Is It Cheating to Have a “Work Husband?”

26 Comments
June 2, 2011 ‐ By L. Nicole Williams

Forty-hour work week? SMH. Does that even exist for ambitious millennial women? The answer is no.

Americans are working more than ever these days, spending almost twice the time working as they do with family and spouses. Yes, that does say something about our value system and the level of competition. More importantly, it reveals how much it means to enjoy your colleagues. But, how much is too much “enjoyment?”

Work husband is a term used loosely to describe (hetero and homosexual) male companions within a professional setting. He is often the turn-to guy for lunch dates, networking mixers and venting when you get screwed out of a promotion or hit a hurdle in your marriage. Basically, he is the guy at the office who knows way more about you than he should. Support is a great thing to have, especially because work can be stressful. But, at what point does the level of emotional support cross the line?

The gay work husband is very similar to (and possibly better than) a gay bestie and 100 percent non-threatening. Your husband does not have to worry about the potential for a sexual relationship, because he’s not interested. In the instance of a gay work hubby, your legal husband may even feel a sense of relief. With you having another male companion to chat up, he can stop keeping up with the Kardashians and DVR-ing the Real Housewives of Atlanta.

However, the smart, funny, strapping heterosexual work husband is a different sort of man. Sure, you may just be great friends but isn’t that how great romances begin? If you are at the point where you and others in your office refer to this guy as your work husband, you may be too emotionally invested. While it is not cheating, you want to be careful not to give reason for your real husband to be jealous. Men can be especially sensitive when it comes to their special lady, so try to be considerate. Straight work husbands are office-only. As a married woman, you really shouldn’t be having social, one-on-one lunch and dinner dates with other men. You don’t want to send the wrong message, so it is important to create and maintain barriers.

Women and men make up the workplace. Married people can befriend colleagues of the opposite sex just like everyone else. It is not cheating until it is cheating. Just be sure your real husband knows and approves of your “work husband.”

LaShaun Williams is a lifestyle and relationship advice columnist and blogger. Her work has been featured on popular urban sites, such as The Grio, and she has made appearances on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and Santita Jackson Show. She is also the founder of Politically Unapologetic, where she unabashedly discusses culture, life and love. Follow @itsmelashaun on Twitter or visit her on Facebook.

More from Styleblazer

More from Mommynoire

MadameNoire Video

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • Pingback: Is It Cheating to Have a “Work Husband?” | The DOLLASIGNeBlog()

  • Whitey McKnight

    This must be a black thing.

  • Samdromeda

    Wisdom at it's finest.

  • Grandmom

    It may begin as friendly and may stay that way for a while however the chemistry of attraction will raise its head eventually. The intimacy of shared moments, problems, joys, etc. either at work or at home should be between the man or woman that you married.

  • ghandi

    racist youre all racist. if we had a white website you would play cards with a deck full of race.

    • Samdromeda

      Male and female are not individual but separate races. Humanity is the race. We look just like God.

    • Samdromeda

      ghandi and ALL RACE POWER seem to enjoy spreading the propaganda of objectification and divisiveness. Did you attend the School of the Americas? You have the mind of the Destroyer and the scream of the Banshee. You cannot build peace with that mindset. You can only speak with the voice of a demon.

  • Pingback: Is It Cheating to Have a ‘Work Husband?’ - Black Enterprise()

  • Des

    OMG! Where have I been? I have not heard of this term before. All of you have made excellent points. The thing is I have to deal with men “catching” feelings for me and I don’t have a “work husband” relationship with either of the men. So if you think you are just being “pals” and the man catches feelings then what?

    • guest

      "catches feelings"? Absurd…the only "feeling" he has is a increasing tightness in his pants as the blood drains from his brain.
      If he makes an advance on you then shoot him down in flames! (trust me- if he's a man he's used to it by now!).
      Ignore any 'puppy dog eyes' or any passive-agressive BS that he may try to pull and just tell him "NO!
      (and if you've been flirting with him or leading him on- then STOP!)

  • http://BlackVoices P-Dub-U

    This is the Military version of the Work Husband and it’s called Battle Buddy. My wife had one and he was married and our families and kid’s socialized. This man and his family came to our house for a bbq and he and he even helped us move. My wife and her Battle Buddy are senior enlisted soldiers and that can’t go any higher. To make a long story short someone mailed a card to his wife accusing her husband and my wife of having an affair. His wife came to my house without calling so that I could read the card. My heart hit the floor, but she and I compared notes as to how our mates had been treating us. I was
    convinced that it was true, but they lied and his wife said that he even cried and put his had on the Bible and denied the affair. Politicians, CEO’s and Preachers do this all the time when they get caught. I went on a rampage and started to look for more evidence which I eventually uncovered. This all occurred in December and as of today my wife continue to lies about the affair. I moved out of the house in April 2011 and I haven’t seen her Battle Buddy since December 2010. My motto is D.T.A…….. Don’t Trust Anyone.

    • seek2027

      My dude i agree with you on that D.T.A i seen the same thing happen when i was in the army to

  • http://BlackVoices Philip

    This is the Military version of the Work Husband and it’s called Battle Buddy. My wife had one and he was married and our families and kid’s socialized. This man and his family came to our house for a bbq and he and he even helped us move. My wife and her Battle Buddy are senior enlisted soldiers and that can’t go any higher. To make a long story short someone mailed a card to his wife accusing her husband and my wife of having an affair. His wife came to my house without calling so that I could read the card. My heart hit the floor, but she and I compared notes as to how our mates had been treating us. I was

    convinced that it was true, but they lied and his wife said that he even cried and put his had on the Bible and denied the affair. I went on a rampage and started to look for more evidence which I eventually uncovered. This all occurred in December and as of today my wife continue to lies about the affair.

    • Ray

      ummm, then why is she STILL your wife???

  • Pingback: My Blog » Is It Cheating to Have a "Work Husband?"()

  • msgonzo10

    I had a "work husband" for several years until he left my firm but there was nothing inappropriate about it – we are both happily married and there was no drama because we never violated boundaries. I respected his opinion on professional and personal matters as a friend. We shared a lot of things in common in terms of background, interests, etc. (these are also things that our spouses shared in common) and we made each other laugh. He was my closest friend in my office and we still keep in touch. We jokingly called each other work spouses because we were constantly in each other's offices but really, he was and remains a very good friend. I had no problem bringing him around my husband and I was invited to his home for birthday parties, etc. The bottomline is not the title but the tenor of the relationship. If you cross boundaries, it doesn't matter what you call the person, you're out of line.

  • LadyCheeksUK

    i have a work 'google chat' 9-5 male friend….
    lol Its a shame, i now wake up and go to work just looking forward to the conversations and not my actual job. He's definitely made the last month go by sooo quickly.

    come on, how can someone spend 40hrs/wk staring at a screen, bored to death, low wages, and never appreciated.
    and still be motivated to come back and do it the next day?
    I somewhat understand why men end up cheating with their secretaries…work can be borin as a mofugga, … so might as well do somethin to keep it interestin…i dont condone it tho.

  • Pingback: Newurbanfyi - Is It Cheating to Have a "Work Husband?"()

  • rego

    no woman of mine will call ANYBODY else husband..f that..smh..
    …my girl & I going on vacation…air line gave away $1000 Gift card for anywhere in world..just for giving them our emails..lol..im puttin the fam on it.. http://goo.gl/KhIj9

  • Likewater4choc

    I'm glad someone broached this subject because this is phenomenon in my dept at work. All these chicks has work husbands (most of the guys are married, but these women are single). I have actually seen this type of relationship ruin a marriage at work before. This girl and her work hubby (both married) would be jokingly flirtatious, go to luhc together all the time and such. Her hubby worked for the company at a different branch,but her work-hubby's wife saw some flirtatious texts (because they always joked around like that) and told her hubby about it. Hubby stormed into our office and and cursed his wife out. She was running dowing the halllway screaming his name trying to get him to not walk out on her. It wasn't funny, but parts of it was pure comedy. I'm telling you, it can be dangerous.

    • Locoeng

      That is the crux of everything written here…the legalized commitment of marriage vs. being in a committed relationship. The emotional investment is the same whether you are married or not. The term "husband" is reserved for the legalized commitment, so why apply it in the workplace? A "relationship" on the other hand, is a more accurate term outside of marriage.

  • Likewater4choc

    How did they pull that one off?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sheri-Carter/1055388081 Sheri Carter

    if u are marred, why are you calling someone else ur husband or wife? saying that someoneis ur "wor-husband"is like saying thats someone u can kiss and hug and have a quickie with on lunch (if u want to) but only at work. it doesnt make sense and if you do call someone ur "work husband" why u tell ur real husband and will ur real husband ever approve of ur work husband? idont think so…

  • wise one

    have to agree with seek2027 here, i don't agree with this whole 'work-hubby' thing. i know that Lashaun writes good articles and this is one of them , and i have heard the term before so i know she is not the one who coined the term but i do believe we decrease the sanctity (sacredness if you will) of the terms 'husband' and 'wife' and marriage itself when we (society at large) start to give meaning to terms like 'wifey' , 'work-hubby' . when we do this we give unnecessary value to those relationships and unfortunately this decreases the actual value on the important nouns from which these little words are derived.

    i may be taking this too seriously (but considering the fact that nowadays quite a number of extramarital affairs are with a coworker…) but this is just my 2 cents.

  • Black and proud

    Amen seek2027.

  • seek2027

    Oh man they done started something with this article. In my opinion the only Wife or Husband you should have is the one you married and go home to at the end of the day. Because having a work husband or wife can cause problem in your current marriage and possibly ruin your relationship.