Is it OK to have a work husband?

He's the guy you depend on for support, at least from 9 to 5. He doesn't tote the title "hubby," but you spend as much time with him as you do the man you married. Is it kosher to have a work husband? Perhaps, but establish and follow some personal guidelines to avoid serious problems later. An emotional misunderstanding could "break up" a good working relationship; it might be difficult to repair that.

Don't use the term "work husband." Putting it out there will make him uncomfortable, so don't! Call him a friend if you must, but don't bandy the term, work hubby, about.

Keep it chaste. Your coworker should be a "husband" in the most chaste sense of the word. All that term should mean is you are both committed to your work success; that's it. Don't cry on his shoulder about missing that promotion or confide in him about your home life. You can support one another's work projects, brainstorm together, and even offer a reference for one another. Offering any benefit outside the work spectrum creates problems.

He shouldn't be your boss. If he's your boss, he's not your work husband. He's your boss. You might be his Girl Friday, but you are not equals, at least not career-wise.

Don't put yourself in his marriage. If he asks you to take a message when his wife calls or asks you to intercede, he's crossing a line. That's not the role of a work wife; he's made you his girlfriend.

Avoid excessive touching and flirting. Touching his shoulder, laughing at his jokes, these behaviors express a sexual component or at least demonstrate your interest in one. Limit your touching and feeling. Coworkers may interpret this behavior the wrong way.

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