As the founder of a company that helps working parents balance their personal and professional lives my primary focus is on assisting parents find resources for their children. However, working parents need to focus on balancing their own personal and professional lives in addition to managing their children’s schedules.
With the fast pace of life these days many of us spend significant time away from our spouses and in most cases, more time with co-workers and colleagues. When you are married this can create a problem. Office environments today have a laissez faire approach to work relationships, while traditional romantic relationships between co-workers are usually discouraged, companies often neglect to educate employees about the harm of an emotional relationship between co-workers. Emotional infidelity can be just as heart breaking and destructive but is often not talked about or prevented. In a search for answers on how to safeguard marriages from emotional and physical infidelity I found some really great concrete advice from professionals who had either been in emotional or physically unfaithful affairs or advise those who are in such situations.
Office rules for married co-workers and colleagues seem like something we should already be familiar with, but often times “work rules” are not discussed among couples. Award-winning author and speaker Nancy C. Anderson (www.nancycanderson.com) offers thoughtful advice to couples navigating office relationships. Nancy and her husband teach couples to avoid the “Greener Grass Syndrome” by concentrating on strengthening their own relationships. Nancy’s personal experience with an office affair was the impetus for her book and for the salvation of her marriage. Nancy advises the following “rules” for couples to follow for work relationships.
If you’re in doubt as to what conduct is inappropriate, ask yourself, Would I do this in front of my spouse? Here is a simple rule to keep you on the straight and narrow: If you’d have to lie about it – don’t do it!
If you feel an attraction to someone in your office and have romantic or sexual thoughts about them, consider a transfer to a different department, a different site, or maybe you should quit. No job is more valuable than your marriage.
Don’t make personal (non-work related) phone calls to a coworker of the opposite sex. Make sure that your e-mails and other correspondence are not suggestive, inappropriate, or flirtatious.
Talk about your spouse in positive terms, making it clear that you’re married and intend to stay that way.
The only appropriate touch between business associates of the opposite sex is a handshake.
Another source of great advice for married couples is Dr. Shirley Glass (www.shirleyglass.com). Dr. Glass is the author of Not ‘Just Friends’ and states that “The new infidelity is between people who unwittingly form deep, passionate connections before realizing that they’ve crossed the line from platonic friendship into romantic love. Eighty-two percent of the 210 unfaithful partners I’ve treated have had an affair with someone who was, at first, ‘just a friend.’” Dr. Glass notes, “secret emotional attachments outside a marriage can be just as great a betrayal as extramarital sex.” Dr. Glass offers the following seven tips to preventing infidelity:
Recognize that work can be a danger zone. Don’t lunch alone or take coffee breaks with the same person all the time. When you travel with a co-worker, meet in public rooms, not in a room with a bed.
Avoid emotional intimacy with attractive alternatives to your committed relationship. Resist the desire to rescue an unhappy soul who pours his or her heart out to you.
Protect your marriage by discussing relationship issues at home. If you do need to talk to someone else about your marriage, be sure that person is a friend of the marriage. If the friend disparages marriage, respond with something positive about your own relationship.
Keep old flames from re-igniting. If a former lover is coming to the class reunion, invite your partner to come along. If you value your marriage, think twice about having lunch with an old flame.
Don’t go over the line when you’re On-Line with Internet friends. Discuss your online friendships with your partner and show him/her your e-mail if he/she is interested. Invite your partner to join in your correspondence so your Internet friend won’t get any wrong ideas. Don’t exchange sexual fantasies online. (FYI, I found this stunning statistic – More than a third of divorce filings last year contained the word Facebook, according to a U.K. survey by Divorce Online.)
Make sure your social network is supportive of your marriage. Surround yourself with friends who are happily married and who don’t believe in fooling around.
Many of us take for granted that our spouse or we know how to fend off emotional and physical infidelity, however, that might not be the case. Talk to your spouse or self assess your own behavior in order to safeguard your family. Out of all the advice and expert advice I have researched one of the most compelling was to not talk about your spouse in a negative way. We can all relate to complaining about spouses, but it can be incredibly hurtful and damaging to a marriage especially when the complaints are directed to members of the opposite sex. Just like we tell our children, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all!”
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