What’s a Work Spouse ?
It’s that one person at work that you gravitate towards, to perhaps share a meme, or notify when there’s cake in the conference room. That one person you share an inside joke with via text during a pointless 40 minute meeting. C’mon you know what I mean… you’re work spouse.
Now, it’s cool when your single and it can develop into something. But what happens if you’re already taken; might your relationship with your work spouse give your significant other cause for concern?
No one wants to be cheated on: it’s a ridiculing, heartbreaking, and energy draining to say the least. Being deceived is painful and if you’re not careful it can cause you to grow subsequently jaded about both future partners and relationships. Cheating is just not a black and white affair. There is a emotional and sexual cheating and I must confess that I sympathize with one over the other.
In my opinion emotional cheating seems to have more long-term effects,than its physical/sexual counterpart (provided that you don’t catch an STD or get knocked up of course). It could add a generally healthy/refreshing twist to the mundane bullshit (provided those involved are firstly fulfilled in their current relationship and mature enough to respect boundaries).
An emotional relationship with a person, say a co-worker, or classmate channels some of the energy, creativity, and enthusiasm you’d normally would invest in your partner/spouse into someone else because of your given circumstances. For example, say you and a co-worker share an organic interest in a specific comic series, one no one else understands. In addition to this hobby, you both share a similar sense of humor as well as other happen to have more mutual interests. I think it’s fine because I believe that platonic friendships outside of a relationship (male and female) are healthy and necessary.
I’d go crazy without a work spouse. In fact when I first start a new job, after I get the hang of things, one of the first things I do is vet people for their potential as work spouse (male or female). To reiterate, you’re walking a slippery slope if you seek a work spouse and also feel unfulfilled in your relationship: “emotional cheating”, gone awry may very well lay the foundation for a sexual affair.
How do you avoid cross that line?
Concerning work spouses I draw the line at financing unnecessary meals and gifts (especially out of context), exchanging suggestive photos or jokes, engaging in inappropriate physical touch, and using very personal pet names for each other. These violate the boundaries of an intimate relationship, and when engaged in with your work spouse threaten the reliability and stability of your current relationship.
Let me explain. Money’s a touchy subject, and one that I’ll get into eventually. Sharing finances is a very important bond and incentive linking a couple together. So, expenses which leak out on your work spouse, outside the work/classroom context can jeopardize the financial goals and the general well being of the couple. While taking turns buying your morning cup of Joe from the street cart on the corner is innocent and acceptable, consistently picking up the tab on her/his $6.00 caramel cappuccino from the cafe can certainly add up and pose future financial concerns.
Sharing suggestive photos, and sexual innuendos or jokes blur the lines between a healthy work spouse relationship and a potentially sexual partnership. Just as a friendly grip around the waist would certainly give off a stronger signal than a jovial punch in the arm or high five. Your work spouse isn’t your “bae” – You get the point right?