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According to a Career Builder survey of more than 4,000 workers nationwide, 17% of respondents have dated a coworker at least twice, with 30% of those relationships leading to marriage.After all, you can’t always help whom you fall in love with.“We spend over 70% of our time at the office,” says Nicole Williams, Linked In’s career expert.

Before deciding to date a colleague, Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for Career, suggests weighing the pros and cons of starting a relationship and to be prepared to tread carefully and be ready to take responsibility for the decision.

Dating a coworker can have unwanted consequences depending on company policies and how the relationship unfolds.

If you do decide to pursue a relationship with a coworker, experts suggest answering a few questions before you leap. Companies have different policies regarding interoffice relationships, so research before pursuing a coworker.

“If you’re in a situation where no relationships are allowed, there’s no grey there,” says Haefner.

“If you make that choice, know that there’s a big risk if you get found out.

You could get fired.”Being involved with a coworker can potentially jeopardize business objectives or be a distraction in the workplace, says Jolynn Cunningham, director of talent at Indeed.“You’re there to do business and personal relationships are secondary.”If your company allows a relationship, pursue it with discretion.“You’re there to work—your company’s paying you for a job to do,” says Amanda Lachapelle, director of human resources and talent acquisition at Glassdoor. “If there’s no policy, it’s never ever a good idea to get involved with someone in a reporting structure, whether they report to you or vice versa,” warns Cunningham.“There are certain prejudices against people who are romantically involved with the boss—people would question promotions and raises.”Even though everyone’s fair play if your company doesn’t have a policy, Williams says that it’s difficult for a subordinate to consent to a relationship with a supervisor because of the inherent pressure and influence of his or her advances.“Your company is the one that pays the harassment bill and insurance doesn’t cover it,” says Williams. “If you think you can hide your affair from your coworkers, think again,” says Williams.Your peers will catch on to your always synchronized lunches, coffee breaks and vacations.“Attempting to keep the relationship a secret usually fails and invites interest, speculation and gossip.”Experts suggest waiting at least three months before sharing that you’re a couple.If you’re not going against company policy, the relationship isn’t with someone in your reporting structure, or won’t cause additional strife in the office, share the information with coworkers organically and not with an announcement at lunch or a public display of affection, suggests Cunningham.Tell your boss first—don’t ask for permission but rather show that you care about the business and your careers, advises Williams.“Your boss will find out anyway and you want them to be confident that you'll behave in a professional, ethical and responsible manner.Your boss can even help to create personal and professional boundaries.”How do you treat your partner at work?

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