Workplace romances can be exciting, or they can lead you down a total path of disaster. After all, you're probably spending more time with your co-workers than with anyone else in your life. And workplace romances probably happen more often than you think. According to a U.S. survey conducted by CareerBuilder, about 62 percent of workers have been romantic with a co-worker, with 16 percent of these romances leading to a walk down the aisle. Though these romances are common, they remain hidden, for the most part, with 37 percent workers keeping their work romances private. Sure, they can be thrilling, and can make going into work something you really look forward to, but they can also be disastrous and impact your job.
Though workplace romances are sometimes frowned upon, there are ways to make it work if you find yourself in this situation. “It is very common to meet significant others at work," sex coach and author of The New Rules of Sex, Lauren Brim, tells Bustle. "I have many clients who are in happy relationships with people they've met at their office."
Here's what you should know before you hook up with someone at work, according to Brim.
1. Keep It Under Wraps At First
If you're just newly getting involved with a co-worker, it's probably the best idea for the both of you to keep it under wraps at first. “Go slow and keep it private until it's well-established.”
Even if your workplace romance begins to beautifully blossom into something special, there may be established company policy about co-workers not getting involved or having a relationship with one another. Know what your office policies ahead of time to office drama and HR stepping in down the line.
2. Be Aware Of A Power Imbalance
A workplace romance with a superior is definitely trickier, but it's not impossible. "It's important to be sure it is really worth pursuing, and that the person in the superior position has to have very clear signals before moving forward so as not to abuse their power," says Brim.
3. Make Sure The Person Is Available
“Make sure the person is truly available, aka not married or involved with someone else or emotionally unavailable,” says Brim.
This is always important, but it's especially important while dating at work. Plus, you really don't want to be bringing in any unnecessary drama into your life, especially when you know you have to go into work every day.
4. Make Sure It’s Worth It
First and foremost, make sure that it's even a connection worth exploring. A one-time thing may not be worth it if it could affect your job or make you uncomfortable at work. “Feeling attracted to people you work with is very common, but what is important to determine is whether or not what you're feeling is lust or love," says Brim. "If it's lust, or the attraction is to someone unavailable, it's best to not pursue it. But if what you're feeling is bigger than that, then the relationship or romance is worth exploring."
5. Don’t Let It Get In The Way Of Your Job
If it's likely to impact your job, your stress levels, or well-being negatively, it's time to rethink the situation.
6. Keep Sex In The Bedroom, Not The Copy Room
“Sex at the office can be erotic and super fun, but just remember you have a job to keep so don't break any big rules and definitely don't get caught," says Brim. "Better to go for drinks after work and have hot sex outside the office followed by lots of sexting and other sexy after hours escapades."
Plenty of people meet their partners at work, so if you find yourself crushing on a coworker, that's totally normal and nothing to be ashamed about. It's just important that you weigh the pros and cons and be honest with yourself ahead of time.