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Should You Mix Business with Pleasure?

pexels-photo-336372Back in college, I fell in love with my History professor. A couple years after I had him for a teacher, I had him for a lover. He was ten years my senior.

Nothing became of it. He was a confirmed bachelor, and I was a young woman who’d go on to have other relationships. I married at 34. 

Many years later, I was in Macy’s, buying socks. My ex-lover was also there, buying a tie.

I saw Martie and said hello. I had heard that at 49, he’d finally married — an Australian woman who had a 10-year-old daughter.

We talked about what we’d been publishing, and out of the blue, he suggested that we work on a book together.

This idea intrigued me. It sounded excellent, actually. I went home, and told my husband who promptly discouraged me from working on anything with him. My husband didn’t trust this guy.

I emailed Martie and told him that I couldn’t collaborate with him. And that was the end of it.

I had someone to put the brakes on the collaboration for me. But you might not have such a force in your life. 

Can and should you work together professionally with your ex-lover ?

To answer this, you have to ask yourself if any of the following feelings still linger:


When I was young, I fell madly in love with the man in question — heightened, romantic love. I saw him as the smartest person I’d ever met, and this turned me on. 

I would always love this man. Of course, there was lingering love.


Yes, I did have a bit of anger for Martie. He never took me seriously, due to my age, I think. He was a grown man, and I was just a girl.


Affirmative, I had been hurt, but I’d gotten over it. I was aware that he could hurt me again. This was, perhaps, more important.

Sexual Desire

Yes, this was there, too.

Desire for Revenge

No, I didn’t want to hurt him.


I think I trusted him more now, than I did then. I knew how he operated.


No hate.


There was a bit of sadness. We would have made a great couple.

In summary, I still felt love, anger, hurt, sexual desire, mistrust, and sadness.

Did I want to jump into a work relationship with these emotions brewing? 

If any of these emotions still exist for you, you might think twice before committing yourself to a working relationship. Strong emotion, either positive or negative, could sabotage the work situation.

At this point, it’s time to look at the pros and cons of a working relationship.

The benefits of working with an ex-lover

  • You already know each other well.  You can jump right into work.
  • You can delegate the work based on your mutual strengths and weaknesses, which you also know.
  • You have some level of trust in the person.
  • You always have old times to talk about on your coffee breaks.
  • Your lovemaking aligned you both on the same wavelength.
  • You feed off of each other intellectually.

The Drawbacks

  • You may not get much work done due to all the reminiscing (and kissing?).
  • Again, you may fall back in love.

Why go backwards?

Here’s the bottom line. You may rely too heavily on your ex to make a business venture happen. Wouldn’t it be nice to do the project yourself? Who needs him?

In conclusion, there are several things to consider when thinking about joining forces with an ex for a business venture. It gets even more complicated if you’re married or currently involved with someone else.

In my case, my husband was right to discourage our plans to write a book together. I think he knew me, and he knew Martie, and he saw DANGER. In this case, for the sake of our marriage, I just couldn’t get involved with my old professor for any reason.

Just remember, if you decide to work with an ex, you may get more than you bargained for.

You know just where their back itches.

Should You Mix Business with Pleasure?

Laura Yeager

Laura Yeager has been writing for over 35 years. Some of her favorite topics include mental health, writing, religion, parenthood, dogs, and her day-to-day life. She is a mental health writer for Her articles about writing have appeared in The Writer Magazine, The Toastmaster Magazine, and Her spiritual writing has been featured in several venues including Aleteia USA, Busted Halo, The Liguorian Magazine, Canticle Magazine and Guideposts Magazine. A graduate of The Writers' Workshop at The University of Iowa, Laura teaches writing at Kent State University and online Creative Writing at Gotham Writers' Workshop in New York.

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APA Reference
Yeager, L. (2018). Should You Mix Business with Pleasure?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 24 Mar 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.