As we go further into the second millennium, more and more people are dating, and falling in love with partners they’ve met at work. Yet, coping with Cupid in the workplace can be a rather tricky affair because these romances have both positive and negative effects on work performance.A growing body of research has explored this phenomenon. One study conducted by Robert E. Quinn reported that over 60% of the people surveyed were either aware of an office romance or had been involved in one themselves. A more recent study by Lisa Mainiero, found in her book, Office Romance: Love, Power & Sex in the Workplace, puts the figure at 76%.These romances seem to be on the rise because people are spending more and more time at the office and they don’t have the time to socialize outside of work the way they used to do. They are also attracted to those people who share the same daily successes and stresses as they do.The bottom line is that you’re spending a lot of time around someone that you’re physically and emotionally attracted to, these things happen, whether they’re planned or not. There are many different reasons why people have office romances. Some just want a simple fling with no emotional attachments; others are looking for more serious romances; and some, to be blunt, are just looking for a promotion or a raise.These kinds of affairs can have both positive and negative consequences for not only the work performance of the two people involved, but they also impact the attitudes and performance of the people who are working with or around the couple. Quinn’s study found that, in a little over 10% of cases, the romances seemed to result in increased coordination, improved teamwork and improved productivity. Almost one-third of his respondents reported negative effects such as slower decision making, lower morale and lower productivity.Given these kinds of potential risks and benefits, if you are thinking about the possibility of having an office romance, you should carefully weigh the pros and cons. Imagine what the best and worst case scenarios might be. Could you live with the worst case? If your job were on the line because of your romance, would you be willing to end the relationship or be transferred? Would you have no regrets about it? Don’t forget to examine how the relationship will affect your partner’s career as well.You also need to ask yourself how the relationship at its peak would affect your ability to get the job done. How would it affect your co-workers? Would they be positive and support the relationship or would they try to undermine it?Of course, one’s heart tends to lead in these kinds of affairs, but you, at least, need to be aware of the potential consequences. These things should not be entered into lightly.If you are already in a relationship at work, the following steps in managing the relationship are recommended. The first thing to consider is whether or not you are willing to go public about the relationship. In Quinn’s study, two-thirds of the people involved in an office romance tried to keep them secret. Yet, most of the people surveyed were well aware that a romance was, in fact, happening. In other words, they’ll probably find out anyway. By being up front about it, you can more effectively deal with the feelings that your manager(s) and coworkers will probably have anyway.