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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: We could learn a thing or two about love from “The X-Files”

It’s not uncommon for a romance to blossom in a classroom or workplace. These relationships, however, can often end in a mess of unprofessionalism. Either homework doesn’t get done and attendance starts dropping, or the stress of maintaining a romantic-professional relationship leads to a breakdown. 

There are exceptions to this rule though, and no couple in popular entertainment illustrates that more effectively than Fox Mulder and Dana Scully of “The X-Files.”

“The X-Files” is a 10-season and two-motion-picture-long investigative science fiction series that follows the lives of two workaholic FBI agents as they meet monsters, chase aliens and have a baby. The show is laden with slapstick humor, conspiracy theories, bad monster outfits and, oddly enough, demonstrations of how a near-ideal workplace romance might function.

Upon first meeting in 1993, Mulder was skeptical of Scully, a slim, big-eyed redhead who wouldn’t leave the house before applying a thick layer of red lipstick. Mulder, with his child-like imagination, thought that Scully was a spy sent to disrupt his process. She actually was. Yet that wasn’t enough to dissuade a romance from sprouting. Mulder was wise enough to look past Scully’s professional stigmas and appreciate her best qualities.

As their relationship progressed, they both became aware of the fact that their careers could potentially be jeopardized if they became too emotionally invested in one another. They remained affectionate while allowing each other the independence necessary for achieving professional success.

Mulder would occasionally hold Scully or kiss her, but any time the two were working, things were kept strictly PG. This is a valuable takeaway for any of us involved in a professional or workplace relationship: mixing business with pleasure is not nearly as effective as keeping the two separate.

As is the case with any relationship, the two did have some rough patches, but they maintained a professional respect for one another while slowly nursing their romantic relationship back to health. They approached the situation realistically and set aside emotional biases — something we could all do a little more of, whether our relationship is in the workplace or classroom.

It’s easy to allow emotions to overtake professionalism in a workplace romance. Most people will either become too wrapped up in their love or will deny themselves the opportunity for a relationship altogether. Mulder and Scully provide viewers with the chance to see what a relatively healthy, professional workplace relationship really looks like.

While difficult, it is possible to be romantically involved with a classmate or co-worker without jeopardizing your professional life. All you need is love—and “The X-Files.”

Follow Jonathan Terry on Twitter.

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