It’s likely that you spend more time at work than you spend anywhere else. So it’s understandable that you’d develop meaningful relationships there. This reality has given birth to the concept of a “work wife.” You’re probably familiar with the phrase, but it’s a way of referring to a particularly close relationship with a female colleague. According to a SimplyHired survey, more than 44 percent of men have had a work wife.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying a close friendship with a female colleague. But we need to exercise wisdom in these relationships. When you spend most of your time with someone, if you’re not careful, you may find yourself cultivating intimacy with her in ways that go beyond what’s appropriate for a married man. Here are 3 signs that you need some work wife boundaries.
1. You share things with her you don’t share with your actual wife.
To be clear, I’m not talking about the data you had to pull regarding your first-quarter earnings. Honestly, your wife is probably grateful that you don’t share that with her. What I mean is that you share more intimate things. If you find yourself confiding in her about struggles you face in your marriage or sharing ways you feel lonely or dissatisfied with life, that most likely is a problem. Most affairs have little to do with physical attraction. Instead, they are much more about emotional connection. If you are building this type of emotional intimacy, you might need some work wife boundaries.
2. You hide your interactions with her from your wife.
It’s not necessary or even healthy to feel like you have to share your entire day with your wife. But if you find yourself intentionally withholding information from her about how or how often you and a coworker are interacting, that’s a red flag. If you are uncomfortable with sharing it with your wife, don’t do it. It’s as simple as that.
3. You find yourself thinking about her a lot.
One sign that you may be developing unhealthy intimacy with a colleague is that you think about her often. It’s one thing to see or hear something that makes you think of a friend. However, it’s quite another to find yourself regularly thinking of her in ways that normally would be reserved for a romantic partner. If this is happening, you need some work wife boundaries.
Any of these three red flags could signal that you are building some unhealthy and potentially destructive emotional ties with a colleague. If you want a marriage that is healthy and thriving, it may be time to work on a work divorce. Sure, it may create some awkwardness at work. But an awkward work environment for the sake of a healthy home is far better than the reverse.
Sound off: What are other signs you might be nurturing unhealthy intimacy with a coworker?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with some friends and ask, “Do you ever hear me talk about women in my life in a way that makes you question the nature of the relationship?”