A reader named Barbara who is new to my blog sent this article to me last week. The title reads, will an office 'romance' make you more successful? The article tries to make light of 'office spouses'. The final paragraph convinced me it is harmful and actually advocating for emotional affairs. It says,
There are many emotional benefits of close workplace relationships modeled after a marriage, the study said. The 'office spouses' can be more open with each other than they can with their own spouses, and there is no guilt involved," Oldman told the newspaper.
I don't know if this guy is married or not. If he is I wonder if he is ok with his wife sharing intimate details of her life with another guy instead of himself.
Certain faces are coming to my mind of folks I have counseled whose spouses had emotional affairs. The pain runs to the core of their souls. They felt hurt, betrayed, rejected, and angry.
My emotional affair partly set the stage for Ann's affair. If you don't have a first hand experience to gauge an 'office marriage' or emotional affair check out Michelle Pfeiffer's rage at Bruce Willis in The Story of Us. This will give you an idea of the impact on a spouses soul of an emotional affair.
In the quote above
this clown Oldman mentioned that 'office marriages' are guilt free. That's part of the problem. I rationalized and minimized the situation since we weren't having sex. I wasn't sneaking around and lying to Ann about where I was etc. But I was lying to myself that I wasn't hurting anything. I was giving a huge part of my heart to this other woman that was designed for my wife. Feeling some guilt in this situation is a good thing. When one is cheating on his/her spouse some guilt is appropriate.
Almost everyone will have to deal with attractions to co-workers. The attraction is not the problem. It means you are human. Not talking the situation over with your spouse can make the situation a problem. Beginning to spend coffee breaks and lunch with the one you are attracted to will make the situation a problem. Sharing deep feelings and personal thoughts will make the situation a problem. (I wrote here on how emotional affairs start.) Calling or IM'ing each other after work will make for a problem.
Here are some other tips for avoiding emotional affairs from a previous post.
Peggy Vaughn (dearpeggy.com)--Stay honest with your partner. Honesty is the trump card for avoiding affairs. Make a commitment to sharing your attractions and temptations. That helps to avoid acting on them. Dishonesty and deception cause affairs to flourish.
Kimberly Young--Stay alert for temptations. Be very careful of getting involved in the first place. Know the dangers. You can be drawn to an affair as to a drug. And once you are past a certain emotional connection, it is very hard to go in reverse. Also, beware of the lure of the internet. Emotional affairs develop quickly, in maybe a few days or weeks online, where it might take a year at the office. There is safety behind the computer screen.
Bonnie Eaker Weil--Don't flirt. That is how affairs start. Flirting is not part of an innocent friendship.
Shirley Glass--Recognize that work can be a danger zone. Don't lunch or take private coffee breaks with the same person all the time. Also, keep old flames from igniting. If you value your marriage, think twice about having lunch with one.
Frank Pittman--Value the intimacy of your marriage. Reveal as much of yourself to one another as possible. You will find it less necessary to form an intimate friendship with someone else.
Shirley Glass--Make sure your social network supports marriage. Surround yourself with happily married friends who don't believe in fooling around.
The advice above is much more honoring to your marriage than Mr. Oldman's. He is also into wine. Perhaps he had too much when he did his research and drew his conclusions in this article.