In a world where you spend about 34.5 hours a week in the office, it makes sense that you would develop relationships with the people around you. It’s human nature to form bonds with the people you spend a lot of time with. You may even find yourself with a work spouse cheering you up throughout the day. Yet, what happens when that relationship is deeper than a friendship? Is having a work wife or husband cheating?
What Is A Work Spouse?
Similar to having a regular spouse, the work spouse—or work wife or husband—is a relationship built from trust and communication. Generally, these relationships form between two people who work well together and have some things in common. In the end, having a work wife or husband can make the office seem a lot more friendly, especially when you can talk to this person as openly as you do with your real spouse.
Is Having A Work Spouse A Bad Thing?
While the term “work wife” or “work husband” can be misleading and intimate, it is not always a bad thing. Finding camaraderie at work shouldn’t be frowned upon, especially when you are spending so much time there. Going throughout life without making connections at work is going to make waking up each day challenging, regardless of how healthy your home life happens to be.
People with stressful jobs benefit all the more from a work spouse. Having someone in your corner, rooting for you throughout the day, increases productivity and efficiency. Plus, it keeps you feeling motivated to go to work with a smile on your face.
So when you are calling your female coworker your work wife merely out of loving but platonic friendship, that is perfectly fine.
When Is Having A Work Spouse Considered Cheating?
Now, the work-spouse relationship tends to get tricky. Calling someone your “spouse” is elevating them to a place of intimacy. Should your actual marriage not be going well, there may be a chance that your work spouse becomes someone more than just a colleague. You may be tempted to start discussing problems at home with your work spouse rather than your
real spouse, and that can lead to an emotionally-charged relationship between you both.
This could transform into an emotional affair or even a physical one. With an emotional affair, you and your work spouse form an intense bond. You may start to distance yourself from your wife or husband because your emotional affair is the idealized romance that you crave. Plus, after having spent so long with your work spouse, you feel like they know the real you.
Having a work spouse can also be considered cheating when your wife at home finds out and feels you have crossed the line. Keep in mind that people have their own ideas about the nature of cheating or infidelity. What you may feel is normal could prompt anger and upset in your spouse.
How To Have A Healthy Work-Spouse Relationship
The best way to have a work-spouse relationship is to not call it that at all. Instead, focus on friendship and avoid forming attachments based on attraction. Your colleagues should be people who you trust. There should be no sense of competition or pettiness. Avoid establishing negative communication patterns. If you are married, be open about that, and lay some ground rules if your colleague is of the opposite sex.
Remember, the success of your work partner is also your success. Working together for the betterment of the business should be your main goal. Also, keep in mind that moving the friendship beyond work can be risky, since it may complicate the overall relationship.
What If I’m Having An Emotional Affair?
Does it seem like dealing with your work wife and real wife is a slippery slope? Are you scared of what your spouse will do when they find out about your work friend? Do you crave time with your work spouse over the company of your husband? These are signs that you might be emotionally entwined with someone outside of the relationship. In other words, you are having an emotional affair.
At this point, your relationship with your work wife is no longer healthy. Your marriage may even be at risk. The best thing to do is to end the relationship with your work spouse as soon as possible. Tell your spouse the truth of what happened. It is going to hurt, and they may lose trust in you, but it is better to end a relationship with your co-worker than lose your whole marriage.
Since the emotional affair was most likely caused by problems at home, promise to attend couples therapy together. There you can learn how to address certain problems and become more receptive to each other’s needs. Then, you may find you don’t need a work spouse at all.
While having a work wife or husband is not necessarily cheating, the connection involved does increase the risk of both emotional and physical affairs. Yes, you can be friends with the opposite sex at work, but you shouldn’t let it develop into anything intimate.
Cultivate a deeper love and friendship with your spouse first. Couples Academy can show you how. Our specialized services give you the tools to build a stronger connection together, so you can overcome martial challenges with ease. Give us a call today to learn more.