11 Signs Of An Unhealthy ‘Work Spouse’ Relationship

11 Signs Of An Unhealthy 'Work Spouse' Relationship

9. You justify your work partner’s actions and defend them at every opportunity, even when there is no attack on them by anyone.


10. Inside, you may realize you’re overly protective of your “work spouse,” but justify it by telling yourself it’s just your job and you can’t afford to damage your working relationship.


11. You feel like it is not “real cheating” because you would never physically cheat, or there’s a big age gap or any seemingly plausible, but actually entirely superficial excuse because if you’re emotionally closer to someone besides your partner, there is an issue.


If you agreed with one or two of the above statements, you’re probably in the clear. After all, you can only talk about work so much, and inquiring about other people’s lives is normal, natural, healthy, and contributes to a friendlier work environment. No one wants to work somewhere, where no one cares about their family life, or they feel like they can’t be themselves.


However, if you agreed with the majority of all of the 11 statements, you might want to:

  • Come clean with yourself.
  • Come clean with your partner before irreparable damage occurs, and
  • Have a talk with your “work spouse” to set more appropriate boundaries before either of you take it too far.

The last thing you want to do is damage the trust you have at home via an inappropriate work relationship or to damage your career through the appearance of an inappropriate relationship.

“When a man must force himself to be faithful in his love, this is hardly better than unfaithfulness.” – Francois La Rochefoucauld


Here’s an interesting video that you may want to check out:

Be smart and sensitive

Work spouses are just really good friends who work together. But such a friendship can easily take a wrong turn if you’re not careful enough. It primarily depends on what you and your coworker think about this friendship and what you expect from it as a team. If you’re on the same page, then this relationship can be an asset for both of you and can be sustainable.


However, if you or your “work friend” have any ulterior motive then things can get negative before you may realize. It’s better to question your intentions and understand theirs before you further invest yourself into this relationship.

“Spouses in healthy relationships cherish each other’s space and are champions of each other’s causes.” – Henry Cloud


Remember that by investing too much into your friendship with your “work spouse”, you’re putting your real relationship with your actual spouse in jeopardy. So make sure to weigh in both the pros and cons before moving ahead. Understand that if you talk about your office friend frequently at home, it’s natural for your husband or wife to feel jealous and left out. This may lead to doubts and create cracks in your marriage or relationship.


The best thing you can do to clear the air is to introduce your “work spouse” to your real spouse. This will help your husband or wife to realize that this is a healthy friendship and you’re not cheating on them. Set up a double date with your work spouse and their real partner and grab some drinks or invite them over for dinner. This will help you create a better relationship with both your own spouse and your office bestie.

With some tact and sensitivity, you can build a lifelong friendship with your colleague, strengthen your marriage and make work more enjoyable.

Written by Sarah Smith
Originally appeared in The Goodmen Project

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11 Signs Of An Unhealthy 'Work Spouse' Relationship
11 Signs Of An Unhealthy ‘Work Spouse’ Relationship
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