November 5, 2010

Dating in the Same Industry: is it a Relationship Dealbreaker?

Though it sounds similar, dating someone at your work (as discussed on True Love Direct) can be very different from dating someone who works in the same industry. For example, politicians Bill and Hilary Clinton, writers Stephen and Tabitha King, artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, or actors Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner may have never worked in the same office, co-wrote a book, shared a canvas, or acted in the same movie (respectively). However, they have traveled in the same circles, experienced the similar troubles, and strived to accomplish somewhat identical goals as the other.

Finding love within your field of work is very common since you are more likely to bump into one another and because you have built-in shared interests (not only the career itself, but the traits that go along with it, like creativity, debate, expression, etc.). Also, knowing the complications and processes which accompany a particular position, that person is bound to be more sympathetic and able to better understand your project or plight.

However, there are downsides to dating a fellow writer, lawyer, actor, or anyone else who shares your title. To start, could there be a conflict of interest? If you find yourselves representing opposing clients or contesting for the same project, that competition can extend to your personal relationship. You may even be tempted use your intimate knowledge or position as a way to sabotage their chances from within (such as casually extracting private details about the project and, in turn, sharing them with your boss).

Another downside is that you are bound to know the same people, maybe even share the same friends. “Wait, this doesn’t sound like a bad thing,” you may be saying. Let me tell you, though, when it turns out your coworker is actually your boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend or your best guy-friend was once punched by him in a drunken brawl, well, you can see where interacting with the same people can be a bad thing. Industry gossip can fly faster than a Boeing, and you may find yourselves caught up in it. Yet even if there were never any drama between the various parties, it can still be frustrating to “share” friends.

Finally, how would your relationship endure the success of one or the failure of another partner? One person is bound to earn more, gain more recognition, or achieve a higher position than the other. Would you be able to set aside your own feelings of hurt or rejection in order to praise your partner for his good work? Moreover, would you be willing to take a professional hit, if it meant that your partner would come out on top? Unfortunately, this kind of decision does occasionally surface and, when it does, it will be up to you to decide how your relationship will fare.

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