It's the first week of lockdown, maybe your significant other isn't exactly making it easy for you (or you're single), plus the stress of being home is already wearing you down.
But you're not too worried because there is someone who could uplift your mood if you can get your partner out of the room long enough for an 'innocent' video chat with him. If that platonic someone is your work husband, then you need to read on.
You do know it's not all that innocent, right?
Well, if you're thinking about him while you're not at work and should ideally be spending time with your family, you might be walking on slippery ground.
A work husband is someone you can and do confide in about everything work-related, from how you felt about your manager's email to how unprofessional a particular colleague was in a meeting.
Your relationship is strictly platonic (or rather, that's how it should be).
This person is your number one ally and advisor at work—the person you can laugh with or be stressed out with, have politically incorrect conversations with, and give honest opinions to. He was there when you got your first promotion and was also there when you were anxious over a presentation.
While you share every major milestone, sentimental moments, and vulnerability with your significant other at home, your work other-half goes through all of those work-related things with you, too.
However, there are boundaries and lines you can't cross with your work husband.
Here is how I kept my relationship with my work husband strictly professional:
1 - We always kept our office doors open when working together. This dispelled any unwelcome rumours or assumptions.
2 - We ensured we didn't share personal information and details of our real-life relationships.
3 - We kept the lines of communication open between other co-workers and our relationship so that our relationship was not interpreted as exclusive.
4 - We ensured we are never alone unless absolutely necessary. We limited meals, meetings, and business travel.
5 - We had a clear and open communication about our platonic relationship, and he even introduced me to his partner.
6 - We set boundaries by not calling or texting each other after working hours unless we were working on a project together. We also avoided talking about each other to partners home.
Keeping your relationship platonic is not just about the physical aspect - it is also about avoiding becoming emotionally attached.
Even though you don't cross the physical line, it tends to be easy to pass the emotional one. To avoid crossing either of the lines, we had a clear rule.
We distanced ourselves from becoming emotionally involved in matters that were not necessarily work-related and issues that involved our partners.
It's easy to confide in your work partner on personal issues, but this could lead to developing feelings for him/her. So we avoided private meetups that included alcohol, which is disinhibiting and can lead to the behaviour you would otherwise keep in check. If you do decide to get dinner, invite your partner along.
Here's a checklist to evaluate your relationship with your work spouse:
1 - If you have a work husband and find yourself speaking to him regularly, especially about non-related work agendas, you might have crossed the line.
2 - If you find yourself complaining about all the things your significant other is doing wrong, you've already blurred the boundaries.
3 - If you find yourself talking to your work husband about things you're actively hiding from your significant other, you're not setting ethical boundaries, and you're dishonest.
4 - If you start to hide how often you're talking to, texting or hanging out with your work husband from your friends, family, or partner, you're in too deep.
5 - If you find yourself eager to hang out with him time and again, or want to do anything that will deepen the emotional connection in general, it's pretty obvious that you see him more than a colleague or friend.
6 - If you're reluctant to share anything you do or say with your spouse, even if it seems innocent, you have to ask yourself why.
7 - Lastly, if you have an urge to speak to him while you're on lockdown on matters that are not related to work because your partner is not filling the gap, you might be in for an emotional rollercoaster.
You can test yourself with one specific question: 'If you were single, is this the type of person you would want to be with?'
If the answer is yes, that's a red flag.
Do you have a work husband? Tell us about your relationship here.