Your every day 9 to 5 can be stressful enough. With a higher-up throwing glances your way, this office relationship etiquette should be able to help you handle the matters of the heart with a good head on your shoulders.

“What if my boss likes me?”

It all started when he asked for your name. The second time around was when he invited you to join him for lunch to work on something. He then started doing weird things with your hair and the thought of seeing him again made you looked forward to those dreaded Monday mornings.

Welcome to the onset of a budding romance!

Your once uneventful life has suddenly become colorful and some odd feelings are coming out into the surface. One moment your heart is dancing and the next, you’re confused, uneasy, and even scared.

“What if I like my boss?” The question has been bugging you for days. He’s smart, nice, and he knows what he wants – what’s not to like? He’s such a dreamboat and it’s just a little crush. Nothing to worry about. Besides, isn’t it wonderful to have someone at work who inspires you?

If only things are that smooth and easy. Only they are NOT.

Office relationships may sound romantic and that warm fuzzy feeling caused by the person you admire is beautiful and terrifying at the same time. But be warned. One wrong move and things can go down south at the speed of light.

What if your boss likes you and what if you like him in return? The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with how you feel. You see, love happens and Cupid does strike in the office. But have you ever wondered how things would be different if you stop puttering around in the gray and finally define whatever it is that you have? You know better than to assume. When you start to feel the zing, drawing the line between admiration and attraction is the only option.

So breathe, pause, and reflect. The signs are glaring. Grant yourself enough time to think things through and have the courage to define your office relationship. Your budding romance is a great place to make sound judgments and wise choices, crucial factors that can impact your entire future.

A Tricky Territory

Getting into office relationships may not be part of your plans but even a famous president and his former mentor will tell you that, at some point, you will have your own fair share of that chapter. It is as common as the demand for a wage increase, the small talk along the hallways, and the gossip shared in the lavatory. It’s not so hard to like someone you get to spend at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week with. You get to do things together that excite and challenge you both. You’ll get to know their favorite food, nuances, their sense of humor. The workplace is such a nice environment for people who want to get to know each other and it is during business hours that you get to witness the best and worst parts of a person which can develop into something more. Mr. President and his beautiful first lady surely got to live their happily ever after. It’s not so wrong to wish just the same.

When you’re certain that your boss is not in a committed relationship with someone else and that your connection thus extends beyond the office. If what you have is the real deal, then it is important to handle those feelings while you’re on the clock.

The Company Policy

Office romance can land companies in hot waters. If there’s no avoiding the love bug, make sure to check your company’s dating policy among its employees before anything else. Don’t be among the 41% (almost half!) of the workforce who knew nothing about their respective company’s dating policy. You’d be happy to know that some businesses allow couples to be in the same payroll just as long as they are conscientious with their jobs but, to avoid issues in the long run, play your cards right from the start. Be cautious at all times but more so if you are out of the office. No to sharing of classified information and don’t be privy on things that don’t concern your relationship. Unless of course, if both of you wish to get into trouble or worse, termination. In the instance that your company policy does not allow a romantic relationship between you and your boss or with someone from the same department, then one of you will need to request a transfer to a subsidiary or you risk losing a job.

Be Discrete

So you have the approval from HR. Still, please keep your hands to yourself. Public display of affection is such a no-no and respect for the time that belongs to the company should still be a priority. Be careful with giving and receiving compliments as well. Remember, you are dating a supervisor. You’d have to do everything you can to squash the perception that your significant other is receiving the special treatment just because you’re in a relationship. You don’t want to embarrass your colleagues either by letting them witness your private moments. Keep those private jokes and sexual comments only between you and the person you are in a relationship with.

Decorum and Professionalism

It’s not always rainbows and butterflies and sometimes, love isn’t enough to spare you from disagreements and fights. Don’t take your issues to the office. Although it’s easier said than done, you gotta make it a point to leave whatever differences you have at the door. Don’t act juvenile throwing out snide remarks just because you’re frustrated. Focus on your job and keep your comments to the other person positive and professional – as hard as it may be.

The Alternative

Love is a lot of hard work and a handful of compromises. Again, if what you have is real and you’re in it for the long haul, finding a new job is a great alternative for you to consider. Sit down, grab a coffee, and have a serious talk about your short-term and long-term career plans. Pushing the love of your life away may not sound appealing, even counter-intuitive, but spending every waking up morning from breakfast to the wee hours of the night can take its toll.

Parting Time

For someone who is in love, a breakup will never be a welcome idea. But try as you might, life happens and as painful as it sounds, people in a relationship, especially if you share the same office should discuss beforehand a potential breakup. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you when things get awry and avoid a messy breakup at all costs.

“What if my boss likes me?” It is such a tricky question that can open up the floodgate of more questions. Have a good head on your shoulders and you’ll never have to run away from the beautiful possibility of finding your one great love – in this case – in the workplace.