It’s difficult to maintain a successful career and a work life at the same time but, when the two are combined, it’s a lot harder. Dating a co-worker usually isn’t encouraged and there have been many horror stories about couples who have been in such a situation but it’s not all doom and gloom. It’s possible to make an office romance work, if you follow a few simple steps.

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Before you get involved, find out if your company has any specific rules concerning office relationships. Some places have strict codes of conduct in place for such a situation so familiarise yourself with them, if they exist. For example, if you know that employees are dismissed if they date within the company – this isn’t a rare rule – then at least you know what you’re risking before you decide if the man is worth taking this plunge.

It’s always best to date someone outside your department. Apart from obvious reasons like having your feelings cloud career-related decisions, it also makes it a lot easier if the romance doesn’t work out. Sure, you’ll see each other around the office every now and then but at least you won’t have to work together every day so it’ll be less awkward.

Don’t send love notes – or say anything really racy – to your man over your office email or instant messaging system. Never forget that your work email is not private so don’t be surprised if your boss looks through them every once in a while. Plus, you don’t want to give the IT guys a chuckle by reading your suggestive messages, do you?

Keep your hands to yourself, no matter how much you want to stroke your man’s big, strong shoulders or run your fingers through his hair. This rule applies not just in the office but also at company functions (yes, even if you’ve had one too many glasses of wine at the annual D&D). Keep it professional at all times, unless you want to be the topic of conversation at the water cooler the next day.

Relationships are hard to get right as it is and working in the same office is an extra element of potential ‘stress’ that nobody needs. Take it slow and don’t get caught up in the excitement of being involved in an office romance that you mistake lust for love. Make sure you’re getting into it for the right reasons and not just because you’re bored at work so why not get involved with the guy in the next department who’s constantly flirting with you.

If you’ve had a fight the night before, don’t take it out on your partner in the office. Keep your problems at home and your love lives separate from your professional lives. So, if you’re working on a project together, don’t pass snide remarks during meetings just because you’re angry with him. And, during the honeymoon period, don’t let the fact that you’re walking on air affect your work as your stomach flips every time you see him in the office.

Face the fact from the very start that, if the romance works out, one of you might have to leave the company. Very few couples manage to have successful relationships while working together as it’s tough to maintain it so do note that you might have to give up your job one day, in order to make your love life work. And be prepared to deal with the consequences that might come with others finding out about your office romance, which could range from simple teasing to blackmail.

Want some more romantic advice? Read our stories: Has he lost that lovin’ feeling? Top reasons your man doesn’t want to have sex; 15 things you should know about condoms and Is your marriage going downhill? Here are 5 ways to ensure long-lasting intimacy.

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