabs the hand or arm of the cute waiter/valet/orderly/what have you and gushes about how nice he is and how she’d just love to hook him up with her granddaughter (me) but oh, too bad, I’m married.

      It’s cute (but still really embarrassing) when it’s Grandma. It is HORRIBLE when it’s a coworker. What??!?!

  68. Midge*

    When I was in grad school the Grad Chair of my department was kind of a jerk. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel like I could go talk to the Department Chair about him… because she was his wife. It made for a pretty uncomfortable dynamic for us grad students. Who wants to talk to the Department Chair about an issue you’re having with the Grad Chair when it feels like you’re initiating a power trip-y marital spat?

    Also, word was the Grad Chair was bitter about being the spousal hire. The Department Chair (the wife) was hired first, and it took several years of the Grad Chair (the husband) working in a nearby, but less prestigious university before the department also hired him. (For context: spousal hires used to be more commonly when a male professor was hired into a department and then the university found/created a position for the wife as well. We speculated that the gender role reversal didn’t sit so well with the Grad Chair.)

    1. Not my son's favorite teacher*

      I had an econ professor who had been the spousal hire. He was on my list of bad teachers. Spent too much time talking about how much better his former school was to this one.

      1. Midge*

        How obnoxious. I don’t want to share details in order to keep this guy anonymous, but Grad Chair would do this annoying thing when talking about his past experience. He was a student at X prestigious grad school, and then taught at Y not super prestigious school that has a nickname making it sound kind of like X. So he would go on about “When I was teaching at X …” But he really meant when he was teaching at Y. He was just trying to make it sound more fancy pants than it was.

          1. Fiennes*

            Was at a dinner party this weekend where I met the husband of a friend of mine for the first time. I will not soon forget the weird conversational contortions he went through to make sure we all knew he went to Yale. We are in our late 30s.

            1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              Gosh, why didn’t he just say he went to school “in New Haven” or “just outside Boston” :P

    2. vanBOOM*

      1) If I was a grad student, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable approaching DChair about the GChair, either. Not surprising that this unfortunate oversight happened, unfortunately.
      2) Too good for a spousal hire, eh? Sorry, dude. The academic job market is in the tank, and that’s just how it’s going to work out for many people. You’re welcome to leave if you feel so insecure about it.

  69. MsMaryMary*

    Some of my coworkers had an early morning internal meeting (7am ish), and as they entered the meeting room they discovered two fellow employees getting it on. My coworkers slammed the door, and although it had to be obvious that they had been discovered, the amorous couple, uh, finished before getting dressed and exiting the meeting room.

    Unfortunately, not only were both halves of the couple married to other people, they were married to other people who worked for the same company. We had a lot of “company couples,” and as long as nobody worked on the same project team together it wasn’t a problem. Office gossip being what it is, the entire company knew before lunch. No one was fired, but HR did get involved. One of the spouses quit not long after and last I heard, one couple had divorced but the other was still together.

  70. yarnowl*

    I used to work at a very small software company (me and six other people in the office). I was part of the sales team, and one of the two sales guys was dating our manager; they had been dating before, and she got him the job because her brother owned the company and basically let her do whatever she wanted.

    She was a TERRIBLE manager, and all of us on the sales team really didn’t like her. Things started to get tense between the manager and the salesman she was dating, and about two months after he started they had this big trip to a cabin planned. We all joked in the office that they were either going to get engaged or break up, because things had gotten noticeably bad between them.

    Well, lo and behold, they came back and had broken up during the trip (we felt bad about those jokes later). The salesman continued to work with us for about six weeks, and they had the worst working relationship in the world. Like she started treating the other salesman way better and even instructed me to funnel more leads to him. The salesman would offer to take someone out to lunch and then spend the whole time talking smack about the manager! It was just awful and uncomfortable.

    Finally the salesman left and things got slightly better. I went back to school a few weeks later, and apparently after a while they got back together, he came back to work there, and then they broke up again! The company was rife with nepotism hires, and it was kind of a nightmare of a place to work. Definitely glad I got out of there.

  71. Seriously*

    Ok one more and then I am done! In a previous job I had a good work friend, we will call her Phoebe. Phoebe was very attractive and got a lot of attention from the guys even though she was happily married. We had an executive, lets call him Pete, from our NYC office who was very flirty and when he visited he made it a point to visit Phoebe’s desk. She was an admin in another department and he had no business-related reason to interact with her so it was pretty obvious that he had a crush, but she figured that it was harmless since he never made any advances or was otherwise inappropriate. One day I was sitting at her desk with her training her on something when all of a sudden he instant messages her a naked pic!! Like out of the blue and with a note containing his hotel number and inviting her to join him for a little afternoon delight. We were both mortified. Clearly it was him because it was one of those pictures where you take a picture of your reflection in the mirror and we could also see his face. When she brought the issue to HR he spoke with Pete who claimed the message was meant for someone else and decided to drop it. However, he sent it over the company’s messaging system so even if it wasn’t intended for Phoebe (which we both knew it was) it was certainly intended for someone else with the company! Why this wasn’t an issue for the HR Manager, I will never know. He seemed to feel like we should have no reason to be offended. Who doesn’t want to get naked selfies with a sex proposition from coworkers?

  72. JustaTech*

    In the first lab I worked for we shared space with another lab (same physical space, same institution, but totally different reporting structures). The one young guy in my lab started dating the one young woman in the other lab (who had just gotten out of a bad relationship). They were the most “normal” people in the lab, not nerdy or awkward.
    “Brad” and “Nellie” had dated for about a week before it was both of their birthdays. Brad was turning 30 and decided to celebrate this with a week long drinking extravaganza. Nellie was cool with this until it was *her* birthday and she wanted to go out with her girlfriends and not Brad. He responded by getting wasted, pounding on her door in the middle of the night, and when she threatened to call the cops, pissed all over her apartment door.
    Brad didn’t come in to work the next day (and our lab manager/mom/sensible person) was out, so I heard all of it from a really upset Nellie (who was my work friend, unlike Brad).

    When Brad came in the next Monday he sent me a really weird email about “I should think about who to trust and who your friends are”. Uh, I know who my friends are, and it’s not you!

    Anyway, nothing ended up coming of it; Brad and I’s lab didn’t actually have to interact with Nellie’s lab, so they were able to avoid each other. Our respective bosses weren’t told anything (but I’m sure they found out) because it never escelated in the lab. And I learned the important lesson to not date coworkers, particularly on the rebound.

  73. animaniactoo*

    Many years ago, I went to a quite small boarding school which was in a semi-remote location. Which meant that about 20 of the 25 or so faculty/admin/support staff all lived on campus with the 120 or so students. It was pre-cell-phone, pre-internet, the school did not have even basic cable for the tvs that were only available in the common rooms, and town was a 10 to 15 minute walk down a hill. As you might imagine, one of our primary forms of entertainment was talking about well… everybody. And what they were up to.

    It was all very lovely in the end, and they went on to get married, but I’m not sure there’s an embarrassment threshold high enough to describe when the French teacher starts dating one of the English teachers, and because this is a nosy bunch of hormonal high school students EVERYBODY knows when he first spent the night with her. Because the residents of his dorm are reporting that he wasn’t in that night and speculating, leading to the residents of her dorm reporting that they last saw him going into her apartment (on their respective nights off, other dorm parents were on duty that night).

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man blush so hard in my life. He blushed lightly when first having his chops busted about being interested in her, and was likely carried on the wave of support and enthusiasm the students had for them getting together. But I don’t think they were prepared for how intense the interest was over the progression of their relationship. I do think they were charmed when their engagement was announced at or towards the end of that school year, and *everybody* cheered for them.

    1. rageismycaffeine*

      Awww, this story is very sweet! Please tell me the students were invited to the wedding. Or at least that there was a reception/party on campus to celebrate.

      1. animaniactoo*

        lol, no. I’m pretty sure they didn’t hire on again for the next year, but don’t remember for sure because that was my senior year so I wasn’t there next year to witness the goings on. But I seem to remember they were headed off somewhere else – maybe somewhere that their babymaking attempts wouldn’t be the school-wide topic of conversation at breakfast?

  74. Ann O'Nemity*

    Declaring a one night stand “relationship”

    Jane went to HR to declare her romantic relationship with John. John then went to HR and denied having a relationship with Jane. Yadda, yadda, yadda… turns out they just slept together and John did not want an ongoing relationship.

    It brought up an interesting question re: one night stands with coworkers, but HR did not update their policy to address such situations.

    1. SJPufendork*

      In like form, I did almost work for a company that had an explicit policy forbidding one night stands, but also from sending dead flowers to co-workers.

      It makes the mind boggle.

  75. Murphy*

    My parents met at work (different departments I think, definitely not in eachother’s chain of command) and they’ve been married for 37 years.

    1. Not my story*

      My parents met at work (never reported to each other) and didn’t typically work the same shifts, but have been married for 37 years. Interestingly, numerous couples met and got married while at this same job and most are still together…so 35+ years of marriage.

  76. Mads*

    We used to have a couple who worked as administrators for an online gaming server I worked with, Wakeen and Jane. Wakeen was quiet but was a lovely and funny guy, Jane was funny, but was also very outspoken and loud. One day at the end of my shift, I leave to the sound of Jane having an argument with the boss – this isn’t too unusual, so I don’t pay much attention and log out.

    I log back in to find the entire staff in a state of panic. Turns out the boss had finally had enough of Jane’s arguing, and had fired her. In retaliation, Wakeen had attempted to sabotage the back end of the server and had successfully corrupted the world map.

  77. Colorado CrazyCatLady*

    Mine went so traumatically poorly and with so much public drama, horror, trauma, violence, that I am hesitant to share it for fear of it giving away who I am, even if I post anonymously… though I DOUBT anyone from that workplace reads this….

  78. Anon24601*

    I once had so bad of a crush on a coworker that I considered quitting to remove myself from the situation (I was engaged at the time, she was in a relationship.)

    Well, one thing led to another, and today is our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple!

  79. Malibu Stacey*

    Two coworkers I’ll call Steve and Jenny were living together and even bought a house together and were together for several years. One day Steve tells Jenny not only is he breaking up with her, & not only is it for another woman, but he’s engaged to this other woman and they married and had 2 kids right away back to back.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      Stuff like this is why I will never live with anyone again unless we’re married. Because at least in a divorce, you have some recourse with the finances (unless you’ve come to some written agreement, and most people don’t). I had a coworker once who lived with a guy for like twenty years, and they bought a house together, and then he dumped her. Because they weren’t married, she lost every cent she put into that place–it was under his name. :(

  80. NotMyRealName*

    I was 3 mos into a new job at a pretty big company, and a totally separate department three floors up hired my brother. He’d drop by my cubicle during breaks and we’d go get lunch together pretty regularly. After about two weeks, a coworker cornered me (nicely) and told me she’d noticed that other man sniffing around my cubicle and sneaking off to lunch with me, what did my husband think about it? I DIED. I was so caught off-guard in that moment that I didn’t realize she didn’t know he was my brother, and my first thought was “OMG she thinks my brother and I are dating?” So I told her he was happily married and I liked my sister-in-law a lot, and … oh yeah, BTW he’s my brother. Oh lawdy, I get the cringeys just reliving it. It ended with her laughing and apologizing, but eeeeewwwwwwww.

    1. AthenaC*

      Reminds me of the time I went to a church thing with my brother, and one of the guys he knew there walked up and said, “Hey, Apollo! I haven’t seen you with a girl in a while …..” (insert significant glance in my direction)

      Well-meaning, slightly awkward, kinda funny.

      1. Annie Moose*

        Hahaha, reminds me of something that happened to my sister… one of our cousins was up in our area for something we were all doing together, and came to church on Sunday morning. The resident beloved but incredibly nosy old woman delightedly pulled my sister aside to ask her if that nice young man was there for her. “Oh, yeah,” my sister says innocently, not really thinking about it. “Wait. WAIT NO NOT LIKE THAT!”

        The poor lady was so disappointed…

      2. Julia*

        My mother once insisted I went with my brother to get his (and my) hair cut, and the hair dresser working on me asked how long we’d been dating. I was like, “ew, that’s my brother!!” and she asked how much older he was. My brother is three years younger than me.

    2. Mental Mouse*

      For 30 years (I’m 50 now), I’ve had people mistaking my mother for a girlfriend or wife. Admittedly, Mom’s always looked young for her age, but still…

  81. Completely Anonymous*

    I work in a museum. You can rent the museum to have parties, weddings, corporate events, etc. About 2 years ago we were having a huge nighttime event and it was all hands on deck, even for the admin dept. Alcohol was flowing and people were feeling no pain.

    It was time for speeches and I was asked to run up to the theater booth and grab a mic because the one on stage wasn’t working and the AV guy was nowhere in sight. The booth lights were on but the blinds had been lowered and closed. I opened the door and there was the married AV guy and a drunk female guest, completely nude and involved in adult activities. I was so shocked I just kind of stood there until the woman looked up and yelled “get out”. I ran out of the booth and told the event coordinator I couldn’t find the mic.

    The event coordinator went to look for the mic and the AV guy and drunk guest had finished up and were putting their clothes back on. Turns out the drunk guest was his high school crush and he just “couldn’t pass up the opportunity”. Obviously he got fired for having sex at work. His wife found out, divorced him and he got with his high school crush and they are still together as far as I know.

    The event coordinator asked me later why I didn’t tell her what was going on. I told her I could not figure out a polite way to say “I can’t get a mic because the AV guy is having sex in the booth”.

  82. ChatNoir*

    When I worked at a large retail chain, the store manager (about 40 years old) started dating an employee (who was about 22). This guy was a complete asshat and sexually harrassed a number of women in the store. One employee kept a record of all the things he’d done. The employee he was dating changed dramatically in personality while dating him. She had previously been very chatty and friendly, but became very withdrawn. The store manager finally pulled a stunt that caused the employee keeping a file to report him (he picked up a small female employee and put her in a trash can). The company decided to move him to a store in another state, and the employee he was dating went with him. We were all very concerned for her, and several people told her that if she ever needed any help that she could come to them. We never heard from either of them again.

      1. Rebecca in Dallas*

        I kept going back to re-read that sentence because I kept thinking surely I had missed a word or something.

      2. NPDBGJ*

        Actually, I believe it. I worked at a large retail chain for 2.5 years part time on top of my regular job for a while, and we hired a immigrant guy from somewhere in the middle east. Soon afterwards, I had at least two other girls confide in me that this guy was sexually harassing them, and then a third that (fortunately) had witnesses of it. I immediately called the Operations Manager (just below store manager) and said, “Lori, Fergus is hitting on Jane and she can’t get him to back off. You need to deal with this or I’ll go deal with him.”

        Lori, who already knew of the first two incidents, listened to Jane, and verified the story with the witnesses. The best thing they could do was transfer Fergus to the far side of the store and threaten that if they ever caught him in any other area outside of the break-room, he wouldn’t even need to clock out. They also detailed LP to keep a particularly close eye on him.

        He quit about a week or so later.

        1. N.J.*

          What does him being an immigrant or middle eastern have to do with the story? The core of the story is that s new guy was a creeper who was sexually hsrrrssinb employees. By sharing his immigration status and percieved cultural origin you are structuring this story in such a way that these characteristics are somehow important to the story. Attributing behavior to someone because they are part of a cultural group can be called a range of things, none of them nice. Just a heads up thst you might want to think long and hard about why it was necessary to share his immigration status or origin in this story, as it is concerning thst you would do so.

  83. Marcy*

    Years ago I was helping a small company with a personnel matter because their HR person was on maternity leave. I don’t remember exactly what the personnel matter was about but it involved a conflict between two employees at a big meeting, so I had to interview people from the company who were at the meeting. Everyone I interviewed wanted to tell me about what happened between Wakeen and Jane (the HR person on maternity leave). Apparently Wakeen and Jane had been sleeping with each other for years. Then Amy joined the company and Wakeen started sleeping with Amy. A few months later, Jane was pregnant with Wakeen’s baby. Wakeen dumps Jane and gets engaged to Amy. Eventually Wakeen and Amy get married and leave the company, and Jane takes FMLA leave to have her baby. The really weird party about this story is that Wakeen, Amy and Jane were not related in any way to the personnel matter I was investigating.

      1. Amarzing*

        Once, I had a boss I reported for sexual harassment. So at some point I spent an hour on the phone with the investigator, very calm, factual, and I was shaking and pacing the entire time, it was nerve-wracking, for sure, and it was not, let’s say, an “exciting” case of sexual harassment – borderline stuff, really weird guy, power differential. So at the end, she’s like, “Is there anything else?” and I’m like…hmmm…this isn’t exactly relevant but…it is…something… “Yeah, [quick background, it was a summer internship, with two positions, the other person had also worked the previous year with a different, male, intern] the other intern told me that the male intern [quick background on him: his mom worked for this place, and also near the end of his internship last year he’d no-showed and it turned out he was in jail on a domestic abuse charge from his wife] from the previous summer went to get a massage with Boss, and that he told her that Boss got a Happy Ending with his massage.” She was audibly shocked by this, which was moderately satisfying, in some way, I guess just like, oh now you’re listening, huh, or just that thrill of being the first to tell someone about something kind of sordid.

  84. vanBOOM*

    Reading all of these stories brings me back to a time where I worked at a restaurant with one of my younger brother’s friends (the friend being closer to my age, if not slightly older than me). I was never interested in this guy at all–in fact, I really didn’t like him–but I was constantly being pressured by co-workers to go out with him because we would “look good” together as a couple.

    If I recall correctly, he quit in the middle of his shift one day–making sure to make a scene by throwing packets of ketchup in front of customers as he left. Real mature. I later learned that his family once had the cops called to his house because he wouldn’t stop violently throwing shoes at his younger sister, and that he had been kicked out of college during his senior year due to his chronic drinking issues. Based on what I’ve heard recently, he’s struggling professionally (surprise!) and is still an all-around terrible person to know.

    Would have never in a million years considered dating him; just super happy to be right about him in the face of weird, constant co-worker pressure to date another co-worker.

  85. DCGirl*

    Back in my Big Four accounting firm days, I worked as a proposal manager. The firm had a big initiative to professionalize its business development activities and started creating regional Business Development Centers (BDCs) . One of them was placed in my office, and the person designated to head it was one of the salespeople. I hadn’t, in the year that I was there, seen her bring in a single viable opportunity. I did, however, know everything about her home renovations, including the fact that she’d bought the house from a well-known TV weatherman, because reams of estimates and bills would spew forth from the fax machines. REAMS. Like, no one could get a fax in or out because it was always disgorging stuff for her. There was a widely circulated rumor that she was sleeping with someone in the office.

    The tax practice had regular meetings at which the Tax PIC (partner in charge) would ask a question and give a $100 bill to the person who responded correctly. One day the question was, “Guess who got engaged last night?” The answer was him and the newly minted head of the BDC. It went over like a lead balloon, and he got snippy because not everyone was as ecstatic as he was.

  86. (Another) B*

    In my 20s I learned that hooking up with any coworker was a bad idea. It just makes things awkward. Of course it happened multiple times before I learned.

  87. Not my son's favorite teacher*

    Now nothing inappropriate happened. But an eww anyhow. The current principal of the high school my children graduated from started out as a teacher there. In between he had became the principal of the elementary school my children had attended. During the time he was away from the high school he divorced, his son graduated from that same high school, he remarried and had another child. So far nothing unusual except second wife is 20 years his junior and a former student. And the schools are Catholic and he was the religion teacher.

    1. Ann O'Nemity*

      Yes, I know a couple that had a similar story. The husband was a teacher at the same grade school his wife attended. She became a teacher herself and eventually taught at the same high school he was a principal at. No joke. That’s when they got together, about 30 years after they first met.

  88. Murphy*

    Not an office romance story, but Valentine’s related: We had a large group meeting/presentation this morning. A male higher up started his talk with “Welcome ladies & gentlemen and happy Valentine’s Day…to the ladies.” (It didn’t sound creepy, like it does now that I’ve typed it out.) After he was done, a female higher up spoke and said, “I feel like I need to say happy Valentine’s Day to the gentlemen.” At the event’s closing, another presenter said “Happy Valentine’s Day to EVERYONE.” It was all pretty funny, but I don’t know why the first guy couldn’t have just said “happy Valentine’s Day” full stop.

  89. Mela*

    This is actually from yesterday. My unit works at a relatively remote site (45 minutes from our head office with no public transport options to get there) so we meet at the head office and use a company car to commute back and forth. Yesterday, my co-worker’s husband decided to drive an hour to surprise her with flowers (and presumably something else), but we had left about 20 minutes early. Mid-drive we’re getting calls from the site saying that her husband is looking for her. We all laugh and assume it’s a joke. She comes in today and tells us it was real and he was super annoyed all night and it ruined their evening together. Oops! (But not really, we often leave a little early and he didn’t coordinate at all with anyone to do this properly, so it’s mostly on him)

  90. NP*

    Two teachers at my middle school got involved with each other. They were allegedly found out when the custodian caught them in the act on school property after hours. They were both married and got divorced. She had kids in younger grades that everybody knew. They were allowed to finish out the school year to avoid scandal caused by firing them in the middle of the semester. They are now married to each other.

  91. Jean*

    Okay, I have a story. When I was 18 I was working at McDonald’s and I was kind of having a fling with one of the shift supervisors. We had an argument or something, and one night at work when I told him we needed his help up front, he called me a pretty nasty name. I was pulling a shake right then, and I took the cup of shake mixture, put it on the mixer, mixed it up, then walked in the back and threw it on him.

    He told me later he was really mad that I had mixed the shake up before flinging it at him. And no, I didn’t lose my job, not then anyway. And we kept seeing each other for another year or two.

  92. Seen the Worst*

    This is a long story, but the wicked were punished — Years ago I was a summer intern at a Firm in a professional field, like accounting. There were almost 30 interns in my class and we were all pretty close. One woman in the group — we’ll call her Sophie, was smart, good looking, but young and naïve. During our summer, she dated two different partners in the Firm — she was very impressed by their wealth and supposed sophistication — she shared that there had been an incident in the parking garage where she was in Fancy Car with Partner A and Partner B saw it and got in his Fancy Car and they chased each other around. All of us saw this as stupid posturing by immature men, but Sophie loved it. Fast forward a year and we were all back as first year employees of the Firm. Being a first year means doing scut work, boring stuff, long nights stuck in conference rooms etc. All of us were miserable, except for Sophie. Somehow she was jetting off to client meetings in exotic locations, getting interesting work and lots of exposure and experience. She couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the rest of us and told us to work harder and have a better attitude. It all came crashing down when a different partner, Partner C, who happened to be the head recruiting partner for Firm, was found sleeping in his office. Seems that Partner C and Sophie had started a relationship back at the end of the summer internship and when she came back as a first year, he appointed himself her mentor — which was why she was getting all the best work. What’s worse, Partner C’s wife found out about the affair, and she was the CFO of a Very Important Company (think Fortune 50). She went around town telling everyone in the accounting field about Partner C’s perfidy. At this point Firm had to Take Steps. Sophie, still not getting it — claimed that it was all fine because Partner C treated her GREAT, plus she had dated Partner A and Partner B, so what was the big deal? All the partners involved were fined multiple tens of thousands of dollars by Firm. This was reported in the newspaper because everyone in the accounting community in the city knew about it. Sophie and Partner C got married, but soon Sophie had to leave Firm because no one in our class would speak to her and her reputation both as a person and as an accountant was trashed since no one could be sure that she’d gotten where she was on her own merit or because of the preferential treatment she got. I would see Partner C and Sophie around town at various events where they were treated with chilly politeness. Sadly, I still don’t think Sophie understands why she and Partner C get the cold shoulder.

  93. nolongeratemp*

    Years ago I was a long-term temp for a company that had a no dating co-workers policy. My boss was a quiet guy who seemed nice but didn’t really discuss his personal life but he did mention that he had a baby. The main boss had recently had a baby and had baby photos all over with no pics of the dad/husband. Turns out those two were married and even had a baby but couldn’t tell anyone without one or both of them getting fired. I found out through another co-worker after I stopped working there and things seemed to go well for them. Living a lie like that would have driven me crazy!

    1. rageismycaffeine*

      OK I had to read this a couple of times to make sure – they were married to each other? But had to treat it like something shameful to never be spoken of because of company policy? That is bananas.

    2. Dovahkiin*

      omg did you work for a publishing company in CO? I had a coworker with this exact same story. Eventually they both found other places of work and “came out” as married.

  94. Back Away Slowly*

    When I worked at McDonald’s in high school, a classmate also worked there. He had a crush on me, but I had less than zero interest in him. One day I took care of something that was technically his job because he was busy and I had the time. He found out what I did, and in front of a lot of other employees, said, “Hey, thanks for doing that! I should take you to the Prom as a thank you!” The Prom was indeed coming up at school. I had to stand there and say, “Oh, no, that’s not necessary. It was no big deal…”

    Moral of the story: Don’t ask someone to the Prom (or on a date or to get married) in front of a crowd unless you’re damn sure you’re going to get the answer you want.

    1. vpc*

      Yeah, I was present at a public proposal – after a symphony concert – where the girl said no in front of 1000 people. If I recall right it was something on the order of, “Mike, I’m so honored you asked, but if you knew me at all, you would know that I hate public stuff like this. So I don’t think we know each other well enough to get married.”

      I felt bad for the guy, but she was right. And I think some bro or galpal must have warned her, to have her speech prepared.

  95. FormerLW*

    I dated a coworker. All was kosher with regard to our workplace relationship – different teams, different supervisors, no violations of the employee handbook. I ended up getting a new job a couple of months into the relationship. A job very closely related to our company. VERY closely related – government/government contractor. Still, our teams did not overlap, so we were both pretty pleased at the lucky break – I got a new and better job, and we were no longer coworkers and so everything could not be more on the up-and-up.

    Fast forward to the relationship ending about as badly as a relationship can end, barring physical violence. If we had still worked together, I would have had to quit without a notice period rather than work in the ~30 person office with him, even though I did not fear for my physical safety. Over a year after the breakup, I ran, literally ran, out of a hotel ballroom two hours into a conference. I had run into a kind former colleague who still worked closely with Ex, and he gently informed me that Ex was present. There were HUNDREDS of people at this conference. I know that Ex would not have approached me. Ex did not harass or threaten me – but any proximity to him made me physically ill. Last I heard, he took a job out of the country. I wept tears of joy. I will never date a colleague ever, ever again. I simply would not have been able to keep working in that office, and I did not have enough of a financial cushion to keep myself afloat, jobless. Just never do it.

  96. Pipes*

    I met my husband at work. It worked out well. BUT.

    I think there’s a “sweet spot” for company size. Small and medium companies can be a disaster. My company employs tens of thousands of people and we literally never worked together. We didn’t even work with anyone who worked together!

    However, we (a few hundred other kids) were hired directly out of college into my company’s college program. That’s where we met and it worked well, but not for some. At the time (it’s evolved variously over the years) it was about a year of what was essentially “company school”. They brought us all to one of the company’s HQs and offered partially subsidized (and fully furnished!) apartments , which basically everyone took. We were separated into “teams” and attended classes with our teammates to learn about the industry, the company, the skills needed to do the job, etc. We would regularly meet as an entire “class” for some activities as well, both work and fun related.

    So here you have hundreds of kids right out of college all living in a few very close apartment complexes in which you could walk to a bars and restaurants for fun post-work socializing, and spending 8 hours a day at work with each other doing classroom work, learning, and fun activities.

    It was basically like college in that people hooked up like crazy and poor decisions abounded. Terrible break ups, drama, a couple found screwing in an office after-hours. They were fired, needless to say. But it just boggles my mind. We’re getting paid about 50k just to LEARN the company and the skills needed to succeed in this industry which leads to a guaranteed 6 figure job and you throw it away because you couldn’t drive 20 minutes back to your apartment?

    1. Beancounter Eric*

      I suspect it’s the thrill of the forbidden….the idea that you might get away with doing something very much against the rules.

      Or it could just be raging hormones and latent stupidity.

      Your mileage may vary.

  97. kimberly*

    Co-worker had struggled in secret to get her on-line degree/teacher certification, so she could leave her abusive spouse. She came to work at our school. We have in the last few years lost 2 students and their Mom to their father’s murder/suicide. Had 2 coworkers abusive spouse attempt to kill them and their kids at home. Another coworker lost her sister and mother and nearly lost her nieces and nephews to her brother-in-law’s murderous rampage. (Thankfully the kids’ bus driver was sick and their bus was late getting home). So we are hyper aware of the signs.

    New co-worker is leaving one night and is confronted by her soon to be x-husband threatening her. One of the Aides is leaving late, and he is able to scare off STBX.

    Co-worker and the Aide (who is now certified teacher) are married. They have 7 kids between them, a grandson. They have provided shelter for parents and kids fleeing DV situations and know how to get them legal help.

    One of my 2nd graders was in a dangerous DV situation and his mother was struggling to find a safe way to leave. My co-worker (who was a cousin of the violent husband Honestly 1/2 the school staff was related in some way it seems) helped the mom get to safety and get a restraining order. The small town cops, actually staked out our school, because of threats the father made on social media until he was caught. They left and were back 2 hours later because of another family’s domestic violence situation with the Mom being the one threatening to come to the school and kill people.

    1. Hrovitnir*

      This is super sad but also really heartening that so many of you have worked together to help. Also so nice to hear such a happy ending for Aide and Coworker; they sound like wonderful people.

  98. AMG*

    After my fiancé dumped me and went to law school, I also applied to the same law school and got in. I admit, I was trying to win him back. We both landed a prestigious internship, but so did his NEW fiancée!
    I found out that my professor, the partner of the law firm, only hired me so he could hit on me and I was devastated. But–I defended the client in a stunning win ALL by myself. My ex-fiancé tried to get back together with me but I called him a bonehead and married my former professor/boss’s protege instead!
    My ex-fiancé was dumped by HIS fiancée and now she and I are best friends!!

      1. AthenaC*

        Oh, Warner!

        *click, click, click*

        Remember those 4 uh-MAZ-ing hours in the hot tub after winter formal?

        *gobsmacked stare*

        This is SO much BETTER!!

        (I could do this all day)

  99. AthenaC*

    At first I thought – oh this will be fun to read but I don’t have any stories myself. Except I do, now that I think about it – lol.

    1) Way back when I was a young Airman, I dated an Army NCO. I was in training, and he was my instructor. Big, BIG no-no. Dating him was fun as hell, and we stayed friends afterward. Until we got married and he turned into the husband from hell. He’s an ex now.

    2) First job out of college, I get in the airport security line and who should I see but one of my old classmates! We were casually acquainted and used to kinda eye each other across the class. He had separated from his wife, gotten hired by my company, and was even working on my team for that week! Seriously, it was like something out of a rom-com movie. Anyway, he became my out-of-town hookup for the 6 months he lasted with the company. That one was kinda fun.

    3) Same company as #2, we had a very cute manager who hooked up with a recruit – the same guy in #2. She was married. It bugged him how little control he had over the situation. After they broke up, the same girl got divorced and started dating an intern. They are still together, married, and have a kid together.

    4) Same company as #2, (you seeing a theme here?) a girl I worked for was really awful to work with and always getting away with murder. Turns out, she and her direct manager were sleeping together (why didn’t I think of that?). When they finally left their respective spouses and “came out” as a couple, he had the nerve to talk about how they were each walking away from their respective interest in the houses they shared with their spouses; he described it as “like a gift” to their exes. They are still together, married, and have a kid together.

  100. subrosa for this*

    I finally hooked up with my handsome work crush after I quit working at DysfunCo. After all those years of buildup and tension, the sex was nowhere near as good as I had imagined it would be.

    Fortunately, we’re still friends. I say fortunately, because he’s now the manager of the department I used to work in, and there’s no HR, so all my prospective employers end up talking to him.

    I guess that’s Lesson #1,753 about not hooking up with co-workers… ;)

  101. CMF*

    Sorry, no disaster here, but I did meet my husband at work 30 years ago, and we’ve been happily married for 24.

  102. Just Me and My $0.02*

    My husband and I work for the same company. He gave them my resume when I moved to the area a few months before our wedding, and since that, we’ve been managed separately (different bosses, sometimes the same next-level boss) the last 10 years.

    My first year working, we were still feeling our way through professional norms, like you do. Such as the fact that having lunch together at my desk was NOT within norms. Especially since HE set up a high tea complete with a three-tier tray in my cubicle and then camped out until I finished a meeting.


    1. Manders*

      This is making me want high tea to be a professional norm now. Can someone start writing articles about the effect of daily cucumber sandwich and tea breaks on employee productivity?

  103. Emi.*

    My socially awkward coworker once told me how impressive the new hires were–the other two because they had worked before college, and me because I had gotten married right out of college and thereby spared myself a lot of heartache. I was like, “Um, okay.”

    He then proceeded to tell me all about his son’s romantic/sexual woes (hint: if you’re ever wondering whether a new hire wants to hear the words “And that’s how I found out my son wasn’t a virgin,” the answer is no). Later that day, he stopped me in the hallway to say that he thought I was a nice, sensible, churchgoing girl from a nice, sensible, churchgoing family, and did I have any sisters his son’s age?

  104. MSquared*

    At my last workplace, a male staff member hooked up with a female volunteer after they had both been working an evening event. The next evening event we had, the volunteer again showed up but staff was allowed to bring dates and the guy brought a different girl. The volunteer got upset enough that she started crying at the event, and afterwards she told our volunteer manager she was too humiliated to ever volunteer with us again – which sucked, because we were thin on volunteers and she was a good one.

    I’m wonder if there are any ethics on this – is it in general not a good idea for staff to date volunteers? Is it OK under any circumstances? It seems like it could be construed as a power imbalance since one person is getting paid and one person isn’t, although the staff member wasn’t technically in a position of supervising the volunteer. I was really nervous that this volunteer could come back and accuse us of fostering an environment of sexual harassment, or something like that. At the very least, this staff member’s actions lost us a good volunteer.

    1. Isben Takes Tea*

      Yeah, where I volunteer, we have to sign a volunteer agreement/code of conduct, where it lays out we have the ethical responsibilities of employees, like showing up to “work,” following rules and laws, etc. We have to follow the employee personnel policy, sexual harassment stuff, etc. I think it’s exactly on the same lines as coworkers–it’s not strictly unethical, but it’s a bad idea.

  105. Elemeno P.*

    I’m in theme parks, where everyone sleeps with each other. This can range from the uneventful (people who date but it doesn’t interfere with work) to the slightly awkward (Jane dumped Wakeen and Wakeen needs some back of house work for a couple of days so guests won’t see him crying) to the very awkward (Fergus, who previously slept with Linda and is currently dating Cheryl, was just revealed to also be sleeping with Mary and Francine, and now Cheryl needs to be positioned VERY far away from Fergus).

    After I stopped working on the front line, the previously mentioned Fergus did ask me out at one point. Given that I was friends with both Linda and Cheryl, who were both open about some…very unflattering things about him, it was quite the bold move.

    Management was also fun because those parties had alcohol and drama didn’t stop at the front line. Which married VP was sleeping with which HR VP? Find out at the next management gathering!

    1. Lovemyjob...Truly!!!*

      I worked for a big theme park operation and the dating drama was intense. I wasn’t part of it. I was married with kids and not at all interested in changing that, but it was fun to watch it play out. (yeah, I’m that kind of person!) There was all kinds of drama at that place. The students who were there as part of a college program had some of the best drama-filled stories. My favorite (which wasn’t romantically based) involved three young women refusing to speak or even look at one another during their shifts because of what one of them ate for breakfast. Apparently she was from China (I think) and it was not uncommon to cook rice and veggies for breakfast but whatever she cooked smelled badly and they fought over it. That job was actually pretty interesting…I really did learn a lot about other cultures while working with those students. To be honest, I assumed everyone ate cereal of some kind for breakfast. I was wrong.

  106. Sunshine*

    So first the cute one:
    My parents met working together at a government research lab in the 80s in the Rockies! I’d known they met that way but didn’t really know how they started dating, and one day I found an old photo album of my dads with a photo of my mom on a hike and he had written “First Date 1986” under it. I was excited and I was like awww, this is so cute! I showed it to my mom and she went “that wasn’t a date. We just went hiking as friends. We started dating later.”

    And the terrible story:
    I was working as an intern one summer in college at an animal non profit, which means we lived on property, worked 12+ hour days, and were in the middle of nowhere. Being a dumb 20 yr old, I fell head over heels in love with 26 yr old intern “Fergus”. I was also good friends with “Jane”. I didn’t tell anyone of my crush because I was at least that smart but I think it was pretty obvious. Anyways about one week before Fergus was done working there, he suddenly turned into a huge jerk and wouldn’t be in the same room as Jane when they used to be really good friends. As he was supposed to still be training her on things, this was awkward. He also was just rude to all of us and wouldn’t hang out any more. After he left, he texted me for about two weeks and then got pissed at me over text and ever returned any other texts. I then found out from another intern that Jane and Fergus had been dating-ish and they had slept together, but Jane regretted it because she didn’t like sleeping with people she had no future with, and she told Fergus this and he became a huge jerk to everyone for a week.
    In the meantime, my best friend there “Wakeen” and another intern “Kate” had been sort of dating, but she told him she didn’t want to even make out because of she knew it would end up being long distance and she had some religious reservations about making out with guys who she wouldn’t be able to really commit to, and he took it JUST FINE and they stayed friends and would still hang out and he respected her boundaries.
    Anyways, turns out if you force 10 20-26 year olds to live in 2 cabins in the middle of nowhere for 12 weeks, people get very dramatic.

  107. lcsa99*

    My mother used to be an office manager for a small engineering firm and after working there for many years started dating and then later married one of the engineers. They divorced after about 7 years together and he immediately went into full mid-life crisis mode, including shaving his head, growing a goatee and telling everyone, including her, that she wasn’t his ex-wife, but his future wife.

    Thankfully he met someone closer to his age very shortly after and started dating he but at the time it was so bizarre.

  108. Erika*

    I wrote in a few years ago about a really terrible situation in which a guy-friend at work took our friendship too seriously despite the fact that I was married (and in fact he’d been invited to our wedding). It didn’t end well, and I found out later that he formed unhealthy attachments to all the new women who came through that office.

    I loved that job because I liked so many of the people there but everyone was also deeply, deeply dysfunctional (and so was the place, by proxy).

  109. Jamie*

    I am the result of a workplace romance which today would result in more HR paperwork than being caught pooping on the copy machine.

    1953 my dad was a 31 year old programmer. Back in the day they coded on punch cards and so needed people to sit on stools and feed the cards into the mainframes. Enter my almost 18 year old mom as one of 5 young women hired to do just that.

    She wasn’t good at it. She kept dropping them and putting them in out of order…which you’d think would have annoyed my exacting, impatient, brilliant father (as others were fired for far less) but she was very beautiful and so sweet …and she had that adoring him thing going on so guess who had job security?

    Job security for 3 months until he married her on her 18th birthday.

    To recap:
    -She was a teenager / he was over 30
    -He was her direct boss
    -Performance standards waived due to her looks / the less pretty picking up her slack

    Even without wildly inappropriate fraternization, the ever present bottle of scotch in his desk drawer and his well earned reputation for arrogance and ..let’s just call it “being difficult” HR would have had their hands full with him.

    My siblings and I are here due to that inappropriate fraternization so apparently today’s stricter behavioral rules in the workplace is an attempt to keep others like us from being born. :)

    Idk what she was paid for the pushing cards into a slot gig, but the whole marriage thing was very financially rewarding so probably made out better in the long run than if she’d been a card feeding savant making it a career.

    1. Gandalf the Nude*

      Apparently today’s stricter behavioral rules in the workplace is an attempt to keep others like us from being born.

      Nothing has ever made me question my chosen career path more than this has.

    2. zora*

      Haha! My uncle is the result of an old-school work fraternization also… and my grandfather was another “scotch in the desk drawer” and jerky drunk at work behavior guy… funny how times have changed, right?!?!

  110. NotMyUsualName*

    At my first job after college, there was one guy in my department who the department head loved. He ended up getting fast-tracked to a management position when he was like 26, and got put in charge of resume screening, interviewing, and hiring. This was especially weird because we worked at a bureaucratic megacorp where that Just Doesn’t Happen.

    Once Wakeen was put in charge of interviewing, the demographics of our candidates saw the most remarkable change! All of the new interviewees were young ladies from Eastern European or Southeast Asian countries! Not necessarily recent immigrants but all of them were first generation at least. Once he’d hired a few people, he began phasing the old hands in our department out of the interview panel.

    And Wakeen really cared a lot about making the new girls feel welcome. He’d take them out for lunch and coffee — on his dime — and tell them stories about all of his rich Wall Street friends who loved him so much they were constantly buying him expensive Scotch and cigars. I even heard that he started taking one of them out to check out all the clubs and bars in his neighborhood, because he was just such a nice guy.

    And of course, he made sure that they for experience in this job. When projects were nearing completion, he’d switch the old people off their projects and switch the new young ladies he’d hired to them, and congratulate them on a job well done on the department mailing list, and down-rate the unproductive people he had to take off those projects.

    This was all heavy sarcasm, if you couldn’t tell.

  111. AnotherAlison*

    One guy I work with dated several of the young women who hired on. I always thought the guy was kind of weird, and definitely not the type of guy I personally would date, but another woman in our department really got vocal when another coworker started dating him. She made it clear that she didn’t like him, and didn’t think the coworker should date him. They were good friends before, and it damaged their relationship to where they were no longer friends and only spoke to each other as needed for work reasons.

    The guy and the woman ended up dating for a long time, getting married, and have a baby together. (He’s not really a bad “don’t date that guy” type, just odd.)

  112. lolanon*

    (This is gonna sound trashy, but I was 23 and worked at a call center)

    I was training a new hire for way long than necessary (I thought he was stupid). I had a boyfriend (that he knew about) that also worked in the call center. My boyfriend at the time got fired (no biggie, everyone got fired all the time), but he didn’t want to drop me off at work anymore and since we only had one car, I was asking around for carpooling. The new hire said he lived right by me and was doing some OT so if I wanted to do OT as well we could just go in together. We ended up doing a lot of 16 hour shifts together plus commuting so I was with this guy for like 18 hours a day, 5 days a week, for months.

    On Valentines’ Day, my boyfriend didn’t buy me anything because he said it was a vapid, stupid, made up, commercial, money grab of a holiday designed to drive up that puts a price tag on love and sets up guys for unrealistic expectations. I was pretty bummed and felt like a toad. My coworker “as a joke” bought a $1 CVS box of chocolate for me as his “work wife.” Coworker then got fired at the end of his shift (LOL) so we ended up going out to a bar where he drunkenly confessed his love to me and the fact that he got accidentally fired by pretending to be bad at his job so he could sit with me all the time.

    I broke up with my boyfriend by text message and my coworker and I have been together for 7 years today.

    1. lolanon*

      Oh I forgot to add that he also confessed that he didn’t live next to me at all. He was driving 15 minutes in from his house and past work another 15 minutes to pick me up. Someone who actually did live close to him wanted to carpool and he had to keep up his a lie that he moved for 9 months.

  113. AP in Tennessee*

    I work at a school where a male gym teacher was hooking up with a much younger teacher, and then began dating a much older teacher. Watching a 20 y/0 woman and a 50 y/0 woman have a shouting match on the soccer field was…interesting.

  114. Visualized Tacos*

    I worked at a highly dysfunctional office where two supervisors (both married, with kids) were very clearly having an affair. They spent every minute together. They could often be found having private lunch in any meeting room that wasn’t locked or in use.

    One day they both disappeared. Emails went out: Fergus is no longer with the company, please refer any projects he was working on to the manager; Jane has decided to take a leave of absence and will be out for the next two weeks (spoiler alert: she “decided not to come back”).

    Turns out management was onto them and compiled a documented list of dates and times of their shenanigans, with documentation from the security cameras. Apparently they got busy everywhere – the training facility, the spare office, the parking lot, even the supply room. All within view of cameras.

    A lesson for us all: if you want to have an affair, at least check for cameras.

  115. Liane*

    For years, most people who weren’t close thought Husband & I met at my university’s Bio Department, where he was working as the A-V/Electronics tech and I was a student. Actually we met at the university’s roleplaying game club. We let people assume because RPGers in the 80s were often looked down on by non-gamers, about like the video gamer OP from yesterday was running into. (Plus people/organizations having kerfuffles and crises that it was you’ll-go-to-hell evil and supposed connections to 1 or 2 suicides.)
    Now we did see each other during his workday but didn’t make it awkward. In fact, I was taking a course from the department chairman and he aided/abetted in a very mild fashion. He’d often ask me to take the cart with the slide projector back to the A-V room.
    To be honest, it was more of an issue in the game group, and our gamemaster didn’t take long to insist that we not sit next to each other. Not PDA so much as, if we’d had an argument our characters would be dueling with +5 magic swords.

    1. MoodyMoody*

      I think my husband of 31 years decided it was love when he found my D&D books in my dorm room. This was in 1983, so they were first ed. We still table-top together when the group’s schedule allows.

      Not completely off-topic; he was my lab TA for a computer class I took in college.

  116. sometimeswhy*

    I sat on an interview panel once where I encountered a guy who, when answering a question about dealing with workplace conflict, went on a long, convoluted, extremely detailed story the upshot of which was: he’d started dating a colleague, it wasn’t going well, and he needed a new job so he could break up with her.

    He did not get the job.

  117. TMA*

    I thought I didn’t have anything to contribute to this, but I totally do! This one isn’t a romance gone wrong… it totally went right!

    In my first job during high school, my mother-in-law was my boss. I was complaining to her one day about boys, and she said she would set me up with her son who was around my age (Fun fact: she had a picture of her family on her desk, and I always thought her son was really cute). I thought she was joking, but that Saturday he called. I’ve joked since that I felt like I had to say yes because I was afraid she would fire me.

    We ended up going out on a date, and seriously at 17 I knew I was going to marry him. Looking back, it’s crazy that we were so young and that in love, but, hey, it’s what happened. We’ve been together for 10 years, are two kids in, and I have been pleasantly surprised that marriage gets even better and better as time goes on.

    1. Ama*

      Heh, that reminds me that my cousin actually married her boss’s son (she moved on from that job not long after they became serious, but well before the wedding). They only met because he happened to be home visiting when the boss threw a staff holiday party at her house. The boss’s other son told a very cute story about it at their wedding during his toast — apparently his brother came up to him very excited and said he’d just talked to the most beautiful girl in the world. When asked what she said, he replied “she asked me where to put her coat.”

      They have two lovely daughters and we’re all delighted that he’s a part of our family.

  118. JTF*

    I do have a disaster, as an employer, not the employee:

    We had a manager who was apparently unhappily married get involved in a phone and email affair with one of our clients. They were writing pornographic stories back and forth and talking dirty on the phone. In an open floor plan cubicle department, so his younger, female staff could hear everything. One of them was checking his email for an attachment and accidentally opened one of the pornographic stories, it was DIRTY.
    They even met up at an industry conference that took place during a hurricane in Florida. When I tried to talk Joe out of attending, he got very angry and insisted that he had to go. I soon found out why – they met up down there, and boom I was now paying for a hotel room for the consummation of their affair.
    We began missing deadlines and working til midnight – when I investigated why, his staff finally came clean. They liked him and didn’t want to get him in trouble, but enough was enough.
    I went into his (company-owned) email account and discovered the correspondence, called him in to my office, told him it needed to stop immediately or he was going to lose his job on the grounds that he was creating a hostile work environment for his staff. I had the woman’s name wrong, apparently, because when we returned to the office they began emailing each other (on his now monitored work email account) about how funny that was and what a BI*** I was. The owner of the company suspended him pending further investigation, then terminated him. He begged for his job, and consequently his wife’s job – she did part time freelance work for us, but outside the office so she had no interaction with the rest of the staff.
    He tried to justify the entire thing by saying that he no longer had a marriage, they were more like roommates, but could not understand that it wasn’t the affair but the toxic environment he’d created for everyone around him. He kind of muttered to himself that I’d tried to warn him but he didn’t listen. The whole thing was horrible, and I still see “the other woman” around industry events and it’s extremely uncomfortable because while they weren’t successful in wrecking his actual family, (I believe they’re still married and she’s none the wiser) they wrecked his work family.

  119. Tuckerman*

    I was a supervisor at a large call center. One of the employees found me on Facebook, and wrote me a message asking me out. I wrote back, said I was flattered, but that I didn’t date people at work.
    The very next day, I kid you not, he was assigned to my team. So I had to go over and introduce myself as his new supervisor. A little awkward, but he had a good sense of humor.

    1. Anon for this*

      Oh, this reminds me of a story! I worked at a call center for a little while and people were nice, but I didn’t stay in touch with most of them. A few months later, I attended a well-known adult film festival and ended up winning a very much not-work-appropriate prize that was given to me in front of the crowd at the theater. The next day I got a flirty message from my former team lead from the call center, who had been in the crowd and had seen me collect my prize.

  120. Very much anon for this*

    Yup, I got one. My husband, two young children, and I had just relocated across the world. Wakeen (sorry, I have no imagination) hired me for my first job in the new country, then changed jobs and brought me in for the second. Our marriage was in its beyond awful stage at that time, my then-husband said he no longer loved me and was only sticking around for the kids. Between what was frankly emotional abuse and a horribly bad connection with the husband, and chasing after two little kids all day, and adjusting to life in a new country on top of it, my brain was not all there. This is the only way I can explain why Wakeen and I started to essentially date each other. He was married as well and had one child. First he offered to be a special friend (?) and to take me out once a week after work to “show me America”, okay that sounded like fun. He’d take me to shopping malls and fast-food places. Then he said that in America, it is custom for the friends to hug and kiss on the lips when they meet, and if I don’t do that “everyone will know you’re a foreigner”. Then he wanted to hold hands a lot on our outings. Little by little, one day, we looked like we were full-blown dating. I drew the line at sex and Wakeen apparently needed it real bad, because he soon started dating Julie, another one of his direct reports. Also married with kids. But he and I were still friends, so he’d take me to lunch and tell me all about his dates with Julie the night before, complete with the sounds and the O faces, while I was trying to keep my lunch down. Then I got tired of the drama and changed jobs. One day Wakeen calls me at home and is crying, literally sobbing, into the phone. Come to find out, Julie had asked him to come to lunch and told him that their affair could no longer continue, because she’d gotten together with another guy in the office, George, this one married with five kids… and she could not continue with Wakeen, because that would be cheating on George. Mind you, everyone in this story was still married at the time. Wakeen would call me every night for a week and cry into the phone and I would console him and help him get through his sorta-breakup.

    Before Wakeen and Julie got together, I made one attempt to leave my husband, seeing as our marriage was pure hell at that time. He asked to stay for the kids and I let him. But what really drove my decision was Wakeen. He was very happy to hear about me and Husband splitting up, and launched into a whole description of how he’d