A Husband's Guide to : Office Spouses

The average America spends around 46 - 50 hours per week working.  This should not surprise most of you because I am sure you fit into this statistic.  I have found that most people create work relationships that mimic outside work relationships.  I have a few really close friends that I could talk to about almost anything, and I also have a few really close work friends that I could also talk to about almost anything.  I rarely see my work friends outside of work, I don't really know why this phenomenon occurs but my outside work friends all describe something similar. We just have work friends and not-work friends.  Sure sometimes a work friend transcends the typical role and becomes an outside work friend but the truth of the matter is that is not always the case. 

So if we can accept the fact that we have work friends, then we must accept that the role of work spouse also occurs.  Our "real" spouse fulfills so many different roles, however the work spouse usually just fills in for one role.  Now before I begin my regularly scheduled TheHusBlog Definition Pause I want to make one thing crystal clear.  The office spouse is not a surrogate for our wife while at work, nor does this relationship involve any sexual component(in most cases).  So without further ado :

TheHusBlog Definition Pause : Types of Work Spouses

  • Venting Board : This work spouse is the one you go to for all your venting needs.  Often at work we have to put on a happy face when being told something that makes us want to scream some rather not nice words.  The venting board is that person that you can calmly and quietly walk into their office, shut the door, and then let loose a stream of obscenities that would make Howard Stern blush.
  • Partner in Crime : This is the person that you leave the office with.  Often a lunch or errand buddy, this person is cool to hang out with, or at the very least has a pleasant demeanor.  This may not be the type of person you would share your deepest darkest secrets with, but they are someone who you can feel like yourself around.  This office spouse is often of the same sex.
  • Counselor : We often like to separate work and home life but sometimes they bleed into one another.  A fight with your spouse might make you grumpy(did I just use the word grumpy, I am getting old) at work and you might need to talk it out with someone.  That is where the Counselor comes in.  This work spouse is a person whom you have equal footing with (you both are in similar work positions, similar type marriages, similar life experiences, etc.) Often this person is someone whom(I think it is whom instead of who?) you can talk about relationship problems with.  
  • Day Dreamer : This is the guy/gal who organizes the group Lotto Tickets.  Someone who you talk to about what you are going to do when you make it/win the lotto/become independently wealthy.  In short this is a dreamer.  We all like to escape the dull drum of our work life and talk about our plans  when we don't have to work for a paycheck.  This person is a great escape and allows us to dream of a life where we can go to work because we want to, rather than because we have to.  
  • Care Giver : This is the most self less of the work spouses.  This is the person who makes sure you eat lunch when you are in a ton of meetings, or brings you coffee when you need a pick me up.  This person makes sure that you take care of yourself.  This is also the most intimate of the work spouses and should be watched out for.  To be a care giver work spouse means that you have to think of the other person when they are not around, while this can be endearing to the receiver, it must also be watched with a careful eye.  These are the types of relationships that can move to something inappropriate.  It is human nature to want to be thought about, but if you have someone of the opposite sex that you are close to, anticipating your needs too well, it might be a sign that, that person wants to be more than friends. 
Work spouses fill a need that we all lack.  We need someone in our corner at work, because, unless you work with your wife, you don't get.  I can say in my research that 90% of these relationships are harmless, but we all should be on the look out for those people that might want a little bit more, if you catch my drift.

The longer we are married the more accustomed we become to certain things and often when we don't have access to them (such is the case at work) we find surrogates.  These surrogates are not a replacement to our spouses, in fact, usually the opposite, they are shadows of what we can get at home, but they do help to make the days at work seem more bearable.

Before I continue I have to share a sobering statistic : 75% of Men and 65% of Women admit to having sex with people they work with (http://www.womansavers.com/infidelity-statistics.asp).  Now, sure, that stat is just for people, not "Married People" but you have to be on the look out for someone who might tempt you.  Being married can be about endurance sometimes.  Things will not always go perfectly at home so you have to be vigilant and make sure you do not expose yourself to someone who might make you do something wrong.

Work relationships are important, you spend so much time there, that you have to find a way to connect with people, just make sure that when you have a work spouse, that the relationship doesn't cross a line.  Look out for the warning lights (your door might be ajar, see the blog on warning lights for more details).  But in the end strive to be the husband who is trustworthy, honest, and caring.  Just remember that who you go home to, should be the person you always want to go home to.


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