Have your eye on that delightfully single man or woman in the cube next to your own? You're not alone. In fact, studies show that around 40% of employees have had an office relationship. At this point, a discussion on the appropriateness or wisdom of a romantic relationship between coworkers is probably a waste of time. Everyone knows that an office romance could either end in a lifetime of bliss or blow up in your face.

Whether you're considering an office romance or you're already in one, here are some guidelines on how to ensure that your risk of heartbreak—or worse, unemployment—is minimised.

Know your Company's Policy on Interpersonal Relationships

Just because your employer's name is on your paycheck doesn't mean that they can tell you who you can and cannot date, right? Well, you might be surprised. Some employers may require you to submit a written contract stating that you won't sue the company should the relationship end badly. Others expressly forbid employees from dating their subordinates.

You also have to consider the long term consequences. Many employers will not hire married couples, meaning that if the relationship leads to marriage, one of you will need to look for another job. Are you prepared for that?

Leave the Marrieds Alone

Sure, you see him more than his wife does, and you share similar backgrounds and interests. However, not only is pursuing a relationship with a married person just wrong, but you'll have very little support for your relationship. Also, his/her spouse will probably eventually find out, and that's drama you don't want.

Practice Discretion

An office romance might provide a fun diversion from whatever you're actually being paid to do and surely everyone will appreciate the fresh fodder for gossip, but discretion is absolutely necessary. Subtle flirting helps you maintain and air of mystery between you and your forbidden love while still maintaining your professionalism.

Be Careful With Work Emails

Hit the wrong key, and you may give your coworkers a far more intimate peek into your love life than you or they ever wanted. No matter how careful you are, your company probably has easy access to every email you've ever sent from your work computer. Once again, practice discretion.

Think About Worst-Case Scenario

We've already talked about best-case scenario, which is that the relationship would lead to marriage and one of you may need to rethink your employment status. Now, for worst-case scenario: the relationship comes to a spectacularly horrid ending and now you hate them and how did this ever seem like a remotely good idea?

With other break-ups, you mourn the loss and come to terms with your anger and hurt, but then never have to see the overgrown man-child/needy shrew again. With a broken office romance, no such mercy exists for you. Not only that, but they may have the power to make your life miserable by gossiping about your private life or what you said about your boss after a particularly brutal performance evaluation.

If you've decided that an office relationship is not for you and you need to widen your social circle, consider online dating. At Love2Date Singles, we have a wide array of lifestyle sites, including one specifically for professionals, making it easier than ever to connect with other singles in your area. Signing up is free, so create your profile today.