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Question from Juliet

Dear Lindsey,
I've been at my job for about 5 years now.  My friend, "Romeo", started working in my department about a year and a half ago.  Instantly we became great friends and shortly after that I realized I had more than friendly feelings for him.  I could tell that he felt the same about me, but since our employer has a strict no inter-office dating policy neither of us have acted on our feelings.  Romeo and I hang out with other friends and co-workers just so we can spend time together without being labeled as "dating".  We make jokes in passing about how we're perfect for each other and even jokingly call each other husband and wife.  Everyone in the office also jokes along with us and agrees that we treat each other like we're married. 
Here's where it becomes complicated.  Just this past week, Romeo told me he thinks he's in love with me and would like to take our relationship to the next level.  I am absolutely elated and feel the same way, but am worried that we will put our jobs at risk if we pursue a romantic relationship.  Our co-workers can be very nosy and gossipy, so we can almost guarantee that management will found out if our relationship becomes more than just friends.  Both of us love our jobs and really can't afford to lose them.  I don't want to miss out on what potentially could be the love of my life, but I also can't risk being laid off.  Any advice you can give me would be great.

Dear Juliet,
It kind of sounds like you've been covertly dating for the last year by hanging out with each other in a group setting.  Way to go 007, but I don't think you're fooling anyone, especially your co-workers.  I'm sure they realize you two are totally into each other, but you're just trying to avoid a company scandal and being fired. 
Since you already know you have a solid, loving relationship, it's kind of stupid to walk away from each other just because you may lose your jobs.  Love doesn't come around all that often and when you find it you need to hold on to it.   Cheesy sounding, I know, but it's the truth.  Think of how many people out there pay for dating services and websites just to find "the one", and you found yours for free!!  Good job!
Many employers have a no dating policy because they are worried that the relationship will sour and then there will be hostile relations in the work place.  Sometimes exes working together can even lead to sexual harassment lawsuits.  They put these policies in place to try to avoid all of the petty crap that comes with break ups and to cover their own butts.  What you could try to do is go right to human resources and explain your situation.  If you're really worried they may take action against you, tell them you're coming to them on behalf of a co-worker of which you can not name.  Tell the HR rep that you (or your "friend") have been socializing with a co-worker in a group setting and you both have developed feelings for each other and would like to pursue the relationship.  Let the rep know you understand they have a no-dating policy, and you are willing to sign any needed documents that state you won't behave inappropriately or sue anyone if the relationship goes south.  Plead your case in a professional manner and let them know you are willing to do whatever is necessary to be able to date your co-worker and hopefully they'll take the bait.
If for some reason they still deny your relationship, it's just because the HR rep is cold and heartless and probably never has had a date in his/her life.  Just smile and pretend like you're fine with the decision, then set up a secret date for Saturday night with your man.  The rule for secret keeping is, if you don't want anyone to find out about something, don't tell anyone!!!  Not even your mom or your best friend.  Try to have dates at home to avoid anyone seeing you out together.  When you'd like to go out, make sure it's in a group like you're doing now or at a hole in the wall place you know you won't run into anyone.  Many companies monitor email, so if you have inter-office email or company cell phones, don't send each other love notes via company property.  Hopefully you can keep this up without getting fired.  The best part is if you keep your relationship secret long enough to make it to a marriage, you won't have to invite your co-workers because they won't even know about it.
Both of you need to keep a copy of your resume updated and on hand in case you need to start looking for a new job.  In fact, it may be easier for one of you to browse the classifieds or the web for a new job just in case.  Good luck and happy dating!
Lots of Love,

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