THE workplace is notorious for affairs, and has even gained quite the reputation as a breeding ground for happy, healthy relationships. Some people have found their soulmates there, others, even though they knew that sleeping with a co-worker can be tricky business, dived headfirst in, and bore much trauma. All Woman asked some readers who have taken the plunge and they share their experiences.
Keisha, 34, accountant:
I don't know if it was actually dating; it was more like an affair, really. It was about nine months into my employment and a new manager had come in. I was engaged for about three months at the time. But as women, we know that not even marriage can stop us from drooling. This gorgeous man and I locked eyes from the first day, and soon after we started texting, staying back at the office late, drinking and hanging out, and one thing led to another. We made out a few times until it got to the big moment right there in the office. We started dating right before I spilled the beans to my fiancé. He felt betrayed and I understood. I do regret hurting him but my office bae and I are doing well. Honestly, he awoke a part of me I didn't know existed and I feel alive now.
Shaneika, 25, marketer:
Take my advice: work should be what it is, an environment where you can focus on what you get paid for. I had this rule, never date anyone at work, until my co-worker. We sat across from each other and he convinced me otherwise. At first he was a darling and he was doing all the things that I wanted a man to do for me. Coincidentally, he also matched the physical profile of my ideal man. Months into the relationship things changed. He was abusive, I could barely talk to people at work, and he was always in my face. Everything at work felt wrong and I started dropping the ball. My boss became concerned and he made me take vacation time off. One day while home my guy left his email open on my home computer, and I found that he had all my personal information from my journal which he had emailed it to himself and was playing with my head by pretending to be 'my dream man' as described in my journal. When I discovered this and confronted him he became abusive. I left him and reported him when I got to work. He kept harassing me, stalking me, sending gifts and threats, until they sacked him. All I know is I don't care if it's Idris Elba, once he is working in the same place I am willing to pass, as painful as it would be.
Kenton, 38, truck driver:
Before I started driving trucks, I worked in a construction company and my boss was a woman. She always complimented me about my body structure and told me that she admired that I would always be neat. She said she loved even the sweat on me. One day it was raining but I still went to work. Not many men were on site, and my immediate boss sent me for things in the storeroom. My female boss backed me up in there and I gave in to her demand to feel my manhood. I gave her every inch of what she asked for and what we were doing turned formal when she asked me out. We did it for a while and it was fun while it lasted but the thing I didn't like was that she thought that she could control me with her money. I left the work when I got a truck and just slowly eased her off. She will be a good woman to a man who likes being controlled.
Merlene, 41, software engineer:
I made the horrid mistake of dating my boss some years ago. I was a new student to IT, he was a guru, and I fell in love with his mind and his passion. I know of his many degrees but didn't know of his PhD in “stalkerology”. In short, after about two years of being together and of being treated like property, I thought that since we could no longer agree on anything it would be easy to move on. Oh boy was I was dead wrong! He made my life hell, for one he uploaded to the software on my home family system nude pictures of me. My entire family had access. He would turn up places I was, and I later found out he had a tracker installed in my phone. I felt like I was living in a Lifetime movie. I had to take out a restraining order, change my job and relocate. It took five years to completely get rid of him.
Nadine, 31, hairstylist:
I was married briefly. It ended because I found out that my husband, who often called to say meeting this and that, was just hooking up with the girl who was his secretary. I agree it was a start-up and he had to work late, but something just didn't smell right about them. My FBI girlfriends and I got into his phone and e-mail and other things and we found everything — they were in the car, on his office desk, in her settee — I didn't need to see anything else. I was not going to let him lower me anymore. I didn't go to university but it does not make me less than any other woman. I can do bad all by myself.