Your husband could be being too friendly with a coworker for many reasons ranging from wanting to make them feel welcome in the workplace to having romantic feelings for them. As their spouse, you need to determine where the friendliness comes from – and establish where and how to draw the line.
In a culture where having a ‘work wife’ is normal and acceptable, it’s incredibly important that professional-personal boundaries are set in place and lines are drawn – and understood. Where can spouses draw the line when their husband is too friendly with a coworker? And what does this mean to begin with?
Given the fact that 83% of affairs are said to start in the workplace, it’s good to keep your head firmly on your shoulders when this topic comes up. Let’s find out more about what over-friendliness in the workplace means, when it’s a problem, and how to address it.
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At What Point Does ‘Friendly’ Become ‘Too Friendly’?
Before we dive right in, it’s important to understand what ‘too friendly’ means and why this may be an issue for you. After all, to some people, it’s perfectly acceptable to hug a colleague, while other people would report such an occurrence to their HR manager immediately.
To figure out what ‘too friendly’ means, there are three lines of thinking you should follow. Ask yourself the following questions to help you define what ‘too friendly’ is and decide if your husband falls into this category.
1. Who is Your Husband?
Firstly, you know your husband, and you know what his typical level of friendliness is towards the people he works with. Does the way he treats this specific coworker differ from the way he treats his other colleagues?
2. Who is His Coworker?
Secondly, does your issue have more to do with the coworker and less to do with your husband? If the coworker is attractive, or you feel that they have feelings for your husband, perhaps your concern around your husband’s level of friendliness toward the coworker stems from your own insecurities.
3. What Makes You Think Your Husband is Too Friendly?
Thirdly, what does ‘too friendly’ mean to you? Does being ‘too friendly’ include your husband:
- Staying late at work to assist his coworker with their work or help them meet deadlines
- Being too familiar with aspects of his coworker’s personal life (such as knowing intimate details about their social life, family members, or friends)
- Spending time with his coworker outside of the office
- Spending time with his coworker outside of working hours
- Physically being affectionate to his coworker in the form of hugs, hand-squeezes, or kisses on the cheek
- Behave in a way that makes you uncomfortable when he’s around his coworker
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What Does It Mean If Your Husband Is Over-Friendly With A Coworker?
Once you’ve established that your husband is indeed ‘too friendly,’ it’s time to find out why. There are many possible reasons behind your husband’s over-friendliness to his coworker, ranging from perfectly innocent to a cause for serious concern.
On the innocent side of the scale, the coworker could be new to the company and struggling to find their feet. Your husband may be being over-friendly to them in order to help them feel welcome at the company.
In such cases, your husband could simply be being a good person. Their boss or superior could have even asked them to go out of their way to make the newbie feel welcome.
On the cause for concern side of the scale, your husband could have feelings for his coworker – or he could even be having an affair. In such cases, your husband could be searching for something in the office that he isn’t getting from home.
Since the above is not an allegation that should be made lightly, your husband’s being ‘too friendly’ should only be considered as a sign of infidelity when it’s in conjunction with other signs such as:
- You’ve noticed an increase in his spending and he always seems to have cash on him
- He has put a password on his phone without telling you
- He often accuses you of cheating
- His sexual behavior and technique has noticeably changed
- He seems to be putting more effort into his appearance, health, and hygiene
Unfortunately, no article will be able to tell you on which side of the scale your husband’s over-friendliness lies. This is because the people who write these articles don’t know your husband. You do.
How To Address The Issue of Over-Friendly Coworkers
Here’s the deal: your husband is allowed to have a life at work, and that life can involve having relationships with his coworkers. In fact, it’s encouraged. But here’s the fine print: anything that makes you, his spouse, feel uncomfortable warrants a conversation.
The very first – and often only – thing you need to do is talk to your husband about it. When you’re having the conversation, be sure to do the following:
- Explain why his level of friendliness towards his coworker makes you feel uncomfortable and be as specific as possible (if you can reference particular events as examples, even better!)
- Give him a chance to explain why he is overly friendly to his coworker. He may have a very good reason – or none at all, as in he never even noticed he was acting too friendly!
- Together, come up with a strategy that will help resolve the situation without causing any issues for your husband at work.
Because this is a coworker we’re talking about and not a friend or family member, oftentimes, your husband will not be able to remove them from his life completely. In all likelihood, he will still have to see, engage, and sometimes even collaborate with them at work.
If the overfriendliness is serious, and the coworker has acted inappropriately towards your husband, he should consider reporting the matter to his HR department and let them handle it.
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His coworker might be his ‘work wife’, but you’re his actual wife, and that holds much more weight. Find out why your husband is so friendly to his coworker, have an open conversation with him, and choose the best way to address the issue before further damage is done.