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Saturday, January 28, 2023

WFH: The Death of the 'Work Spouse'

The "Work Wife", and "Work Spouse" has been around since the '30s. The Pre-Covid office environment was a petri dish for interpersonal relationships - the label recognizes, if not legitimizes, a third-party 9-5 relationship.

The phrase, the idea, is an acceptable, even encouraged, practice of the work-in-a-cube(plantation) status quo. But, with the advent of #WFH, it's worth questioning whether having a work spouse and a home spouse is a good thing.

Consider this, #WFH diminishes the opportunities for:

  • 12 hours with somebody other than your wife, husband, or significant other.
  • Latenight PowerPoint brainstorming meetings
  • Working lunches
  • Post-meeting cocktails
WFH also impacts:
  • Business trips, out-of-town conferences.
  • After-hour team-building events
  • Christmas parties
  • Client dinners
The fear of Covid is changing everything from business to commerce, religion, politics, and personal relationships. One potential benefit of #WFH could be a decrease in the number of divorces. Studies have shown that WFH can lead to better work-life balance, which can in turn lead to stronger relationships.

However, this issue goes deeper than just sharing space with the opposite sex. For example, one male worker said regarding his work spouse,

'I don't like showing vulnerabilities to my real wife in case it makes her respect me less.'

This base insecurity strikes at the core of most affairs; fear of being judged by the person one loves is a powerful motivator to keep "bad news" off the significant other's plate. So the issue is shared with a non-romantic, third party, not the significant other leading to mistrust, and emotional connections outside the relationship.

To mitigate this issue, couples can make an effort to maintain open communication and trust despite the challenges of WFH. It's important to set boundaries, schedule regular check-ins, and make sure to prioritize time together as a couple. By actively working to strengthen the relationship, couples can weather the challenges of WFH and come out stronger on the other side.

WFH has the potential to change the dynamics of interpersonal relationships, but with open communication and effort, couples can maintain strong, healthy relationships despite the challenges.

Inspiration, here.

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