I’m a Work Wife

Has anyone ever truly answered the question of whether or not men and women can be just friends? No I’m serious, why aren’t we funding this people?

The answer I’ve been given in the past is that we’re socialized to see men as potential mates so our brains and bodies automatically respond in ways that they shouldn’t, even if you consciously don’t have any romantic feelings towards them. When all other answers fail, blame society.

But I’m asking about the specifics. Are there certain personality types that put us into co-dependence mode when we’re working with the opposite sex? Are we all just barely restrained horn dogs? Are instincts truly just to blame?

I’m just asking for a friend…

After six months of working with the same person 3-5 times a week, I’ve found myself in a work marriage. It’s crept up on me rather unexpectedly and I’m still not sure how exactly it’s come about. Somehow, hours and hours of monotonous retail life and joking around has formed quite a nice bond that makes surviving work (marginally) easier.

What’s a work marriage you ask? It’s something that occurs when two people who normally would not have anything to do with each other are forced to spend far too much time together. Small talk starts to evolve with a subtle shift. Then one day you find yourself receiving a barrage of personal information after they’ve fought with their spouse and the floodgates open. You learn about their troubled childhood, the struggles they’ve overcome and it’s a damn miracle they’re standing on their own two feet in front of you. Then you start sharing details about your days, complaining about the inconveniences of life. Once the hopes and dreams are out, all bets are off.

Y’all are work-married.

The great thing about a work marriage is that there’s boundaries. You get to enjoy a great closely bonded friendship that has pre-determined limits. As soon as you clock out, you both go back to your own lives with your own loved ones. The banter, play-fighting, and bonding stays behind till the next shift.

It’s a confusing relationship to describe as it’s devoid of any of the drama attached to a real romantic relationship. It’s a step up but at the same time, a step below a normal friendship which may just mean it’s lateral. For example, as a work wife I’m completely within my right to nag about his annoying habits, just as he can tell me when I’m having a bad hair day. I can finish the sentences he takes too long to say and he can tell me when I need an attitude adjustment. Unlike a real friendship, it’s restricted to the confines of work. A work marriage is its own little ecosystem, complete with a fragile balance. A tip in the scales could cause problems for everyone involved, including significant others.

Though we get along quite well, I could never ever see anything more come out of the relationship. We’re happy with its platonic status and will continue to enjoy each other’s company while (kind of) doing our jobs.

So that leaves my question: Why do people find themselves in work marriages? What is it about the proximity of two people working closely together that fosters such companionship? Why are we so eager to couple up in every situation?

These are the scholarly articles and case studies I’d rather be reading about than influenza vaccination policies in healthcare providers.

It’s exam time guys.

– S.

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5 thoughts on “I’m a Work Wife

  1. Loved this, as I have been thinking about the exact same thing the other day as well. I have met a really nice guy, I would actually enjoy dating now that I think of it, BUT I would have never gotten to know him if it wasn’t for our work-relationship as he is way too young. Oh man, life is weird sometimes, right?


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