The better work men do
is always done under stress
and at great personal cost

William Carlos Williams

January 23. Wednesday.

Probably the single biggest challenge to our relationship was the fact that we work together. I say was since I am pretty sure we have the issue well in hand by now. We both work in the same department in the same building and have offices about 50ft from each other. This is great most of the time, but has presented us with more than our fair share of difficulties with personality transformations. This, I have to admit, is mostly my doing since I am extremely sensitive about people seeing us together at the office while we are working. It’s not that I want to keep the whole thing secret, but rather that if people see Nicole by my office, the assumption is that neither of us are working and we are basically goofing off while at the office. I know this is true because I would think the same way, that people who are involved with each other will spend less time working and more time talking and sharing cutesy little giggles. The fact that I hold a position of significant responsibility adds to my paranoia and results in my reacting to Nicole in somewhat of an offhand way on occasion. We have talked about this more than once and it remains a bone of contention between us but I think we are at the point that we both know the way things need to be while at work and we accommodate it accordingly. However, there are still times when I am painfully aware of people around us and the image that we have to maintain while in the office.

Does this mean that I am not happy that we work in the same office? Not at all, in fact I think it is a blessing that we are so close to each other 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year with only a couple of hours a week apart for coaching and working out… really… I am…

Seriously though, there are certain types of people who can live that way and others for whom that kind of exposure to another person is the definition of hell itself. I am always suspicious of people who claim that they couldn’t be with their significant other for more than a few hours at a time. It seems to me that if you are unable to share your time and your space with someone then you are probably either hiding something or planning on doing something that you don’t want to be discovered. Either way, I believe it is a cop-out and a sure sign that a person is just not ready for anything more than a high school date.

I wonder how things would change if we didn’t work together… I wonder if we would allow our insecurities to run wild and imagine horrible things happening while the other person was at work. Funny, since we met here and started dating right away that my assumption would not lead me to believe that the same thing would happen somewhere else. Even though that exact scenario is what ended a previous relationship that was well documented here online still my faith and belief in Nicole and the strength of our bond overrides any insecurity I may have. Let’s be honest though, it has to otherwise I would drive myself insane. I know that I probably come across as a very confident, self-assured and emotionally secure person, however I have an alarming capacity for imagination when it comes to romantic insecurity. The trick is just not to listen to myself and to place all my faith in the hands of my partner. That act however is what leads me to swift and violent emotional retribution against all who would betray that trust. The rules of engagement are really pretty simple at this level, I trust you, but if you betray that trust you are out. Period. That’s the way it works and I am happy to say that it has enabled me to enjoy the fullest spectrum of emotional reactions while maintaining a solid confidence that everything will work out the way it is supposed to. Just as an aside, does this mean that I don’t forgive and forget? Well, I do forgive, but I never forget. I am not a vengeful person for the most part, and my nature is such that people believe me to be kind and even somewhat of a pushover…

That, I can assure you, is a mistake. A mistake that many people have made right before they exit stage left.

Now as usual, I have strayed far from my original point, however I think my train of thought has explained a little of what a blessing it is to have Nicole so close, and yet also has solidified my belief that if there were to come a time when we went our separate ways in our careers that it would present an opportunity for a strengthening of our emotional bond rather than a chance for us to drift away.

The key, in a word, is focus. If you can focus on anything to the exclusion of everything else then you can easily have a working relationship. However, if you are unable to separate the person you are and the person your partner is at the office from the person they are at home then you are going to have a problem. You live by your own set of rules at home, but at the office are bound by the decorum of the organization and must understand that it will dictate your behaviour and reactions far beyond what you think it might. Just make sure that you treat each other with respect and kindness and try your best to understand that work stress is like poison, if you allow it to infiltrate your relationship, it will slowly but surely kill whatever you have built. Take your partner with a grain of salt at the office and you can guarantee that your two worlds will never take opposition against one another.