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I think we can all agree that having the phone numbers of some of your co-workers is a perfectly normal thing. I mean, who else can cover for you when you’re late for the pettiest of reasons?

Seriously, having a few numbers here and there stashed away for a “Hold up, do we have tomorrow off?” kind of day and other work quandaries doesn’t sound problematic. But what happens when your significant other does quite a bit of chit-chatting with a co-worker of the opposite sex after work hours?

I have a girlfriend dealing with such a dilemma currently. Her husband is a good guy, and while she doesn’t think he’s necessarily cheating with the co-worker (yes, she looked through his phone to confirm), she does feel as though his correspondence with said co-worker is reaching an inappropriate level.

She initially questioned if they were doing too much when he started mentioning her in conversation more often at home. If he talked about a new movie, he would say he knew about it because “Taryn* told me about it.” If they checked out a restaurant in the neighborhood they live in, which the co-worker sometimes hangs out it in, during dinner he would say “Taryn recommended this place!” and she would soon lose her appetite. Basically, there was just too much damn talkin’ about Taryn.

As it turns out, there was also too much damn talkin’ to Taryn as well. According to my friend, they would send each other messages throughout the evenings. And while her husband never tried to hide such correspondences, the fact that he spent so much time talking to another woman whom he also gets to spend a large segment of the weekday with at work rubs my friend the wrong way.

So she told him. She let him know that his messages with Taryn are strange, and if the shoe was on the other foot, he would be less than pleased as well. However, he brushed her concerns off as her overreacting and reassured her that it all was just being friendly — nothing else. And so, the messages continued.

Then one day while out walking around their neighborhood scoping the scene for somewhere to grab a bite to eat, my friend’s husband said he would text Taryn briefly to see if they should try a new Caribbean joint the couple was pondering over. For some reason, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. When they returned home, my friend, highly irritated after saying little during dinner, told him not to talk to Taryn anymore outside of work. It caused quite the commotion in their home, but she reminded him that their marriage should be his main priority, not babbling on and on about minute things with a co-worker when he’s not at work. He didn’t agree to anything in the moment, though she hasn’t seen him on his phone as much. However, they’ve been walking around on eggshells with each other for the past few days.

So I guess the question is, even if you don’t think your spouse is talking inappropriately with their co-worker, is it a problem if they talk to them a lot?

I don’t think it’s weird for a married man to have friends who are women. Sometimes these women can even offer the right perspective when a couple is having a disagreement. And while that’s nice and what not, there is also something odd about spending more time talking to that person than you seem to talk with your own spouse. Even if he’s not doing anything wrong, and even if Taryn isn’t seeking his attention for risqué reasons, as it was pointed out by my friend, if the shoe was on the other foot, all hell would likely break loose.

At the same time, she can’t tell a grown man what to do. If she trusts him, she should be able to trust that he’s not stepping over the line. However, there is a difference between complaining because you don’t trust your partner and complaining because your partner is doing the absolute most. She has good reason to let him know how all that chit-chatting is impacting her in the context of their relationship. It’s about boundaries and respect, folks. So if he knows what’s good for him, he should stick to water-cooler rundowns and lunchtime chats and save after-hour talk for the Mrs…

But as always, that’s just my opinion. What say you? Is it petty to be bothered by your significant other texting with their co-worker excessively after hours? Is it also petty to tell them they can’t talk to that co-worker outside of work anymore?


Image via Shutterstock 

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