Can’t take your eyes off the attractive woman in the cubicle next to you? Got a thing for your tall, dark, and handsome office buddy? 

Welcome to the sometimes wonderful, often awful, world of dating in the workplace. Whether you have a crush on a higher-up or an inkling for a intern, mixing business and pleasure is almost never a good idea. But, let’s face it, sometimes inner office hijinks can be irresistible — so here’s how to make sure you make it through a workplace rendezvous unscathed.

Familiarize yourself with the HR policy. Not all companies have the same stance on inner-office romance. Some companies allow it, others discourage it, and a few even have written policies that ban it. After becoming familiar with your own company’s policy on inner-office dating, consider whether or not the relationship is worth the potential risks to your career and reputation.

You’re not fooling anyone. If you decide to continue with your office fling, be open with your employers and your coworkers. Nothing is worse than dishonesty in these situations, especially because most people are savvy enough to realize what is really going on. Inform human resources and your employer, and casually let your coworkers know the scoop. Of course, torrid details are not necessary, but make sure that you aren’t letting deception ruin your otherwise impeccable reputation.

Avoid naughty email exchanges. Save the romantic words for your sweetie until the bell has rung. Emailing via the company computer is a recipe for disaster, especially if that email recounts personal exchanges that would be humiliating if made public.

Try to keep it professional. Don’t let your newfound crush change the way you treat each other. Keep it professional as much as possible when at work, and save the cutesy nicknames and special treatment for when you are at home. Additionally, don’t devote all your time to one another. Maintaining a rapport with other coworkers is part of being a savvy businessperson, as you never know when you might need those contacts later in life.

Take the high road. If the relationship should end, coming into work will definitely be stressful and emotionally trying for some time. However, you can keep the office as tension-free as possible if you both agree not to gossip about the relationship with other coworkers. Take the high road and try to maintain a respectful and professional demeanor, especially in front of others.

If you can’t resist the lure of a cubicle cutie, go ahead and give dating in the workplace a try. But don’t say I didn’t warn you!

By: Dr.Laura Berman