At some point in everyone's life, they come to a dating crossroad, when they are romantically interested in someone that is off-limits. What are the rules regarding dating partner prohibition? Who is off-limits? Is there a statute of limitations on when you can try to smash your homie's old girl?
Let's take a moment to clear this up so you don't set yourself up to be fired, beat up, or just generally ostracized from society.
I'm sorry to have to address this, but people, it doesn't matter; first cousins, second cousins, step siblings, they're all off-limits. Concerns about disfigured kin aside, blood relatives or through marriage, it's never OK in society's eyes. Quite honestly, there are 6 billion people in the world, and you're one soulmate is in the family? Not buying it. Don't be a lazy ass, keep looking.
(Note: Assuming that this section is speaking to adults at least at the age of consent, we're talking about college professors for the teacher portion of this category.)
Most colleges have a rule prohibiting intimate student-teacher relationships. Locally, the University of Northern Colorado's policy regarding 'amorous relationships' reads as follows:
Because these relationships may give rise to the perception on the part of others that there is favoritism or bias in academic or employment decisions, the university discourages such relationships ... "All members of the University Community are expected to be aware of their professional responsibilities and avoid apparent or actual conflict of interest, favoritism, or bias. When an amorous romantic/sexual relationship exists, effective steps should be taken to ensure unbiased evaluation or supervision of the student or employee. Failure to take such steps shall constitute a violation of BOT Policy 1-1-502, Conflict of Interest."
In the workplace, co-worker co-mingling is common, and understandable to an extent. The boss, however, is another story. Persons in a position of power shouldn't date their subordinates (the same goes for teachers and students). This is because there is no easy way for them to check emotions and bias at the door. You may be good at keeping it secret, but eventually you will start getting sloppy and people will notice. Your best bet, if you think a relationships is forming, is to switch classes or work teams at the onset of your amorous relationship.
Your friend's ex (or your ex's friend)
There are a few exceptions to this rule. First, how long ago did they break up? One year minimum grace period is the unspoken rule, although others would argue it depends on how long they were together. Secondly, what is their relationship status now? Do they get along like Bruce Willis and Demi Moore or are they uncivil like Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards? Has your friend fully moved on and gotten over the ex?
If both parties are cordial and have, without a doubt, moved on, you've got the green light to ask your friend's permission to proceed with the relationship. It's a courtesy people, come on!
Be sure there's potential with this person before asking. The path of least resistance would be to find someone else so you can avoid the drama and disturbing thoughts of your friend having sex with your new flame ... how weird would it be if she accidentally called out his name one night instead of yours?
Your friend's relative (or your relative's friend)
This mostly applies to siblings and parents being off-limits. The parent as a partner is just plain creepy and you'll VERY likely lose the friend over it. A sibling is less creepy, but will still take a while for the friend to get over.
It's easy to see how this situation could happen, especially if you've been close with the family for a long time. After all, you learn a lot about a person, become very comfortable with them, and have many good memories together.
If you broach this subject carefully and present a good case, you may be surprised to get the friend's blessing. After all, they know you both well enough to know if the relationship's got a chance. Again, be sure you're confident in the relationship so as to not make undue stress for yourself.
This goes without saying, but as soon as you find out your partner's married, or you have strong suspicions they are, get out. Don't be a homewrecker (and a fool, I might add). There are plenty of singles in Denver or else we wouldn't continue to be rated one of the top cities for singles.
This dating dilemma isn't as easy as, "When in doubt, don't go out," but do give extreme consideration to the possible consequences and whether they outweigh the possible rewards. Do not look through rose-colored glasses but instead use your rational thinking to come to a decision. Asking outsiders for an opinion is always an option, but be warned, some people will react dramatically as these dating partners can be controversial in their eyes.
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