I dated my coworker. Then he broke up with me and became my boss.

 "I'm hoping we can put the past behind us and work together from here on without any problems," stated my ex-boyfriend Austin (not his real name) as he appeared in the doorway of my office. This encounter left me reeling, as it marked the first time we had spoken after I had given him the silent treatment for six months. Despite the shock, I knew the reason behind his sudden appearance.

Earlier that day, I had received a memo from the owner of the publishing company where both Austin and I worked. The memo announced Austin's promotion to the editor-in-chief of the magazine I proofread and wrote for. This effectively meant that my ex-boyfriend was now my boss.

Austin and I initially became friends a few months after I began working at the company. While we did not work together directly, we did interact occasionally. Our interactions made me feel at ease, and Austin exuded an air of warmth, intelligence, and non-judgment. Over time, our friendship turned into flirtation, and despite the unspoken workplace stigma against office romance, we eventually became a couple.

During our time together, the lines between our personal and professional lives often blurred. Although our company did not strictly prohibit intra-office dating, we kept our relationship discreet. However, after about a year of dating, we started experiencing strains in our relationship due to spending excessive time together, which eventually led to our breakup.

After the breakup, the atmosphere at work became strained as well, leaving me devastated and embarrassed. I resorted to avoiding Austin at all costs to minimize the pain I felt. This continued for about six months until the fateful moment when I learned of Austin's promotion.

In response to this turn of events, I declined Austin's proposal for collaboration but later realized I could not continue to work under his direct supervision. I subsequently requested to be reassigned to a different magazine within the company.

Upon reflection, I acknowledge that my conduct during the breakup was unprofessional and impulsive. With greater perspective, I now appreciate the complexity and potential consequences of workplace relationships. As such, I understand why organizations implement strict policies against office romances.

Recent studies have indicated that workplace romances are not uncommon, with a significant percentage of workers having been involved. However, the aftermath of such relationships can negatively impact careers and professional reputations. This realization has led me to navigate my career with greater caution and avoid engaging in workplace romances in the future.

Ultimately, the experience taught me valuable lessons about the challenges and risks of engaging in interoffice relationships. While it did not significantly hinder my professional progression, it did influence how others perceived me within the company. These insights have guided me in steering clear of similar situations and maintaining a more professional and focused approach to my career.  

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