U.S. workers spend more time on the job these days than ever. And with nearly 20 percent more single people in the workplace now than 10...

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NEW YORK — U.S. workers spend more time on the job these days than ever. And with nearly 20 percent more single people in the workplace now than 10 years ago, many people are starting to turn their frown on office romance upside-down.

Still, there are rules to follow, so if you are thinking about beginning a relationship with someone at work, keep these in mind:

Dating your subordinate or your boss is never a wise idea. Not only could you possibly involve yourself in a sexual-harassment suit, but you can also sabotage your career. Romancing your boss most often looks like you’re just trying to get ahead at work, and dating your subordinate reeks of a desperate play for power.

Think about the consequences. Relationships can end as quickly as they begin, and chances are you’ll still have to work with your ex, regardless of whether your romance lasts. Consider how possible break-up tension might affect your performance at work, your ability to work alongside your ex on projects and your relationship with others in the office.

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This is your career, regardless of whether your boyfriend or girlfriend is involved, too, and you don’t want to get so swept away by a new relationship that you start underperforming. Stay on top of your professional goals.

Talk it out with each other. If you are in a relationship with someone at work, it’s important that both of you already know the answers to tough questions. What happens if the relationship ends? What will you say to co-workers who know? Will you be able to work together effectively? Answering questions such as these before a possible break-up will ease some of the stress.

Don’t talk with other people about your romance. In small offices in particular, work romances can easily become the hot topic at the water cooler.

To hold the gossip to a minimum, keep your relationship as private as you can. Just because you might be dating someone at work doesn’t mean that you are dating everyone in the office. Keep things professional. Never show public displays of affection or send love e-mails to each other.