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Relationship advice: Is having a “work boyfriend” harmless or hurtful?
Having a “work boyfriend” i.e., a male colleague at the office who you always go for lunch with, meet deadlines with and confide in about office politics, sounds innocent. But, what many people don’t realize is this intimate workplace relationship can lead to
emotional infidelity and can negatively affect your romantic relationship with your significant other or husband.
Judy Librach, Life Coach and Host of
Finding Your Bliss (findingyourbliss.com), shares the cold hard facts and relationship advice about emotional infidelity, and why it is sometimes worse than physically cheating on your partner.
Relationship advice: The motivation
During the day, your partner may not have the time to hear about the latest stress-inducing thing your boss did. Or perhaps you assume your partner “just won’t get it.” That’s where a work boyfriend becomes very easy to rely on. These too-close-for-comfort work relationships are convenient. Many of us spend eight hours a day, five days a week at the office, and this other is always at your beck-and-call. Plus it feels good to flirt and dress up for someone again. It’s understandable why these situations happen, but they come at a cost.
Relationship advice: The downside
The main pitfall in having a work boyfriend is that your attention is moving away from your primary relationship. “The emotional connection is much more risky than the physical, because the emotional heart is not with your husband anymore, it’s with someone else,” says Librach. “The moment you share your heart with someone else, that’s infidelity,” she adds. When you confide with another and turn to them in times of need with work problems, or worse,
relationship problems, you develop a deeper relationship with them, which takes away from what you share with your partner. The danger lies in the fact that you start to turn to that person, when you should be saving that energy up for your mate. “You get further and further away from the comfort and the intimacy and excitement of your primary relationship, draining your own relationship,” adds Librach.
More relationship advice about an office romance and romantic relationships on the next page…
Relationship advice: Being aware
Awareness is the key to change, so if you’re involved with a work boyfriend, ask yourself how deeply satisfied you are in your personal relationship at home on a scale of one to 10. “I’m all about finding your bliss, and your relationship bliss. If you say you’re only a five ask yourself how you can transform your relationship from a five to a 10,” says Librach. Write down things that you can do and be specific about what needs to be done. Some suggestions: mini-getaways, a set
date night, having two minutes of alone time right when you get home from work, sans BlackBerry’s, etc. By being aware of what’s missing in your primary relationship and what draws you to this workplace boyfriend, you can start injecting your needs into your own relationship so you can be a 10 on the relationship satisfaction scale.
Relationship advice: Diffusing the situation
If you think you have a work boyfriend, or are heading in that direction, it’s important to diffuse the situation. Librach suggests having a picture of your significant other framed in your office so there’s a constant reminder of this significant person in your life. She also suggests going for a group lunch instead of a one-on-one lunch, to avoid having your energy and attention solely on him, not engaging in hugging, kissing or drinks with member of the opposite sex who you work with. “If you an urge to confide with someone at work, find a female friend to share with,” says Librach matter-of-factly. That way, there’s no grey area to worry about and you are not tempted to blur the work/relationship line.