Social Question

casheroo's avatar

Work Spouse: detrimental or healthy?

Asked by casheroo (18081points) April 6th, 2010

Not sure if everyone knows what a work spouse is, here’s a Wiki article on it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Work_spouse

A work spouse is a co-worker (usually of the opposite sex)[1] with whom one shares a special relationship, having bonds similar to those of a marriage; such as, special confidences, loyalties, shared jokes and experiences, and an unusual degree of honesty or openness

Do you have a work spouse? How does your actual spouse feel about this, or do they not know?

My mother and I were discussing this, and she was telling me she has one..but they are never inappropriate with each other and do not complain about their spouses since they are both madly in love with their spouses. She says they just joke a lot, as they have cubicles right next to each other, and he can even guess whats for dinner when she mentions that her husband is not home (my mother cannot cook, she only knows about a handful of dishes. lol)

Why do these sort of relationships form? Is it because a spouse just cannot understand the work issues because it’s not their field/job? Or because their spouse is uninterested in their partners work?
Can it be harmful to a marriage?
Thoughts!

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12 Answers

MorenoMelissa1's avatar

Yes this sort of thing can be harmful for their marriage. Work and marriage should be separate.

davidbetterman's avatar

It’s fine so long as I don’t tell tell the wife.

Rangie's avatar

I always seemed to get stuck in an office with a bunch of women. So I wouldn’t know. I never experienced it. However, my guess is that it might become an issue between the husband and wife. Since the know each other so well, the would know something is going on.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

They fired my work spouse. I got over it.
As long as it just remains as a friendly relationship that doesn’t cause problems at work or in the people’s social lives, it’s really not a problem.

This is the first time I’ve heard of “work spouse”. Sounds unnecessarily loaded.
Should we not make friends at work? I think when co-workers are friends, it helps get things done better and faster. My work friend got my stuff done tout de suite and likewise if she needed help, I was there to fix it. She was a good friend to have at the office. Kinda sucks now that we both realized that work was the only bond we had and we’ve since drifted apart.

lfino's avatar

I used to have a work spouse, and it sounds like the same kind of relationship your mom had. We also were not inappropriate with each other, had our inside jokes, and had this relationship for about four years. He was offered a different job that was a great deal for him, and to me, it was like a death for awhile. I still see him occasionally, yesterday in fact, but everything is completely different between us. Still friends though. It wasn’t harmful to my marriage. Those relationships were completely separate. My husband knew we were good friends, but that just what it was. Friends. I guess I don’t understand why there’s a need to hide friends from spouses@ davidbetterman and @Rangie unless you are hiding something. I wasn’t. @MorenoMelissa1, my husband and I just celebrated our 31st anniversary, so there couldn’t have been too much harm done.

Adagio's avatar

I know this does not directly answer your question but I put it out there anyway:

The friendship between a man and a woman which does not lead to marriage or desire for marriage may be a life long experience of the greatest value to themselves and to all their circle of acquaintance and of activity; but for this type of friendship both a rare man and a rare woman are needed. Perhaps it should be added that either the man or the woman thus deeply bound in lifelong friendship who seeks marriage must find a still rarer man or woman to wed, to make such a three cornered comradeship a permanent success. ANNA GARLAND SPENCER

thriftymaid's avatar

It sounds nutty to place a label on what sounds to me to simply be a good friend at work.

Rangie's avatar

@lfino I am not quite sure what you are referring to. Please explain yourself with that remark. “unless you are hiding something”.

Nullo's avatar

Sounds to me like a bad idea.

jeanmay's avatar

Such relationships are only dangerous if intentions are not clear. Long before I was married I had a good friend at work with whom I shared a ‘chemistry’. I was silly enough to believe that it might blossom into a committed relationship. As it turned out he was already catered for in that department. I had no idea, and felt pretty foolish. I asked him why he hadn’t told me, and he admitted he just didn’t want to ruin the banter, despite the risk of giving me the wrong impression.

These days I wouldn’t mind a work spouse, but everyone in this town knows my husband so well, they keep a respectful distance. Not having a such a relationship however, is a small price to pay for having a wonderful life partner.

lfino's avatar

@Rangie, you said – ‘the would know something is going on’. I thought you either meant he would know something is going on, or possibly they would know something is going on. Either way, to me that says that someone is hiding something. Sorry if I misinterpreted what you said. If that wasn’t it, what did you mean?

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I don’t think it’s a good idea for me. When I felt myself becoming too comfortable with my “work spouse” then I pulled back. The work spouse can be a great comfort and support but also a distraction so you don’t deal with stuff on the homefront- the work spouse becomes the well oiled machine, the escape, the ideal and then a fist bump becomes a hug and a hug becomes an embrace when you’re down and out and then… DANGER!

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