What started out as innocent flirting with the cute resident of the cubicle next door is beginning to blossom. You and your co-worker are now dating, and things are going great. You have a lot in common, you love being together, and you want the whole world (and the HR Department, too) to know that you have found true love in the workplace.

But whoa. Slow down there, Romeo and Juliet — office romances can be dicey. They need to be handled a bit differently than if you were dating someone you met at Starbucks — unless of course, you both work at Starbucks.

Actually, it’s no surprise people find love at work, considering how much time we spend there. Assuming you work an eight-hour day for around 50 weeks a year, you spend at least 2,000 hours of your life every year in the office.

If you do find yourself falling madly in love with a co-worker, there are some definite do's and don'ts to keep in mind.

Know Your Company’s Dating Policy

Before you even ask your co-worker out for a lunch date, you would be wise to research and read your company’s rules and regulations about inter-office dating. A lot of offices have strict rules that prohibit employees from dating each other. As tempting as it may be to date a co-worker, it’s probably not worth risking your job for it.

Keep Your Business to Yourself

While a lot of happy dating people want to share their joyful news with others, when it comes to office romances, keep as mum as possible. Sure, it may be tempting to advertise your love by sending a thoughtful gift to the office when your special someone is under the weather, or tell the entire break room about your recent hot date, but it is best to keep details to yourself. Keep gossip at a minimum and your professionalism at a maximum. Be discreet.

Confide in Your Boss

Once you have dated awhile and things are getting more serious, it is a good idea to let your boss know you are dating a co-worker. Set up a time for a brief meeting with your supervisor to share the news. This way, he or she will not hear it through the office grapevine, and it will show how professional you are being about the situation. Keep the meeting short and sweet, and don’t gush about how gorgeous your co-worker is and how you just had this wonderful romantic night out. Simply acknowledge you are a couple, and leave it at that.

PDA is Not Allowed — Ever

Public displays of affection can make people feel uncomfortable in the best of circumstances, but employees really do not want to watch their marketing guy smooching the customer service gal in the lunchroom. PDA in the workplace is a definite no-no.