Cheating with a co-worker without getting undressed


I founded a company with a guy who was single and good looking and everyone who met with us thought we were dating. We weren’t. He was almost twenty years older than I was, for one thing. But we did spend ten hours a day together, and at some point it’s hard to say it’s only business.

It’s not uncommon to feel like you’re almost married to someone you work with. In fact, 32 percent of workers feel that way. The Des Moines Register reports that this is generally a common and positive workplace trend. I have to say that my experience of the phenomena was positive, also. We were very in tune with what each other was thinking because we were so emotionally connected. We handled meetings better as a team, and we grew the company more effectively because we were so invested in the other person as well as the company.

This sort of relationship can go bad, though, according to this month’s Oprah magazine, (which, by the way, is really underrated by the intelligentsia. I love the magazine and recommend that you subscribe. After all, what other publisher has the power of Oprah to get anyone she wants in the whole world to be in her magazine?) So anyway, according to the magazine, when these relationships go bad it’s because the people are getting their emotional needs met by a co-worker instead of their boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse. Oprah’s in-house therapist says that’s cheating, even if there’s no spit-swapping. And, she points out that if your marriage sucks, it’s a lot easier to fix it when it sucks than to fix it when it sucks and you’ve cheated.

So really, this sort of workplace spouse relationship only works well if you’re not in a relationship outside of work. It’ll work well as a stop-gap measure to keep things interesting until you can either get something going outside of work or start having sex with that co-worker. (If you’re going to do the latter, it’s tricky to not destroy yourself and/or your career. Here are four tips, along with the comforting fact that 40% of the working world has taken the same, insane risk.)

7 replies
  1. Walt Stevens
    Walt Stevens says:

    My married co-workers are having an affair of some sort. First it was just eating lunch together. Then it was leaving one car at a secret location and riding off into the country. Now business trips are being planned as get aways. Today after riding to a local restaurant together and sitting down for lunch several co-workers came in to observe the odd situation. As you said, “Spit swapping”, might not be happening but if my wife saw me do that it would be over. What to do as a co-worker.

    * * * * *

    This is not such an uncommon situation, I’m afraid. I have found that as people get more and more used to the affair they are having, they get more and more careless about keeping it discreet. As for the question what can you do, the answer is: Nothing. It’s not really any of your business unless they are spending your budget money on hotel rooms at lunch time or they are not meeting deadlines that you manage at work. Otherwise, it’s just that you don’t like what they’re doing, which is really your problem, not theirs.

    That said, I want to remind everyone that the world is not comfortable watching married people cheat on their spouses. We do not, as a society, enjoy watching dishonesty. So if you are going to do it, and you don’t want to damage your career, keep it out of the public eye.

    — Penelope

  2. some girl
    some girl says:

    i’m afraid i totally disagree with this post. it comes across as quite ignorant, really. and why is oprah’s in-house therapist an authority on this matter?

    so, married/committed people should not be starting enterprises and projects with a kindred spirit of their own sexual orientation. is that the conclusion to be drawn here?

    i started a band with a very attractive boy, and i’m married and quite attractive myself. we are driven by a common vision for the music. my husband is not a musician. does that mean that i am never to collaborate with another man on a music project, since music is the only passion i know apart from my husband?

    the real question to be asked here is, how strong is one’s relationship with their spouse, and how open is the communication within the relationship. we cannot expect to have all our needs met by the person we are committed to, that’s Relationships 101.

  3. Marketing Promotion
    Marketing Promotion says:

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  4. Joe
    Joe says:

    I can’t say that I have ever witnessed a relationship with a co-worker exist for very long. I’m sure it happens, but it is rare. And the unneeded stress is unproductive on all levels if you ask me.

  5. Paul
    Paul says:

    Sometimes affairs with co-workers do work, mine did. We worked together for 2 years , and we were both married. The attraction was pretty obvious right away, and things slowley grew between us. After a year the relationship became physical one time, and we both agreed that it was a road best not traveled. 3 years later we were both single and picked up where we left off. We’ve been married for 9 years, and she is still the woman of my dreams!

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