Yes, I'm about to go there! I am about to bust up an age old practice that people acknowledge but simply don't talk about. After all, to bring it up is about as taboo as discussing anal sex with devout Christians. To mention it at any point to a significant other or supervisor will most likely result in a blank stare followed by an awkward stare, followed by a ... You get the picture.
So why is it so uncomfortable to discuss this matter in a mixed crowd or with your boo standing within earshot? It's just a harmless word used to describe a workplace relationship that involves some level of personal connection but doesn't cross the line - well, supposedly.
Before I delve any deeper, here is my loose description of a work wife. Keep in mind, looks do not carry a lot of weight, but in my observation she's probably among the most attractive women in your place of work. Generally speaking, you probably interact with her every day and discuss more than the daily TPS reports. In fact, many of your conversations are personal and usually end with some form of affirmation or advice in handling a personal matter. If she isn't present in the office, you are probably the first person to check on her whereabouts and likewise, she'll call or text you when you go missing.
There are many more dynamics to the work wife relationship but ultimately, she gains a level of access to you in the workplace that is usually well guarded or in most cases, off limits to other co-workers. This unique level of access is what adds value to the relationship and could potentially lead to the point of this entire article.
Is having a work wife cheating?
Oh, I just stuck my foot in it this time but for good reason. Now obviously, there are harmless work wives out there that simply handle their business in the office and love being nice to people that appreciate their kindness. It's not their fault that they discovered a common interest with an opposite sex co-worker and can now delight in an inside joke or shared experience. The good wholesome work wives are not on trial in this blog and are encouraged to keep fighting the good fight. For you, your spouse at home, that gets you for the 128 remaining hours of the week, probably loves the fact that there is a supplement to his genuine care and concern for your safety and well-being when he is unable to do so himself.
I'm focusing on the other half of the office cubicles.
Unlike the aforementioned work wives, there are obviously those out there that have perverted this relationship. What may seem like innocent exchanges are executed with underlying messages or with a larger goal in mind and like lemmings, some men fall for it every time.
Truth is, our eyes are our first tool used to explore relationships. We have to see something before we can engage it, interact with it, even think about it. So obviously most men will probably gravitate to their office eye-candy unless their sense of smell takes precedent, in which case a chick that can burn in the kitchen is gonna get mad love in the office. Needless to say, when men use our eyes in the workplace, we are already chasing a soccer ball into interstate traffic.
Now comes the twist. My goal isn't to bully the guys who have fallen into the work wife conundrum. In fact, this article is to help you see the errors in your ways so you may either divorce your work wife or re-imagine your 40 hour a week relationship before it spills into overtime and ruins your home life. Here are a few signs that you may be in a potential fluster cluck:
- If you get that burning sensation just below your sternum right next to your heart when you see your work wife flirt with another person, you may be in too deep and it's time to pull out.
- If you don't make mention of your work wife to your real wife and never take her calls when your legal wife is around, you are keeping secrets homie and it's time for a water cooler annulment before #$%^ gets real.
- If you copy and paste during sex with your legally-recognized wife, one of you lacks the creativity to keep you mentally engaged during sex, but furthermore, it's time to log out before you accidentally right-click on the wrong name.
- Finally, if her real man shows up and you experience any of the following: she doesn't introduce you two, she doesn't look at or speak to you, he gives you the 2012 LeBron James vs. the Celtics game 6 face; you are assed out kid. Matter of fact, you better watch your back because he's on to you! It's time to ask "Big" Ted from accounting to walk you to your car at night.
I'm no expert and don't claim to speak the gospel, but one thing I will never be is summoned to my boss' office at work or at home to review the papers filed against me!
Disclaimer: Somewhere down here I'm supposed to mention that Steve is an employee of CNN and the views expressed here are his and his alone. Oddly enough, he didn't contribute to this article and it's all my thoughts and observations. While I was typing he was probably somewhere trying to keep all his work wives from finding out about each other. My next article will focus on keeping your work harem organized and in line.