What does the work wife/hubby relationship mean for your love life?
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Work spouse

What does the work wife/hubby relationship mean for your love life?

6 Nov 2018 LIFESTYLE

By: Natasha Archary


Work wife/hubby

Recently a meme that was doing the rounds on social media caught my attention, “Your husband and his work wife are eating the leftovers you lovingly cooked last night and laughing about how you undercooked the rice.”


Sure, from the outside looking in it may sound hilarious. But when your spouse or partner gets unusually close to someone at the office, what does that mean for your relationship?


Science supports the work spouse relationship

Karla Bergen, Ph.D and Chad McBride, Ph.D who’ve both published one of the few academic papers on work relationships, make a compelling case for finding and maintaining an office spouse dynamic. In their paper, published in 2015, 269 people found that the work spouse relationship was a very close emotional bond built on deep levels of trust, respect and loyalty. The foundation of every marriage then.


According to McBride and Bergen, people felt they could share major work disappointments with their office spouses rather than their real life partners.

Office wife/husband
Relationship experts weigh in

According to Jennifer B. Rhodes, a psychologist and dating coach, it’s understandable that people may develop long lasting office “friendships” (read relationships). While there is nothing insidiously wrong with having close friendships at work, there is potential for them to become unhealthy.


In a previous article we touched on the different types of cheating decoded– LINK (https://www.kayafm.co.za/different-types-of-cheating-decoded/) and the work spouse relationship was mentioned. If you’re confiding in your work spouse, isolating your actual partner and omitting details about your office friendship, you’ve got some explaining to do.


The minute you feel the need to hide details from your partner is when you’re already quarter to doing something wrong.


Does the work spouse situation affect your relationship?

We’re all for platonic friendships between the genders or gender-neutral platonic friendships if that’s what you prefer but when it’s borderline unhealthy and infringing on your love life, that’s where we draw the line.


There’s a tendency to have an emotional affair with a work wife or husband. It’s not uncommon for physical cheating to follow because according to a study, almost 22% of the people in work spouse friendships admit to falling in love with their significant office partner.


It’s often the amount of time spent with one another that can be misinterpreted as intimacy. You know there’s a problem when your work spouse gets jealous about your life partner. This is a clear indication that things are not strictly platonic because that’s a major “catching feelings” red flag.


Relationships cannot be a one-sided affair, it’s a two-way street to make it work and at some point the parallel lanes have to meet. That being you and your partner and a sense of commonality and understanding. Mutual respect and give and take make a solid relationship.


To many, the work wife/hubby has done nothing but complicate an otherwise healthy relationship. What are your thoughts on the work wife/hubby scenario? Share your stories with us by tweeting @KayaFM95dot9 using the hashtag #KayaOnline


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