Adam Dupuis's picture

When She Wants To Be Your Work Wife & You Don't Want It

I’ve had some great work wives in the past.  The best part of having a work wife is that the relationship just happens.  Neither party really is looking for a work wedding, but when the attraction and symbiosis is undeniable, it just clicks and a partnership is born.  Here’s raising a glass to G…  and B…, two great ex work wives that will always be at the top of my master list of great friendships/relationships. 

Just recently, I started a new job at a different institution of higher education.  This unfortunately caused me to leave one great work wife behind at a job I didn’t really care for one bit.  With B, the connection happened almost instantaneously, but was strengthened when we learned we had so many things in common, enjoying Harry Potter, Whiskey, theme parks, and on and on.  With G, my first work wife, the connection was over food, travel, and a contempt for other people we worked with.  It may have also been that the first time I heard G’s voice was when she was standing in the middle of the communal space at our Catholic higher education office and exclaimed,” Well doesn’t that just suck donkey dick!” Yeah, she had me at … well, anyway.

Back to my new job. I made the mistake last week of hearing a conversation on the other side of the cubicle wall. It was about ordering lunch and I had not packed any food for the day.  I was not staying at home for the next couple of days so I was unable to bring my usual salad from home.  After I heard the ordering process commence, I jutted in and added myself to the process.

Who knew, this would be something I would regret.  Now mind you D, the coworker I share a wall with, is a very nice and bubbly person.  D’s inviting and helps others and has often let her potty mouth be heard.  Sounds good on paper, but I wasn’t about to put a ring on it.  There wasn’t that initial connection, feeling, mesh.

D and I walked to pick up lunch that day and brought it back to our own desks to enjoy.  She was sweet on me in a nice friendly way, but she said a couple of things that I cannot directly quote that made me think a work marriage proposal was soon coming.  They were like, you’re my new work buddy, we’re going to get along just fine, and what not.  Red flags? They felt like it.

The next day, the girls in our cubicle forest were chatting and kidding about D and I going to lunch together, that we were too good for them to be asked to go to lunch with us, that we would be doing lunch together all the time without little ol’ them.  I unfortunately did not bring lunch again that day and was confronted about it.  I agreed to walk to lunch with D again, but another worker went with us. 

When a work marriage happens and it’s right, it’s great.  There’s no real thought process that has to happen; there’s comfort and symbiosis.  At times, my work wives have been better friends than my gay friends.

The last thing I didn’t want to do was to work at NOT having a work wife at this new job, but I needed to nip this budding nuptial in the bud and fast.  Luckily, I am salary and D is hourly, therefore, that second day of lunch with her, I had to grab my food and return to the office while she had the full hour to sit down at the deli and eat lunch with the other coworker.

Walking back to the office and enjoying my lunch by myself, I was thinking this was the beginning of the end of the courtship. Unfortunately, my post lunch work was interrupted by crumpled up post it notes being jettisoned over the shared cubicle wall with messages like … how was your lunch, did you enjoy your food, I’m back, why aren’t you responding.  It felt so middle school crush like and I didn’t know how to respond. Luckily someone came over into my cubicle and started chatting about work and the notes stopped.

That night, I was very happy to return to my home for it allowed me to make my salad for next day’s lunch.  At about 12:30, she rounded the corner to my cubicle and saw me enjoying my salad.  “Oh, you brought lunch,” she said sadly.  I informed her that I would be bringing my lunch from now on and the going out to lunch was just a glitch and wouldn’t really happen anymore.

No more over-the-wall notes have happened, but she does make it a point to come over daily when she first arrives and says a hello in a very friendly fashion. 

A work wedding needs both parties to agree on the relationship.  I’m not going to go along with it just to make the other person happy.  I as well think that a relationship with a work wife is one that should not take a lot of work.  It just happens, it’s great, and both parties benefit from it.

I'm a passive aggressive guy most of the time, but then again I've been known, not to burn bridges, but blow them up with dynamite.  I do hope that I stay single for some time at work. I do not have any possible “wife material” candidates at this new job as of yet.  There’s no female I can see myself building a future with and that’s okay.  Can’t force a good thing.


How do you avoid getting roped into a work wife scenario that you know is not right for you?

How have your work wives been in the past?

Even though other friendships have come and gone, are you still friends with work wives from previous jobs?

Are your work marriages stronger than your “real” relationships?