It may be innocent but then again, you may accidentally fall in love.
At what point is your relationship with your work spouse a threat to your actual marriage or relationship? This is an important question to ask yourself if you want to keep trust and connection strong with your romantic partner or spouse, right? There IS such a thing as an emotional affair. It is potentially just as destructive as a sexual affair. The tricky thing about an emotional affair is that you may be in one and not even realize it.
A few signs of an emotional affair are:
- Secrets about what you said or did with the other person
- a stronger emotional bond than the love relationship or marriage
- a preference for the friend instead of the partner and
- feelings of sexual attraction underlying the friendship
The work spouse relationship is one unfortunate way to set yourself up for an emotional affair without meaning to.
And, here are a few reasons why:
Most of us have pretty clear expectations of what it is to be a wife or husband and that almost always includes sexual intimacy. When you call someone your work husband or work wife, you send mixed messages about what you’re looking for in what would otherwise be a professional relationship.
Confusion about what it means to be a “work couple” can very easily lead to one (or both) of you crossing the boundary between friendship and romantic relationship.
The implication in a relationship like this is that you are gravitating toward this person you work with instead of toward your actual spouse or romantic partner. When you devote time, attention and energy to your work spouse, the results are disconnection and distance in your love relationship or marriage.
The confidences you share with your work husband or the way you’ve come to depend on your work wife/husband will inevitably trigger jealousy. Trust gets damaged in the process and that can take a very long time to heal.
Think about it this way: what happens when you have two pots of soup on the stove and you’re trying to stir and add spices to them both at the same time? Maybe you can care for them both equally, but it’s likely that you’ll neglect one in favor of the other. The soup you focus less of your attention on is probably going to burn.
If you’ve elected to be in a monogamous relationship, it’s up to you to choose. Which relationship is most important to you??? If it’s your relationship with your spouse or romantic partner, then that’s the one you should focus upon the most.
I am so NOT saying that you can’t make friends with or share fun and meaningful experiences with your co-workers, but I am reminding you to be honest with yourself. When you feel dissatisfied at home, get to the root of that dissatisfaction. Look for what’s causing you to feel the way you do and then communicate with your partner — without blaming — and come up with solutions that help you both feel fulfilled and excited by the continued growth in your relationship.