You’d think most people would have fond memories of the circumstances in which they met their partners. Not so, it seems, if that meeting took place at the workplace! Office lovebirds, read on…

A recent survey conducted by Rakuten Wedding of 500 Japan-residents aged 20-49 – all of whom met their spouses at their place of work – suggests memories that are perhaps tinged with regret: A majority reported they’d recommend against office romances.

Let’s just get this straight: These are people who not only met their girlfriend/boyfriend at their office, but went on to marry them. And their advice is still something like “Don’t do what I did!” So many questions spring to mind: Like, if it worked for you, why not recommend it? And, if it didn’t work… well, you did marry him/her, right? Right?

First, a slight clarification. While the majority was definitely against office romances, there was a discrepancy between gender. 54% of men and 48% of women recommended against workplace relationships. (Just 18% of men and 23% of women recommended them – the rest had no opinion.)

As for why, the answers were fairly straightforward, ranging from needing to maintain boundaries between home and work to trouble associated with colleagues finding out and dealing with awkwardness and discomfort at the office in the event of a breakup.

Still, for those workplace romantics planning on disregarding these warnings, Rakuten Wedding’s respondents had some advice: Approximately two thirds of respondents said that if you are thinking of dating someone at work, you should be open about it with your other colleagues, with 66% of women and 67% of men recommending you tell everyone or at least the people you can trust.

The survey also revealed how secret office relationships ended up becoming common knowledge. 54% of male and 58% of female respondents whose relationships had been discovered said that the discovery occurred when a colleague spotted them out on a date. The second biggest cause of a romance becoming known (28% men/27% women) was being spotted commuting to the office together.

Rakuten Wedding’s study went into more depth on a variety of topics, but the above discussion of “discovery” revealed an additional insight on trust. The third biggest contributor to the office finding out about a romance was information slipping out from a trusted confidant. Interestingly, this was the case for only 23% of women, but for men it was the second biggest factor, at 33%.

That suggests a perhaps unexpected finding from the survey: Perhaps women are better judges of character than men – at least when it comes to choosing someone to share secrets with?

Survey methodology:
– Medium: Internet-based polling
– Period: March 25-27, 2016
– Demographics: 20-49 years old; male & female; Japan-wide; people who married someone they “met at work”
– Sample group: Rakuten Research monitors
– Sample size: 500