Work Spouse – Fascinating yet Complicated!

work spouse

In today’s tiring work schedule, having a work spouse might be a good thing to go with; however, sometimes it could turn a bit complex if not handled properly. It feels good to have someone in the office on whom you can rely on, trust, and can even get professional advice as well as emotional support. But too much dependency can turn nasty. If your relationship is very intense, and you start to feel romantically inclined to the opposite sex, it could be messy, and it usually doesn’t turn out well. In this article, I will discuss some signs that can help you understand the work spouse relationship, their positive and negative outcomes, as well as ways to balance the relationship. But first, you must know what does it mean by the term “Work Spouse.”

What is the Definition of Work Spouse?

work spouse

A work spouse is an American Phrase, usually referring to a coworker of the opposite sex, with whom you share a special bond of emotional connection and have exceptional understanding. A work spouse, work husband, or work wife is not simply a coworker but someone with whom you share a special, platonic bond of friendship. And you also have high levels of respect, mutual trust, honesty, loyalty, disclosure, and intuitive understanding among the two of you.

Signs That Show You Have A Work Spouse

Some concrete signs point out whether or not you have such a person at your workplace. Let’s have a look at the signs when you should be alert:

1. You Become Inter-Dependent

Inter-Dependent - work spouse

We all work cooperatively, and our work comes out best when done in partnership. But when you begin to depend on a specific coworker for even your office snacks, supplies, and aspirin, that’s when you should be aware of yourself. The two of you’s inter-dependency goes beyond the limit of just being casual friends, which is alarming for the peaceful working environment.

2. You Are Always Together

Always Together - work spouse

You find that your relationship with your coworker continues even after office hours. You guys always spend time with each other and are together most of the time. You have multiple things to talk about, have lots of fun, and adventure together. You might not even realize that the friendly relationship you had with your coworker has gone beyond the level of usual friendship.

3. You Share Private Secrets

Share Private Secrets - work spouse

Be aware when you start to share certain kinds of jokes with each other that are a bit too personal. Your private life and personal secrets are something that makes you vulnerable. And you only start sharing when you trust the other person like your family. There is an exceptional level of secrecy between the two of you. Also, you use a specific language when you talk with each other.

4. Your True Colors Show

Your True Colors Show

A sure sign to look for is when you don’t act fake and tend to behave real to your work spouse. While on the other hand, when you interact with other office colleagues, you act or pretend sometimes. You are the real you in front of your work husband or work wife and conceal your personality while being with others. It’s high time and a clear-cut sign to scrutinize yourself.

5. You Are Unusually Comfortable

Unusually Comfortable - work spouse

At times you can become extremely comfortable pointing out their flaws, compliment their appearances, or even point out the mistakes from that last presentation. Moreover, you can gossip about others’ appearances and boss’s nagging without having a second thought. You are unusually comfortable with them and can talk about anything at all; this means you have found yourself a work spouse at your workplace.

6. You Are Lunch Buddies

Lunch Buddies - work spouse

When you are in the office, you guys are almost inseparable. You visit each other’s desks often, have lunch or coffee together, you even save the seat for your coworker during meetings. You are well-informed about the place they want to go to and the mood they are in that day. When you go out for coffee breaks or lunch, you and your colleague are well aware of each other’s likes and dislikes and quite promptly orders beforehand.

7. Your Minds Synchronize Well

Minds Synchronize Well

You find yourself being so close with your coworker that you can easily guess what they want to say, and you complete each other’s sentences well. If that happens too often and only with a specific person, this means your relationship with your coworker might be at the brim of being too much. The emotional connection you have now might lead you to a more romantic relationship in the long run. So, better beware than regret it.

8. Your Expectations from Them are High

Expectations from Them Are High

Your work spouse or specific colleague knows almost everything about your life, just like your real-life partner or your best friend. S/he knows what your dreams are, how you usually behave, what you like to talk about, and how you look like outside of the workplace. Moreover, you associate expectations from each other as if you both are bonded in a romantic relationship. 

Some Positive Sides of Having Work Spouse

Having someone this close can have profound scientific and conventional benefits for your mental health and sociability. These are;

1. Relieved Stress

Relieved Stress

When you can share some juicy gossip with that close one, it could work as a stress reliever too. Most of your stress comes from thinking about the harsh, sarcastic attitudes of people. And being able to talk comfortably to get that heaviness off your chest can bring you peace.

2. Increased Productivity

Increased Productivity

You and your work partner can make an outstanding, productive team by discussing each other’s approaches, capabilities, and skills. Both of you would know how to make each other comfortable, making it easier for you to excel in your work and group projects. You will motivate each other more.

3. All-Time Friend

All time friend - work spouse

You have a great friend at the workplace whom you can rely on during those difficult and challenging times at work or even at your home. You will find a true friend in them, one who is always there for you to help you manage stress and one who shares your workload.

4. Gossip Companion

Gossip Companion

We, as social beings, like to talk about other people’s issues and have a profound interest in things that are the talk of the town. Gossips keep us entertained even if they aren’t all nice. You will find a trusted person in your work spouse to whom you can speak your mind without any hesitation.

5. Help in Crisis

Help in Crisis

You have someone to cover up for you when you have some issues at the workplace or even at home. And a person whom you can trust and put faith in is right by your side. Sometimes, they can only be all ears to your problems and be good listeners, which helps you relieve stress as well.

Some Negative Outcomes of Having Work Spouse

Even if you have found a friend, you are exposed to more risks of getting deeper into the relationship and crossing the line. A few negative impacts are:

1. Your Disputes Affect Work

Disputes Affect Work - work spouse

What if your relationship with your work spouse turns terrible? It could turn into a dispute of hellfire and might, or certainly, leaves an impact not only on your team but also on your work partner. Moreover, because of resentments, your personal life also gets disturbed.

2. Your Real Spouse Gets Jealous

Spouse Gets Jealous

When your real-life spouse gets aware of your work spouse, it can create problems with your possessive real-life partner, and if you are married, it can make the situation even worse. The encounter is inevitable, and you might get into a serious argument with your real-time partner.

3. Unnecessary Misinterpretations Arise

Unnecessary Misinterpretations

Your other colleagues can misinterpret your relationship with your colleague, and it can drag your relationship with your work spouse into bad shape. It can also hamper your success and growth in both your professional and personal life.

4. Your Family Feels Neglected

Family Feels Neglected

When the two of you spend time not only in the office but also outside the workplace. Bringing unfinished work home and discussing it over the phone with your colleague risks your relationship with your whole family. Your family misses you because you are overindulging with your colleague.

5. There May Be Unequal Power Dynamics

Unequal Power Dynamics

Even if you are on equal grounds now, the chances are that one of you might as well get promoted in the future. And this inequality in work dynamics might get in the way of your friendship. The level of secrecy you have right now can become a threat to you.

Rules to Balance Work Spouse Relationship

To avoid the negative impacts, unwanted arguments, grievances, and resentments can be avoided by balancing your relationship with your coworker.

1. Avoid Sharing Personal Information

Avoid Sharing Personal Information - work spouse

While a work spouse is a great friend and strong support, sharing too much personal information can become risky. You never know what the other person is thinking. So, it is best to avoid showing your vulnerable side to them.

2. Reduce the Time Alone

Reduce the Time Alone - work spouse

How would you like it if your real-life partner has such a relationship at work? You would want to protect your partner from this. You might as well want to take extra precautionary measures to prevent the situation, which could lead to romantic feelings. So, it is better to sit in groups rather than being alone.

3. Introduce Your Real Spouse to Them

Introduce Your Real Spouse to Them

Your real spouse should know all about your work husband or work wife because this is the only way to draw a safe boundary to your friendship. By doing this, you will declare that you know how to keep the friendship and value your marriage as well.

4. Keep Your Work and Home Apart

Keep Your Work and Home Apart

Do not make your work partner a couple’s therapy for your life arguments and differences. Also, keep the work and projects or presentations at your workplace and avoid merging both of them to be clear of your set boundaries.

So, these are some points which one should keep in mind while having such a close relationship with their coworker. Work spouse relationships are going very common these days. And indeed, it is not bad for anyone to get a supportive friend in the office where they spend almost more than seven hours. So, do have a person at your workplace who can be your sincere friend and provide his/her shoulder to cry on. But it must be within limits so that you can maintain a good balance in your life both at the office and in the home.

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  1. Interesting article and very touch subject if not careful, Souti, you have written it very nicely, work spouse is a beautiful concept I would say in a workplace where you can get support as you get at your home from your real life partner but sometimes it can be edgy… LOVED the article 🙂


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