Office affairs on the rise during the holidays

Mixing business with pleasure rises along with liquor consumption and holiday festivities....

Mixing business with pleasure rises along with liquor consumption and holiday festivities. (Fotolia.com)

Joanne Richard, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:35 PM ET

’Tis the season to be jolly… or, for some, get their jollies. Office affairs are brewing, especially during the holiday party season. Mixing business with pleasure rises along with liquor consumption and holiday festivities.

“People are more in touch with the emptiness during the holiday and are looking to fill it,” says New York couples therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil.

But it’s the office party that often ignites the spark, taking workplace flirtations to the point of no return.

“The office holiday party can be a virtual mating season for people on the prowl for forbidden fruit, or for spouses whose marriages are in a slump,” says relationship expert Debra Macleod.

Face it, sexual tension percolates during the sobriety of the work week.

“Add booze, free food, skimpy clothing, flirting, glittery eye shadow and loosened neckties, and you have a recipe for sex-you-will-regret!” says Macleod, of marriagesos.com.

Noel Biderman agrees. “The combination of the relaxed party atmosphere, alcohol and sense of freedom to let your hair down, mixed with pent-up sexual tensions, makes it a recipe for disaster.”

Biderman, founder of Ashleymadison.com, an online website for married people looking for something extra, says that members he surveyed who had an office affair, first encountered their “first encounter” at an office holiday party – 72.2% of women compared to 59.8% of men.

Biderman says office affairs are their biggest competitor, even more than other dating sites or Facebook.

Meanwhile, according to sociology professor and relationship expert , Dr.Pepper Schwartz, any idea that needs office punch for it to surface is a bad one. “You don’t want to do anything inebriated with co-workers or a boss. Things don’t get forgotten or forgiven just because you were drunk.”

The hangover will last long after Christmas, including potentially costing you your job or a promotion, says Schwartz., of drpepperschwartz.com.

“People do get silent crushes on each other at the office and they really should stay hushed up!”

Many companies have anti-fraternization policies, which, combined with the nasty working environment that develops when affairs get messy, can hurt your career, says Macleod.

Besides ruining your career and making you the topic of toxic office gossip, you also run the risk of sexual harassment suits, whether legitimate, retributive or imagined, she adds.

Behave at the office party, advises Schwartz and Eaker Weil. Don’t drink.

Don’t go near someone you are attracted to. No flirting. Stick to talking to friends and colleagues. Leave early.


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