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Still, "Commuter marriages are becoming a little more commonplace because people are willing to try them," Guldner says. People think that what's out there now -- email and Internet and so forth -- makes it easier." Is the office romance still taboo?Look no further than Bill Gates and Melinda French for the answer, says Patricia Mathews, MBA, president of Workplace Solutions.Guldner also wrote the book, Long Distance Relationships: The Complete Guide.Compared to generations past, today's lovers are more likely to meet while crisscrossing the country or globe, he says.Some visit every weekend, others, every few months.
"It appears that employees have become more open-minded about relationships between their colleagues." Most employers now permit office romances, even though they discourage it, the survey also discovered.
Such pairs include the two married academics who love their jobs and have lived apart for more than a decade; the spouse who accepted a foreign job assignment but didn't want to uproot the family; the high-powered, dual-career couple constantly on the move to advance in their jobs.
Greg Guldner, MD, the center's director, knows about long-distance relationships firsthand.
"You may have to face a breakup and continue to work with him or her," says Lisa Mainiero, professor of management at Fairfield University.
Still, the office can be a good place to meet a like-minded mate, she says.Once feared for its potential to spark sexual harassment claims, the office romance is losing its stigma.According to a 2006 Workplace Romance Poll by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Career Journal.com, restrictions against office dating have relaxed.And some types of romances are still frowned upon, such as one between a supervisor and subordinate or any kind of extramarital affair, Mathews says.