Sex on the Desk And Other Work Mistakes When You are Married to Your Colleague

Despite some corporations’ ban on dating your colleagues or supervisees or boss, work is still one of the top places to meet your future partner. In fact, many people spend far more time at the office than at home. These office mates and supervisors have seen you stressed out, anxious, deflated and elated—in other words, at your best and worst. Soon, you establish a professional and emotional comfort zone with a man. You witness each other’s moods and habits and learn about your shared values, goals and personality styles. At your working lunches and dinners, you talk about more than your latest projects.

And then one day—BOOM!—you find you are in love with each other. Great, you think. You understand each other’s worlds and schedules and just seem to fit together. Even other colleagues notice. So you marry and discover that maintaining a separation between work and private issues is not so easy in the office. Here are the top mistakes that many women make at work and how and why to avoid them.

  1. Sex on the desk. Aside from the obvious issues of someone breaking in on you—or breaking something, you don’t want to harbor the secret. Body language, laughing, blushing and other non-verbal cues have lives of their own, and the last thing you want to be doing is struggling to hold back a smirk when your boss sits on the corner of the very same desk that you and your husband initiated the night before. One of my clients, for example, was horror-struck to find that her husband’s underwear was poking out from under her desk. Save your wild times for the back seat of your car or living room floor.
  2. Personal fights at the office. Draw a line in the invisible sand between work and home. Make a pact with your partner that neither of you will resolve personal issues at work. Don’t barrage each other with text messages, emails or phone messages about you said-he said. And never turn your assistants into message-takers or messengers. The best approach is not to go to bed angry and set a time after work for the two of you to talk.
  3. Tell-alls to colleagues. Complaining about your partner to trusted work friends is appealing, in part, because they don’t usually have to spend time with him. You can cry your heart out, let out steam or tell a funny story about your spouse. The social and emotional distance between you, your partner and your colleagues remains comfortably wide. When your husband, however, is now part of the work team or company, then you have traded confidants for gossip mavens. The distance has been breached, and now every time your partner attends a meeting with you, calls or stops by your desk, the other people in the office can silently snicker because they know that he talks baby-talk, has a crush on Angelina Jolie and loves the chick flicks on the “Lifetime Movie Channel.” Being married to a co-worker and especially the boss requires you to restrict your personal comments and to maintain vigilance about crossing that invisible boundary between private and work behaviors.
  4. Supervision of spouses. Giving up unequal work relationships can be difficult, particularly in small businesses with limited options of other people. Many couples think they can manage this issue, and some do, but, in general find someone else to be supervisee or supervisor. Out-source the relationship, if necessary, to a respected mentor. Closeness is wonderful but emotional cabin fever can set in when your every moment is spent working with your partner.
  5. Two peas in a pod. Mom-and-Pop businesses can be terrific partnerships, breeding grounds for arguments and abuse—or both. Put some physical space between you and your spouse. Delegate and delineate tasks so that you are not “in each other’s face.” You don’t want to end the day feeling as though you want to get away from each other and have nowhere to go!

This article first appeared in my Work and Life Balance column in

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Author's Bio: 

LeslieBeth Wish is a Psychologist, Clinical Social Worker and author who is nationally recognized for her contributions to women, love, relationships, family, career, workplace, and organizations.

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