(Closed) Husband and "Work Wife"

posted 3 years ago in Relationships
Post # 2
751 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

Idk…it’s weird to me how defensive he is about Jen (and I’m usually in the camp of “people are 100% allowed to have opposite sex friends, period”). 

Like, the texting and all that isn’t particularly weird necessarily, because if Jen was a guy and texted him at late hours, and it was mostly work related and y’all knew jen-as-a-guy wasn’t good at unplugging after work…it probably wouldn’t raise a red flag. Even if it did, it would probably be “hey I wish you’d unplug after work so we can spend time together.” It wouldn’t be a big thing.

I also think it’s fine that she and her kids hang out with him and y’all’s. That on its own is innocent (particularly since they’re all off for the summer), and again, isn’t a big deal for someone you’re good friends with, even if you are also coworkers and opposite sex.

The issue is exactly what you said: that you feel he does more date stuff with her than he does with you, and that you’re clearly uncomfortable with their relationship. Whether that’s actually true (that he does more with her and/or has emotionally attached to her inappropriately), or whether it’s your perception, doesn’t matter. He should be hearing what you say, and working to make it better. You should take priority.

I would say something like, “DH, I fully support you having friends that are women, and that includes people you work with. However, you simply following my stipulations to ‘keep the peace’ doesn’t do anything except tell me you just don’t want to discuss it any further. I trust you, however, I’m very uncomfortable with this particular situation. I feel like you make more date-type plans with Jen than you do with me, and I’m your wife. I want to feel like WE have that connection and honestly, I don’t really feel that right now. I feel like I’m not being heard either, because you get defensive when I bring it up. I don’t want that, I want to talk openly with you, but we’re just not having any luck with that. So I’d like for us to see a couple’s therapist to talk this out with a 3rd party who can give us both some insight. Would you be willing to consider that?”

If he will, then hopefully that’s a start. If he continues to be defensive, I’d still consider individual therapy so that YOU can get some clarity. At the end of the day, don’t settle for ‘keeping the peace.’

Post # 3
1246 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

I really, really do not like the fact that he ignores you, is short with you, and spends a lot of time with Jen alone but does not with you.  Major red flags here.  I completely agree that having friends of the opposite sex is acceptable and healthy, but this is crossing the line.  I’d be worried.  I’m sorry. 

Post # 4
5091 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2017

I 100% am on your side and boundaries that you have put up should have been put up a LONG time ago. People don’t go into these things looking for an affair physical or emotional, but they develop over time. Good for you for saying hell no and realizing the danger zone your marriage was going into. If you still feel like you’re getting the minimum from him or that he gets more angry/irritated because he can’t speak with ‘jen’ like he did before then I strongly suggest counseling at least for yourself first. This is very unfair to you and Jen should know better. He is a married man and although she is having marriage problems that doesn’t mean she gets to Vent to your husband late at night or plan hikes. Get real. No way would this fly in my marriage.  And if my husband would choose ‘jen’ over my feelings then I would start thinking about my own self-preservation from then on. Good luck.

Post # 5
2757 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2007

wifeconflicted :  Are you that controlling on other aspects of your relationship? I would not be ok with my husband giving such strict rules about how and when I could interact with my friend. Maybe him ignoring you/being short with you has nothing to do with Jen and more to do with you and your relationship? 

If he is resentful of the restrictions your placing on him, it’s not going to make things better. 

The relationship you described between him and Jen doesn’t sound off to me at all, I know many people who have bonded and formed amazing friendships after meeting professionally, it’s not weird or rare.

Post # 6
9536 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2016

All my coauthors are male… I’m in an exceptionally male dominated sub-field, in a male dominated field.  I’m good friends with some of them–we’d totally go out to a restaurant or rent a car together or even go on a hike while at a conference together.  And I’d totally tell Darling Husband not to come to the conference because, the reality is, those hikes, restaurants, etc.. take up 1% of the day.  Plus while we’re doing those things, we always talk shop.  I do put on makeup when I’m seeing them even though I don’t for Darling Husband unless it’s date night…

So, in that way, I can sort of shrug off a lot of the behavior.  But then some really big red flags crop up that change the whole thing.  

The defensiveness is the worst one, IMO.  Both as a red flag, and as a destructive force.  How are you supposed to talk through this with him if he just snaps immediately?  How are you supposed to trust that nothing is going on if he acts like something is going on?

It’s not surprising this is making you feel isolated.  I hope you and your Darling Husband figure out a way to work this out, because as it is this sounds like it’s really eroding your relationship.

Post # 7
6436 posts
Bee Keeper

wifeconflicted : 

Having friends outside of work is healthy.

Having friends of the opposite sex is healthy.

Having a friend that you talk to more about personal problems than your own spouse – FLAG

Having a friend that you talk to outside of work more than your own spouse – FLAG

Becoming defensive over your wife feeling uncomfortable with your friendship – FLAG

Your husband is teetering the line of emotional affair.  It may not be obvious to him, but the fact that he’d rather spend time talking to Jen then you is a very big red flag.

I worked with a guy for over two years, and yes we were each other’s work husband and wife, but that was it, we’d joke all day at work, sometimes message either on the weekend about something work related or something that reminded us about work, but that was it.  Rarely did we ever talk about something so personal I wouldn’t tell my husband about it.  We became such good friends, he was there for our wedding reception, our birthday celebrations and and even a house party.  But that was it.  And now that we don’t work together anymore, we talk occassionaly on “how are you, how’s the new job, etc.”  But we worked together closely and rarely did I ever want to talk to him over my husband.  The only thing that I would talk to him about over my husband was something very specific to work that my husband had no reference to.

Post # 9
10067 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

I got really hung on on the Beyonce part. Did he go? Does your husband enjoy Beyonce? What sort of woman would invite a married straight man to see Beyonce? Just why??????

Three of my best friends are male so I tried to think about this in context to my friendships. The majority of what you listed would be things that would occur in these friendships. I do text with my friends every day, often times at night when i’m at home with Darling Husband. We do participate in events/classes together, often times without Darling Husband. Even some of the conversations you were uncomfortable with might be conversations we woulod have. For example, asking if something is up because of a vague FB post, or helping them through a rough time in their relationship. However, these are guys who have been in my life for over 15 years, so, basically like my brothers. Darling Husband has NEVER had any problem with our friendship and even had one of the guys as a co-bestman in our wedding.

But in your case, alarm bells are going off so I do think you should listen to your instincts. I tried to think about how I would react if I were in your husbands shoes and i’m not sure defensive would be the way I would go. Flabbergasted, exasperated, sure. But probably not very defensive because after all, I have nothing to defend.

Your husband isn’t hearing you. He’s being petulant and throwing a fit and saying “FINE! I’ll just never ever have anymore friends ever again!” which is weird. To me, honestly, it seems like he’s checked out of your marriage and thats why he seems to be acting so hostile and defensive to you. I’m not sure if it really has anything to do with Jen or if you can sense your husband “isn’t into you” right now and you are trying to place the blame on something fixable (i.e. if Jen goes away everything will be fine again) as opposed to looking the the dynamics between the two of you.

Post # 11
9536 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2016

slomotion :  i thought about that too.. if it wasn’t Jen, so much as him being checked out of the marriage.

I was really jealous of an exes work-wife.  Well.. he cheated on me.. but not with her!  With a different coworker.  And work-wife was really empathetic to me at that time–in fact most of his coworker/friends took his side and she was one of the very few people who didn’t.  I guess she knew him well enough to know that most of what he was telling them was lies about me/our relationship.  So yeah.. totally possible it’s not Jen at all… but those red flags are still bright red.

Anyway, didn’t mention this before because I figured I was just seeing that because it was my specific story and not because it was actually there.

Post # 12
7716 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I’m not sure if he’s having an affair with Jen, but regardless, your husband sounds like a dick. The way he responded to the cologne thing would ENRAGE me. It’s sketchy as hell that he had the cologne for awhile and NEVER wore it until he started hanging out with Jen, and then suddenly started breaking it out just for her whenever they would hang out. Wtf??? And then had the nerve to make YOU sound like a crazy person for questioning him on it.

Also, the fact that he was texting Jen constantly during that conference, but then had the gall to tell YOU when you sent him one text, “I need to remind you that I’m at a conference. I can’t chat during sessions.”  !?!? Asshole!

Another red flag is his refusal to consider couples counseling. Does he give you a reason? Maybe deep down he knows that any counselor worth her salt will call him on his bullshit. 

I dunno bee….as I read this I was getting more and more pissed on your behalf. 

Post # 13
929 posts
Busy bee

I had a “Work Husband” before he left for another company. He and I were the only two in the department and sat right next to eacthother. We talked all day because we were in such close quarters. However, we never hung out after work alone. He was married and I was with my SO, now Darling Husband, at the time i worked with him. Even his wife use to call me her husband’s “Work Wife.” All four of us have gone out together though at times and they were actually invited to our wedding as well. We did not continue to chat about work after work when we were home, all of that was left in the office. I sense that your intuition is right and you should seek counseling right away. 

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