The Work Wife

What she wore: White tee, teal capri pants, teal sparkly flip flops.  I’m on the road AGAIN.

My good friend Cat and I have recently added another question to the usual catch-up.  We’ve got the usual how are you doing, how’s the husband, how are your parents, and now we always ask “how’s the work-wife?”


I touched on this once when I commented on DM’s space, but for those of you who don’t know, a “work-wife” is a person that you work with, of the opposite sex, with whom you develop a close relationship.  It’s a strange situation.   Day after day, through pimples and bad hair days, the loss of loved ones, whatever, the work spouse is there. 


So, having acknowledged that the work-spouse does, in fact, exist I was intrigued when I saw an MSN video clip on the very subject.  The video purported to give advice on how to handle office relationships “appropriately.”  Well, I’m new to whole working-with-a-man thing, so I’m eager to watch this little video.  I’m pretty sure that it’s not going to condone borrowing money and throwing cap erasers at your colleagues.  Not that I would ever do that.  The video was basically a bunch of early-morning crap, but at the end it cautioned against having “an emotional affair.”  I’d never heard of this (probably because I don’t have time to watch TV in the morning—I’m too busy running around WAY after I should have left trying to find a certain pair of shoes).  I googled “emotional affair” on the internet and found an exciting quiz you can take on this topic provided by Dr. Shirley Glass.  I, like any girl raised in the Age of Cosmo was eager to take this quiz.  Was the quiz a pile of crap?  You betcha, so I’ll share it with you here.  I won’t reprint the whole thing—just my personal favorites.  If you want to read the whole deal than go to her website. 


OK, When I wrote this next part it was supposed to be funny, but I don’t think anyone got that.  Sorry.


  1. Do you confide more to your friend than to your partner about how your day went?  To the extent that my day is actually taking place in front of this person, yes.  Confide?  I’m not so sure—does “they’re having sloppy Joes in the cafeteria” count?  I don’t think I mentioned that to the Hub.
  2. Do you discuss negative feelings or intimate details about your marriage with your friend but not with your partner?  Does writing about your husband’s farts on the internet count?  I cc’d him a copy of the entry, so I think I’m in the clear on this one too.
  3. Would you feel comfortable if your partner heard your conversation with your friend? AND Would you feel comfortable if your partner saw a videotape of your meetings?  My husband is more than welcome to hear me whisper, “can you believe she’s wearing that?” or the even more scintillating, “I can’t WAIT to teach these kids integers next year—it’s going to be AWESOME” (I realize that I am a complete dork).  Would I want a video tape?  Not really, but that’s because no one needs to see themselves yelling at children, arguing with children, and dragging children down to the principal’s office.  Not that I would ever do that. 
  4. Do you and your friend touch differently when you’re alone than in front of others?  Uh, I’m not touching anybody at work.  That just seems a little weird. 
  5. Are you in love with your friend? What kind of pile of crap is this quiz?—if I am in LOVE with my friend then clearly I don’t need this quiz.  This is really the only question needed.  Or, if you’re at this point and you need a quiz to help you figure things out then you need more help than a dopey website can provide. 


So, I guess I’m in the clear.  Here’s my two cents on the work-spouse.  I’d stay far, far away if the other person is single or makes sexual innuendos.  That’s a disaster waiting to happen.  Remember that your work-friends are getting paid to be there—your real spouse isn’t.  And most importantly, who’s gonna bring you chicken soup when you’re throwing up sick? 



I’m traveling today, so it may take me a little bit longer to get back with everyone, but I’ll be around–no worries.


This quiz by Shirley P. Glass was first printed in USA Today (June 20, 1988) in an article by Karen Peterson, "When platonic relationships get too close for comfort," p. 6D.

About takedeux

In one summer I had a baby who was hospitalized for five weeks, quit my job, and moved back to my hometown. This blog is about starting over.
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36 Responses to The Work Wife

  1. Unknown says:

    LOL!! OH boy, my "work-wife" is a girl…LMFAO…well we don\’t touch or anything but talk about kids, have gone through deaths, etc…
    We don\’t touch, or kiss and stuff, but if I\’m feeling crappy she buys me candy bars…she also makes awesome posole\’ when I\’m sick….lol.
    Does this count?!?!
    HIM is the best when I\’m sick…sigh.

  2. Sheryl-Ann says:

    Hey KM, after reading your entry I thought, "I don\’t have a partner or a work spouse." Sad, isn\’t it (smile)?  I am convinced that a PhD program totally zaps any sort of social life.  Oh well……..
    Travel safely and take care.

  3. Stacy says:

    That is a great term for the person that I work side by side with everyday.  Wether it is male or female.  Can you have more that one work-spouse?  It is funny though how you can gravitate towards one person in your workplace that is kinda like a second spouse (of any gender).  I do seem to always become quick close friends with someone at my work place. I have been laid off 2x\’s in the last 3 years so I haven\’t really had a work-spouse in a while.  I do have one now and I can remember two several years ago.  One an older gentleman at a place I was at for 5 years and one an older woman where I worked for 3 years.  My current work-spouse is an older gentleman.  I confide a lot in him, things I wouldn\’t tell my other co-workers, but nothing that I wouldn\’t tell my hubby.

  4. Dawn says:

    hadn\’t been here in a couple of days…wow things have changed.  It looks great. 
    Since I\’m behind
    1.) I comment on blogs when the mood strikes or sometimes just to let them know I was there and paying attention.
    2.) I blog about really boring things then feel bad about it later…..but hey everyonce in awhile I blog about something kinda funny.
    3.) I love it when you\’re cotroversial…..
    4.) My work wife is also a girl….I had never thought of her that way until I read your blog and yep she\’s it.
     Anyway that\’s about it…..

  5. Jaysey says:

    That quiz is dumb.  It gets the obvious stamp. 

  6. Karla says:

    Can you only have a work spouse if you\’re married and/or in a monogamous relationship? There is something to be said for emotional affairs. I think in the normal world it\’s called having a crush on someone other than your significant other. But is it only an affair if it\’s reciprocal? Or if it starts to interfere with your regular relationship? Who knows? Basically, I think if you start to feel guilty and like the relationship is inappropriate, chances are that it probably is.

    Quizzes are always dumb, yet I always find myself doing them. Why is that? Hope your day is going fabulously.

  7. Jo says:

    LOL, I\’ve had several work-spouses, geez now I feel even worse that I\’m on the second marriage! Is it me?
    My last job was the best, it was really like high school clicks and we were all adults from 27 to about 60. There were different people you talked to about different things I guess. One man in the office had 5 kids and still madly in love with his wife, was a great father, provider and friend. I would ask his opinion on things dealing with kids and the hubby. Sometimes it was nice to get a man\’s opinion. The girls would always get together and talk about things, that\’s how women are I think. It was the "Oh God she looks like she\’s wearing a sausage casing" conversations to the "I can\’t stand my Hubby and the kids are driving me crazy". Sometimes it was concern for the ailing parent or pet or child.  Think about it, we all had the spouse relationships all our lives, while we were in school, at camp, girl scouts etc. I think different people/personalities for different types of relationships is a good and natural thing. It\’s when you allow it to go to far that\’s the problem.
    I started a new job in April at a University in my town. I have yet to really have a close relationship with anyone in my office, but I have already asked advise on my children and programs for the summer, and checked into classes for myself for the fall. Am I starting the  cycle again?  

  8. Toni says:

    WHOA! What happened? Less than a week goes by and you\’ve changed everything I\’ve come to know as the Barnyard???
    I, of course, love it–the banner, the background color…event the controversial subject matter.
    My feeling on this quiz is, if you feel like you need to take it, there\’s more than likely a problem. That being said, though, there are just so many people that let friendships like this get out of hand, or it sneaks up on them. Caleb and I have both lost relationships to situations like this, and now we say that there should be no one closer to us than we are to each other. Does that make sense? Because it was kind of hard to put into words.
      Anyhow, hope your trip is going great. Where are you travelling to this time?

  9. Betsy says:

    My work spouse left me in March.  I haven\’t been the same since he left.  There is no one to get a 3 o\’clock diet coke with any more.  I miss him.  But still- I think I passed the quiz!   I think my work spouse just used me to be friends with my real spouse anyway!

  10. Mrsbrown2k1 says:

    My DH had a work-wife and everyone in his office knew about it.  She was  great friend to him and me as well.  We moved out of state last year but we still talk to her and her husband often.  They\’ll be friends for life.  I wish i had a work-husband…that would be nice. 
    Your new look is coming together nicely!
    tam in Texas

  11. Unknown says:

    No work-wife here.  Do the kitties count?  They are always around while I\’m here with the boys.  THey also here how "my day" is or isn\’t going!

  12. Nooner™ says:

    This is hysterical KM. But, I ain\’t taking the quiz. I\’ll bare my soul to a great online friend before I say a peep to anyone at my office.
    Hey, the new look of your site is awesome! Did you hire a Set Designer? I\’m soooo jealous 😉 I\’d pay big bucks for this look to my quirky site .. lol. Oh, and "The Barnyard" thingie at the top is way kewl.
    Get your pics in soon .. I\’m announcing an inaugural "Online Mate of the Month" voting thingie shortly for the various Photo Album pics.

  13. KEL says:

    Emotional affair, I\’ve heard of that….work-wife, that is a new one.  Interesting way to put it, I guess I\’ve had one of those but I never thought of it like that.  Sometimes the people that we spend majority of our day with become very good friends and very good ears…truth is though that while I might have a confidant at work, nothing can replace the man/wife at home.

  14. Sue says:

    Dangit!  I seem to miss out on all the good stuff!  How do I get a work-wife if I\’m a stay at home mom????  The UPS guy?  Life just ain\’t going my way these days!
    Happy travelling!
    : ) Sue

  15. Karen says:

    I don\’t have this either… is it because I\’m single, or as my mom and her husband like to say, because I\’m bitter and emotionally unavailable?  Actually at work, I have one very good friend, and the person I work most closely with mostly talks about sports and alcohol.  We have a good working relationship, but nothing too friendly.
    Hope your week\’s going well!
    (BTW your simplification of your space has inspired me to make some changes on mine… )
    Take care!

  16. Sue says:

    Maybe the Kansas pic, but that is one scary Jayhawk!  LOL.  I need to take a pic of a good one.  Didn\’t find one today that also had good background.  I brought lil sis around to visit your space and show her around.  She is considering starting up and as the mommy of \’my bosses\’ that girl has material!  She loved your banner! 
    : ) sue

  17. Tracy says:

    Haha that quiz was funny.  I don\’t have a "work-wife" but I have thought about the fact that I spend a LOT of time with these people at work.  Kind of funny if you think about it, you see work people 5 days a week, all day, all year, that is more often then you see most people; the only exclusion is I suppose spouse/kids that you see in the am/pm and weekends.  Phew, maybe that is why some people here get on my nerves so much, LOL! 

  18. Nadine says:

      I get asked a lot if I am the Vet\’s wife…..a lot of places are run by the pair and really this is no exception but I am not the wife. I wonder sometimes if he and I are too close. More close than my hubby likes or his wife but still work in a happy environment.

  19. Unknown says:

    We are going to take over Him\’s mom\’s house in Iowa on Monday…she\’ll be gone until Thursday night. She has this beautiful old old home, I\’m really looking forward to it, HIM\’s thinking I\’ll be bored…lol we\’ll see. He said the fireworks in Cedar Rapids are also really something to see, and not as much of a hassle as Chicago. We\’re taking the GIRL and the BOY is going to New Orleans. We may even be taking a new dog, did I tell you? I fell in love with a pound puppy…she\’s going to meet HIM on Sat. and if he gives his "rubber stamp" we\’re keeping her! Lots of NEW things going on!!! (wink) I\’ll try to remember to take some pics…
    What are you doing for the holiday? I hope you have a good time…and erm…NO FALLING DOWN!! (Well at least where they can snap your picture!!!!!)

  20. Dream I Fly says:

    Good morning!! I\’m taking "Work-Wife" for my new Phrases List – it is so appropriate! And I didn\’t realize it but yes, I have one too – the tech next door, since our offices are next to each other we even holler out, are you in there? I need you! But I don\’t say anything to him that I would say to MyHoney. Now what I tell my GrrlFrenz is another thing…. 😉
    MizAngie had a heap of phrases for me – and most are the ones we ALL use – Taco Hell, Wally World, Micky D\’s…. funny how your brain freezes when you\’re trying to think of things.

  21. Dream I Fly says:

    that was supposed to be – I don\’t say anything to him that I wouldN\’T say to MyHoney….
    now I have to wonder Freudian Slip?????  hmmmmm……..

  22. Darcy says:

    Hey girl…
    No work-wife for me… There are only two of us and sometimes I want to run away… what\’s THAT called?
    Love the new look!

  23. Patricia says:

    Well  Hello~!
    I agree with the plastic shoes..It is gross. She wore them yesterday too! I could not help but laugh. In causual shopping conversation about clothes, sizes and prices I asked what stores she likes to shop at. So..I think I have the plastic shoe store narrowed down to Target or Chico\’s.
    I like your "work wife" idea. Gosh..I never looked at it that way!\’s kind of true. I have employees here..all men that I am close with. I do not divulge the intimate details of my life but we all talk about our days, nights, weekends, vacations, stress at work and Yes..sometimes relationship problems. I even help the boys at times pick gifts for their wives or girlfriends birthdays, christmas etc…
    I will have to work a little at getting caught up on your blog. I look forward to reading your entries!

  24. Sandy says:

    I do not have a work-wife. But I may soon.  The new employee starts July 5th.  Time will tell!

  25. Unknown says:

    i had a work spouse. she turned into my lover, and that nearly ended my marriage.   We became friends, enjoyed each other\’s sense of humour, it was a safe relationship.  She was hot and single and about my age, i was and still am married and soon the firendship turned to a lunch when i was in town for business, small discussions of a personal nature and soon she was saying things like "how come all the good guys like you are taken?" and soon i was saying "ii\’m shocked that a gal like you with everything going for you has any trouble attracting a good hearted man" and that turned to "why can\’t my wife be more like you?" and that lead to "but your wife is beautiful and you have 3 beautiful kids….you must have a great sex life, etc" and that lead to me saying "oh, that\’s a discussion better done over martini\’s" and soon we were emailing funnies every day and locked in an emotional affair. 
    Once you have an emotional affair, having a physcal affair is not only easy but it\’s logical and natural.  It\’s not even hard to justify to yourself despite the fact that it goes against everythig you\’ve been brought up to believe and hold as a value… ya, it\’s a dumb quiz….but if you\’ve had an emotional affair you might actually relate to that more closely. 
    And thanks for checking in on me….i\’m currently in Calgary in a hotel….the location of my first liason with the other woman.  it\’s hard being here to be honest, but i\’m keeping the wings out of the trees for now.  I head for home tomorrow after a golf tournament and back to my less tormented life at home.
    Hope you\’re well and hope you have a nice holiday on the redneck Riviera.  have an ice cold Hamm\’s and think of me.

  26. barnyardmama says:

       I think it\’s awesome that you were willing to share that story.  Too often people blur the lines of friendship and romance.  You\’ve simply stated how wrong those types of things can go.  I hope you enjoy your trip as much as you can.

  27. Unknown says:

    new story from that trip…i\’ll post it shortly.

  28. Gary says:

    I\’d never heard the term "work wife", but after reading the description I\’d have to say yes…I think I do. There is a gal in the office that I share alot of personal details with, including things I wouldn\’t tell the partner, plus have that afternoon coke with or whatever. I think everyone needs someone other than their spouse to talk to on occasion, and my "main" friends are now so far away that phone conversations can\’t cover everything. And, yes, this work friend also relates personal matters of her own to me. It helps that we\’re the only "liberals" in this hotbed of conservatism. Still,I don\’t think we have an "emotional" relationship, just two good friends talking about their respective concerns in life. And the fact that she\’s gay keeps any of that nasty "sexual tension" from entering the relationship.

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