Office Romances ~ Now What Do We Do?

Last week, I shared some very basic advice surrounding the office romance and how to approach the first level of personal intimacy. Now you find yourself at the threshold of taking that next step—what should you do now?

What advice do you have for couples whose relationship starts out at work?

Be sure you talk about the risks and downsides related to dating a co-worker BEFORE you decide to begin to date. BEFORE is the operative word. Decide and intend to date each other. Make the dating process as conscious as possible. Recognize that the majority of people we date are ultimately NOT a match for us, and that is a normal and expected part of the dating process. If dating couples can’t agree to date with this frame in mind, they should not date each other. They should not engage in fantasy thinking and should not focus on how attracted they are to each other. This is good advice for anyone dating, as a matter of fact, and especially critical when co-workers date.

What is the best way to foster a new relationship that begins at work?

The same principles apply to all new dating relationships. Resist, with all your might, having l-o-n-g telephone conversations, sending incessant text messages or emails, and spending all your time together. This is a sure-fire way to kill a relationship before it even has a chance to grow and succeed. Relationships are living entities that grow between two people. Anything that grows into something strong and beautiful takes time. If either person is obsessive or demanding, seems needy or especially desirous of the other person’s time and attention, especially to the exclusion of others, end the whole dating process as quickly as possible. It can only get worse!

How can they keep it fresh and avoid the burnout that comes from seeing each other all the time under any circumstances?

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Office Romances ~ Is There a Future?

I’ve been asked about office romances—dating someone you work with. Here is my advice and some basic “do’s” and “don’ts.”

Unfortunately too many office romances end in disaster! The primary reason is that neither men or women are good at setting, maintaining and honoring boundaries; and messy entanglements result; especially if one of the people decides the other is not a good match and wants to, or tries to, end the dating relationship.

Understand, men and women are working with each other, and they are people that they respect, people that they have intellectual interests with, people that they share excitement over projects, frustration over deadlines, celebrate the wins, and commiserate over the challenges. So the relationship begins as a platonic friendship that is very deep and rich. What happens is that, over time, they begin to share more and more of their personal lives together, and then they mistakenly believe that they are having authentic emotional feelings and attachments to each other. This type of intimate sharing of personal thoughts and feelings is unlike casual sexual encounters; these interactions create strong bonds between the people. Once this level of personal intimacy grows, the dreaded office romance is just on the horizon.

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Marriage is Like a Tabletop With Four Sturdy Legs

Coupleship is a way to perceive and structure a long-term, primary monogamous relationship.

Emotionally intelligent couples have certain things in common. They are committed to mutual and reciprocal respect, encouragement and affirmation; they can easily and elegantly offer and receive an apology; and they speak with each other in feeling vocabulary that keeps them open (undefended) and emotionally available to each other!

Think about Coupleship as a tabletop being supported by very sturdy legs. The sturdy legs are:

  1. Beliefs and Values of each partner
  2. Personal Style and Temperament that each partner brings in to the Coupleship
  3. Commitments each partner makes to the Coupleship and to his or her partner
  4. Agreements each partner makes to the Coupleship and to his or her partner

Let’s explore Personal Beliefs, Values, Style and Temperament.

Concept #1: How well do you know your Self?

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The Road to Successful Love is Called INTER-Dependence

Coupleship is a way to perceive and structure a long-term, primary monogamous relationship.

Here are several essential concepts to understand and embrace:

Concept #1:

The basic attitudes of Coupleship are:

  • Mutual and Reciprocal Respect
  • Mutual and Reciprocal Encouragement
  • Mutual and Reciprocal Affirmation
  • Ability to Offer an Apology
  • Ability to Receive an Apology
  • Learn and Practice Feeling Vocabulary

Concept #2:

Your relationship is based on your good will and good intentions.

In a healthy Coupleship, your fundamental beliefs about yourself and your partner are:

  • I am involved and invested in your present and your future.
  • I value and respect you.
  • I honor and support your feelings as if they were my own!

Concept #3:

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Simple Romance Rituals to Keep the Divorce Gremlin Away

…the final in a series of Gardening Tips for Couples

“Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.” —Margaret Young

We live in a contemporary society that values high-tech, the faster the better, and product stream; how fast can I make my widget? How many can I sell? How much can I sell them for?

It’s time to stop, look and listen:

  • Stop doing and start being
  • Look inside instead of outside of yourself
  • Listen to your inner voices in addition to your “head”

Common Rituals and Celebrations

Rituals and celebrations are one way to intentionally create meaningful connections with special and important events and people. Many people already celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.

Here are some common rituals and celebrations you might not recognize as such:

  • Graduations
  • Bachelor / Bachelorette Parties
  • Bon Voyage Parties
  • Promotion / Retirement
  • Bridal and Baby Showers
  • Wrap Parties in the Entertainment Industry
  • Funerals, Memorials, Celebrations of Life
  • Throwing coins in a fountain
  • Placing an extra candle on a birthday cake
  • Bride and Groom feeding each other cake
  • Sending cards to remember special occasions

You Can Create Easy Couple Romance Rituals

Celebrations and rituals do not have to be involved, complicated or expensive. It is the simple act of honoring your love and the caring you feel for your partner with your intention and attention.

Your Romance Ritual is something you decide on together; some specific behavior–something that you do with or say to the other, intentionally; and make an important part of your established routine. If you take the time and the effort to create your Romance Ritual and include it in your routines with each other, you will notice a marked increase in good will, less conflict and hurt feelings, and much more intimacy!

If this is something you’d like to try, finding your perfect Romance Ritual should be easy.

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Dr Jackie Black Newsletter




Hello. I am Dr. Jackie Black. Since 1999, I have served high-profile and high net-worth Dual Career Couples, High Performance Couples, and Career Transition Couples who are in trouble. What I know to be true is this: Just because there are competing priorities and tremendous external pressure on your marriage doesn’t mean your marriage has to feel the impact. It means it’s time to find new answers and acquire new skills to get your marriage back to being loving and strong.

Learn more at DrJackieBlack.com