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Stop calling her your work-wife.

stop calling her your work-wife.

How work spouses can cause more harm than good.

Your relationships with your significant other and your job can be two of the most rewarding things in your life. They can be two of the biggest stressors in your life as well. Having a husband or wife to vent to at the end of a long day is sometimes necessary. But what if you had a husband or wife to vent to at work? Enter the work spouse. A "work spouse," is a co-worker who you have a close platonic relationship with. They start off as an office ally; you share meals together, they’re your confidant, they understand why Janet in accounting is making your life a living hell. And when you spend 40 hours a week (but it’s 2019, so more) with them, you might even see them more than you see your actual spouse. Experts agree that having a work spouse can be a positive thing – that is, until it’s not.  

If neither of you is attached, and you think there might be a connection then go for it; 58 percent of people admit to having a romance at work. The Obamas met at the office, so there’s obviously something to it. But remember to be respectful. Chances are if you’re attracted to your work spouse, they probably feel it too. But be prepared for the possibility that they might not reciprocate your feelings. And if that happens, how will you react? It worked out for Jim and Pam, but poor Roy was left holding the bag. If things don’t pan out, keep in mind that you still have to see them every day, and work-divorces can be hard.

If you are attached, having another close relationship could create friction between you and your partner – and not the good kind. Referring to someone as your “work-wife” or “work-husband” can confuse your partner. They may like your co-worker, but they might not be 100 percent on board with you using the term “spouse.” Especially if the topic of marriage is something you’re both considering. They want to be your spouse, but seeing you drop that moniker on someone you work with can be hurtful. It can also lead to uncomfortable situations at work, if your other colleagues hear you call each other that. 

Bottom line: put yourself in your partner’s position. How would you feel if they had a work-wife? If it’s an issue for your partner, try getting everyone together for dinner. Invite the work spouse – even the work in-laws – the more the merrier. Having a close friend at the office is fine, just make sure your expectations – and theirs – are the same.