I’m My Boyfriend’s Supervisor At Work—This Is How We Handle It

Like a lot of couples, my boyfriend and I met through work. But while I’m not technically his boss—as in, I don’t have the power to fire him— I am in charge of a team of people that includes him. Being my boyfriend’s work supervisor certainly comes with a lot of challenges on a day-to-day basis, but I think I’ve finally figured out how to deal with it all.

  1. I work hard and do the best job I can. I didn’t plan on having a workplace romance, much less have it turn into a full-fledged relationship—but hey, there are a lot of things in my life that I didn’t plan on. Having a relationship with one of my staff members is definitely easier when I’m respected by my superiors and others, and this is only possible if I’m doing the best possible work that I can.
  2. I make professionalism a top priority. We’ve all seen couples at work that are way too into the PDA. But while their ignorance of workplace appropriateness causes them to lose respect, I use what I’ve learned from watching them to my advantage. It’s not like my boyfriend and I never hug or kiss in the workplace, but we never do so in front of coworkers. I also don’t go around advertising my relationship, instead letting newer employees find out about it after they’ve been around a little longer.
  3. I keep my work self and my personal self separate. You know how people often say that they keep their work lives and personal lives separate from each other? Well, I’m actually a different person while at work in many ways. In my personal life, I’m far more laid-back, whereas at work I prefer to get straight to business and stay on task. As a supervisor, I like to focus on people’s skills and work ethic more so than I do their personal hobbies and preferences. This allows me to not play favorites and give my boyfriend any unfair advantages. After all, I’ve always hated nepotism.
  4. I’m not afraid to tell him when he’s messing up. My boyfriend actually does happen to be one of my best staff members, but that doesn’t mean he’s perfect. Just like everyone else on my team, he sometimes needs direction and constructive criticism. I don’t hold back on this just because of our relationship. Yeah, I admit that sometimes I worry about being too harsh because I love him and all, but again, I don’t want to play favorites.
  5. We don’t go home until a problem is solved. Just as I don’t always agree with everything that my superiors do, my boyfriend doesn’t always agree with my actions and vice versa. But since we’re in a relationship, we tend to be more open with each other about any issues than other employees are. This occasionally results in some arguments, but we always make sure to solve the problem and talk it out before we head home for the day. Sometimes this means having to stay later than normal, but we both feel it’s important to both our work and romantic relationship.
  6. We don’t argue in front of other peopleWhenever we have a disagreement about something, we step away to a more private area to hash it out. Just like PDA, I think it’s important to not get too comfortable with these things in front of our coworkers.
  7. I maintain friendships with the people I work with. Yeah, I’m in charge of people, but I’m a person too. Besides, the more I can relate to other coworkers, the more they can relate to my desire to keep both my relationship and my job. I’m friendly with all kinds of people at work and I socialize with a lot of them outside of it. Just like with my boyfriend, professionalism rules at work while everything beyond that is way more relaxed.
  8. I actively work on not caring what other people think. When it comes to people on my level or higher, the snide comments jokes are all too frequent. Still, I realize now that most of them are actually just hypocrites or lonely themselves. After all, a lot of my coworkers have either gone through numerous work relationships or haven’t had so much as a date in years. Instead of reacting, I just let their comments bounce off. Avoiding gossip in general also helps.
  9. We do plenty of other things together besides work. My boyfriend and I may have met in the workplace, but it isn’t our work that defines us. We go out and do things all the time both with friends and without, and of course we also spend plenty of time hanging out at home. Like all people, we do sometimes talk about work when we’re not at the office, but we’re dating because we have so much more in common than just that.
  10. My boyfriend and I have our eyes set on the future. We’ve talked about what we want in the future and where we see ourselves. Needless to say, we both know that I won’t always be his supervisor. Even so, right now we’re both fine with the way things are. It’s challenging, but it’s not going to make or break us.
Brianna Gunter is an NYC-born Jersey girl now living in the Rocky Mountains. A graduate of The College of New Jersey's journalism program, her work has appeared in a multitude of publications both online and in print. When not writing about life as a millennial, she can be found hiking, hunting for pizza or making new dog friends.