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8 Telltale Signs You Have a Work Spouse

By Lori Garcia |

I recently left a corporate job where I had a “work spouse”. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, a work spouse is a co-worker of the opposite sex with whom you’ve developed a close platonic relationship.

According to’s 2011 Office Romance Survey Results, 28% of those surveyed admitted to having a work spouse.

As a 28%er, I feel the need to explain that “Andy” and I were nothing more than great friends who shared a joint distaste for office politics and our company’s cafeteria. We shared laughs, acted as each other’s support system, and in a time when making it through another workday was nothing short of survival, Andy made it possible – as a friend, and only a friend.

Think you may have a work spouse? Check out these 8 telltale signs of workplace matrimony after the jump!

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8 Signs You Have a Work Spouse

You're always together

As work besties you remain inseparable during lunches, breaks, and even emergency fire drills. (And that's only when you're not chatting on the phone, emailing, and IMing.)
Image credit: Shutterstock

While work spouse relationships have the ability to make work more enjoyable, there is a potential downside. CNN reported that in a 2009 CareerBuilder survey, 20% of participants said their spouse was jealous of their work spouse relationship.

For information on managing a work spouse relationship, check out WebMD’s The Office Spouse: Rules of Engagement.

What are your thoughts on work spouses?

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About Lori Garcia


Lori Garcia

Lori Garcia is a writer and mother of two living and loving in Southern California. When she's not fussing with her bangs, you can find her shaking her groove thing on her personal blog, Mommyfriend where she almost never combines true tales of motherhood and mayhem with her degree in child development. Read bio and latest posts → Read Lori's latest posts →

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5 thoughts on “8 Telltale Signs You Have a Work Spouse

  1. bob says:

    This characterization, and the one calling close male-male relationship ‘bromances’ are both just mean-spirited and insulting ways to deride and undermine mutually-beneficial platonic relationships, by implying that they are somehow quasi-sexual at their root.

  2. Zach Rosenberg says:

    I have to say, it’s a bad idea to call a coworker your “work spouse.” Why can’t they just be a friend? This reinforces the idea that men and women can’t be friends without some sort of “other level”. As well, this is a great way to panic your spouse, who already is worried (even if just casually) that you’re off at work kissing everyone in the office. Calling a coworker a “spouse” just presumes larger involvement than friendship and can cause feelings of jealousy by your REAL spouse at home. You already spend more time at work than home – why belittle your spouse by declaring that you now have their replacement/stand-in at the office? I realize you probably think I’m being too serious about a funny little way of referring to a coworker – but language is a serious thing, and spouses are important. While I enjoy a good office friendship, no one is on the level of my wife – not even if it’s just part of the term that’s shared.

  3. annie says:

    Ok maybe I am just a jealous freak, but it seems like the only thing missing in this relationship is the sex. There is a level of intimacy that is skirting with danger. I would feel very uncomfortable if my husband said he had an opposite sex work spouse. Maybe that’s my insecurity talking, but a vast majority of affairs begin in the work place. Just saying.

  4. jros mom says:

    I’ve got a long-term work spouse. My husband has one too. She’s gay, which reinforces the idea that a Work Spouse is not a threat to the Home Spouse. A sexual relationship with a Work Spouse is called an affair. Whatevs. Neither of us (actual spouses) are all that interested in the gossip & politics and inane details of the workplace of the other. Getting it out with someone who knows WTF your are talking about is far healthier for the home relationship than bringing your work baggage home.

  5. Stephanie says:

    I agree with Annie!

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