Does Having A ‘Work Husband’ Threaten Your Marriage?

My husband and I have been happily married for almost two years now. Some might say that we’re still in the honeymoon phase, but I’m just fine with that. We respect one another, enjoy spending time together, support each other. No marriage is perfect, but I think our’s is pretty healthy. That’s why I had never even considered the effects of having a work husband on my real life relationship.

This week, I wrote about divorcing your work husband and the difficulties that can come with ending any relationship. While obviously not the same as an actual separation, splitting from a work companion can lead to co-workers choosing sides, jealousy over new friendships and possibly a financial mess if you’ve been working together on projects and accounts. There’s no lawyers, so that’s a plus. But it’s still a complicated situation.

While writing this piece, I described my close partnership with a colleague at work. If I used the term “work husband” in my day-to-day life, he’s the one who would wear that honor. We help each other out and vent about frustrating bosses. We discuss our daughter’s birthday parties and the pros and cons of parochial schools. We’re friends.

However, one of our commenters believes that the idea of  work spouses intrinsically threatens real life marriage. He chastised me for considering my co-worker and I to have a “relationship.” Any form of relationship. Possessiveness or attachment to anyone outside your own husband is obviously dangerous territory. And this commenter is convinced, “ Not only are you unwittingly creating problems for your own marriage, you are potentially interfering with your co-worker’s marriage (if he is married) or his potential to marry (if he’s single).”

So I did what any normal married woman would do. I asked my husband. “Hunnie, would it bother you if I thought of a co-worker as my work husband,” I questioned over dinner last night. “Michael*,” my husband asked? Since we talk about work every day, he’s not exactly in the dark about who I depend on at the office. “We trust each other. I’m pretty secure in our relationship.” He didn’t seem bothered at all. After explaining the piece I wrote, along with the reaction, Scott seemed a little more amused. “Hun, can I please be there when you tell Michael that you want a divorce? That would be great…”

I understand where our commenter was going. Attachments to members of the opposite sex can be difficult for relationships to handle. And plenty of couples meet at work. My husband and I worked together before we were married. So it’s obviously possible that co-workers who get along can take that relationship a step further.

However, I think it also depends on the people involved. An insecure and unstable relationship can be threatened by any number of things. A strong, committed marriage can survive, even when the two people in it have friends and relationships with the opposite sex. Personally, I don’t think that deeming someone my “work husband” has any affect on my real marriage. But I can understand that others might not feel that way.

So what about you all? Do work spouses threaten real relationships? Or are they only damaging to those who would already be in trouble? Do you have a work spouse?

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    • Andrea (PARENTise)

      I think that having a work spouse can make your work life, more fun, more productive, potentially keep you at a job longer because you’re happier, etc. I also think that if jealousy arises there is a bigger issue that you need to deal with. Your spouse can’t be your everything – you have to have others to help hold you up and having someone at work who you can depend on is icing on a cake.

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    • StephyJ

      my work husband is nearly 30 yrs older than me and the first one i go to for advice. he was at my wedding and my (home) husband enjoys coming to work and mingling with him as well. we’ve grown very close over the 3 years we’ve spent next door, eating lunch together every day. He makes sure the coffee pot is ready when I get to work and even planned a big shindig for my birthday last year. Everyone at work knows we’re close but nothing would happen that would ever challenge my vows. He’s the emotional support I need after a tough meeting or a bad day, someone that’s been there and survived. Plus he’s always so cheerful which is nice to be around.

    • StephyJ

      my work husband is nearly 30 yrs older than me and the first one i go to for advice. he was at my wedding and my (home) husband enjoys coming to work and mingling with him as well. we’ve grown very close over the 3 years we’ve spent next door, eating lunch together every day. He makes sure the coffee pot is ready when I get to work and even planned a big shindig for my birthday last year. Everyone at work knows we’re close but nothing would happen that would ever challenge my vows. He’s the emotional support I need after a tough meeting or a bad day, someone that’s been there and survived. Plus he’s always so cheerful which is nice to be around.