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relationships

People in Love Talk About How They Deal with Working Together

"When we first started dating, she was a huge distraction. I think we were pretty distracted by each other."

by Sophie Gray
Aug 15 2017, 7:13pm

This article originally appeared on VICE New Zealand.

In an age where career ambitions make dating an afterthought, workplace romances are the ultimate convenience. You can flirt over the water cooler, complain about your boss, and call it a coffee date, and if you make it past the first few dates, you can even save money by sharing an Uber to work.

But dating a co-worker may not always be that easy. Spending every moment together—conscious and unconscious—can take its toll on a relationship. Separating work from home becomes near impossible, and resentment over workplace squabbles can make their way into the bedroom. But despite this potential minefield, workplaces remain one of the most common places for couples to meet.

VICELAND's new show BOBBY AND HARRIET GET MARRIED looks at exactly this as it follows the two comedians while they plan their wedding. Ahead of tonight's episode, we talked to other couples about what it's really like to share careers.

Carl, 28, and Chrissy, 24
Dancers


Carl: For some reason, when we first started dating, everything became more about Chrissy than work. She was a huge distraction to me, and I think we were pretty distracted by each other. But we were still able to work together, and I think that's why we were attracted to each other because we work together so well. We're able to work and dance and collaborate pretty easily. We've worked together for so long now that it's just normalized.

In the dance world, you compete for roles, so because Chrissy's a woman and I'm a man, we've never had to fight for the same role. Space is a huge thing. There's space and time that we've just created. We have to be in each other's faces all the time. We somehow, unspeaking, just accommodated that.

Chrissy: It was exciting when we first started dating. I liked being able to come to work and see him every day. It's quite common in dance actually that people date each other, I think, just because it's such an intimate job. There was already a couple in our company, so our boss didn't care. We kind of started dating not long after we met each other, so it's the only way we know how to work.

We live together, so we work, live, and tour together. Last week, we were apart for four days, and we realized that was the longest we'd been apart in two years. Things do get intense sometimes, but we try to set up little rules. We tried to not talking about work at home for a while, but it just didn't really work because our jobs are so all-consuming.

Alistair, 31, and Liz, 30
Designers



Liz: Through my brother was friends with Al, we met through screen printing. I'd just finished my degree, and I'd been majoring in screen printing. My brother was like, "Oh, I've got this friend who owns a screen printing business, we should go hang out." So we went to the shop, hung out, and it went from there.

We have different strengths. Al's a craftsman, so he is quite pedantic about design, where I'm much more of an artist and all over the place. That tends to lend itself to him being more into doing stuff that requires a specialists control, where with me everything I do is floatier, so the types of jobs we would go for are not the same. I measure myself against Al and what some of his peers are doing. Sometimes I feel like I'm not good enough because we're so different, even though I'm doing creative things.

Alistair: We talk about work-related stuff on a daily basis but don't really work together all the time. I mean, whenever I do creative work for anyone, I always get Liz's opinion on it. Work doesn't put a strain on us or our relationship. At the end of the day, working together or working alongside each other and then coming home and having to somehow be married, we don't really have to battle with that. It's more or less just being on different pages about different ideas in everyday conversation. Naturally, our conversations together will just go in the direction of talking about design. So, yeah, I suppose when we have different ideas on what we think about work we can butt heads, but it's never a strain.

Benn (DJ Chiccoreli) and Tali (MC Tali)
Musicians



Benn: It's so amazing that we get to work in an industry we both love. The opportunities we have to travel both New Zealand and the world, and experience that together is super special. Before I was a touring DJ, Tali would go off to different places and get to do amazing things, so to now share those experiences together is something else.

The only issue we have is that as we are completely honest with each other. Sometimes we come off stage and say things like: "I didn't like that mix you did in the middle of the set" or "you didn't seem yourself and didn't perform to your best," which on one hand is great, but it can also feel hurtful when you've just come off from the set and your buzzing from the performance. We try to be a bit more tactful now with giving feedback and figuring out the appropriate time to do it.

Tali: I am a real wanderlust kid; I am always looking for the next moment I can go and travel and play somewhere and be around different people. It makes me feel alive and fulfilled. Benn is more of a homebody, so it can create a bit of tension when I'm wanting to go away for long periods of time and Benn doesn't come. We try to balance this by taking time in our relationship to go places together, and enjoy things we both love other than music. I feel very fortunate that I am with someone who understands my work load and my crazy hours.

One of our steadfast rules as a couple is to always have each other's back—this is extremely important to me. Therefore, we will talk about our work and the industry we work in at home, so we know what's going on and how to be as supportive as possible to one another when we go out into our scene. Also, because we perform together, it's important that I have some grasp on the kind of set Benn is going to play—so he will often go through his set with me, and I'll be listening from the other room sorting out my wardrobe or something, shouting out when I'm loving a mix, or not feeling a tune.

Watch BOBBY AND HARRIET GET MARRIED on VICELAND SKY Channel 13, Tuesdays at 8:30 PM. Check out the first episode here.

Follow Sophie Gray on Twitter.