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Love in the Time of Remote Work: 3 Ways to keep Romantic Relationships Thriving in the Home Office

Productivity is Proportional to the Ability to Build Positive Relationships in the Work Place. How to Ensure Productivity in an at-Home Post Work-Spouse World

Boundaries do more than safeguard our physical and emotional perimeter. At work, they make accomplishment the focus, and at home, boundaries provide a road map for how intimate partners can love us.”
— Jack Rourke

LOS ANGELES, CA, UA, June 28, 2023/ -- The concept of the "work wife" or "work husband" has gained popularity in recent years. It refers to a close, seemingly platonic relationship between colleagues, often of the opposite sex, that mimics some aspects of a romantic partnership.

The work-spouse phenomenon arises from spending a significant amount of time together in a professional setting, sharing common goals, and building a deep sense of camaraderie.

With long working hours and intense workloads, colleagues often spend more waking hours with each other than they do with their actual partners. But while the term work-spouse may be lighthearted, these relationships can have a negative impact on the individuals involved and their home lives.

The work-spouse dynamic typically includes a high level of trust and shared competency says, relationship coach Jack Rourke. But, he cautions, it is the secrecy of that connection that is problematic. It can inspire faux feelings of intimacy triggering shame and disorienting confusion. These unresolved feelings between colleagues can breed chaos similar to out-of-synch domestic partners and impede productivity.

Work-spouse relationships often involve providing emotional support and relying on one another for guidance. Personal needs that would otherwise be met by each party's respective domestic partners. At issue here is when personal needs are met by professional colleagues in surreptitiously intimate ways, it indicates an erosion of professional boundaries until workplace interactions become personal. The result of this is emotions tied to personal values begin to conflict with professional loyalties and obligations.

Whether having a work-spouse is morally wrong depends on the boundaries couples set for their unique partnerships. What is important, with respect to romantically thriving in a work-from-home situation, is understanding the needs work-spouse relations fulfill.

A work-spouse often meets unfulfilled relational needs the actual spouse is unable to offer or presumed incapable of providing for. This is important since noting how professional relationships turn personal teaches how to reinvigorate domestic partnerships that have become passionless and transactional.

There are three actionable steps to creating an at-home work environment where genuine intimacy can blossom into sustained romance. Genuine intimacy, Rourke says, is shared transparency with one who is accountable and contributes to ongoing relational well-being.

Step one. Establish Boundaries: Boundaries are an assertion of will according to Rourke. They define our emotional and physical space in a manner that provides for individual autonomy. But boundaries do more than just safeguard our perimeter. Boundaries in intimate relationships also provide a road map for how our partners can love us says Rourke.

When a partner respects our values, honors our boundaries, and contributes to our lives in a manner that supports our individuality by mimicking how we provide for ourselves, they are loving us. Work-spouse relationships do not do this. Work-spouse connections compromise values while meeting only certain conflicting needs. This is why these connections ultimately become painful and difficult to navigate. Whereas the committed partner who pays attention to serving reality rather than fantasy by creating safety and engendering trust might appear boring.

Setting boundaries between work and personal life while working from home enables love to bloom. Wanting to admire a partner's professional prowess is normal. Yet, it is also frustrating and unsexy when that partner is a few feet away in their pajamas irritated by work emails. People show up differently at the office than at home. If one has never seen their mate in work mode, and that persona is unattractive, a solution is creating a dedicated workspace and specific work hours.

Boundaries are not just where one shows up but how. It is essential to physically define professional efforts in a domestic setting. The designated workspace should command the same respect for vocational efforts as if at an office. But if there is a tendency to sleep in, skip the shower and slide into emails under the covers, this sends the signal the work being done is not that important. Partners will likely respond accordingly making it difficult to accomplish what needs to be done.

To create space for love, couples need to establish at-home work standards for professional success. Couples report greater success coordinating romantic relationships in work-from-home circumstances when they make a predictable plan together they stick to. Having shared boundaries that support each other's mutual goal to succeed professionally and in love makes each other an ally. This builds trust.

The second way to support a thriving love relationship with a primary partner when working from home is by prioritizing professional style communication. Exposing romantic partners to our work voice invites them to feel our core competencies as an achiever. Allowing a domestic partner to meet the professional inside provides a new inclusive avenue through which to feel loved.

Communication is key in any relationship, and it becomes even more crucial when working from home. Open direct conversations about work, schedules, priorities, and especially any challenges that might occur, increases camaraderie. Sharing challenges also provides an opportunity for support and thus feeling understood and cared for in goal-affirming nonsexual ways just like how a work-spouse might make one feel.

Finally, creating quality time by sharing activities that inspire mutual joy, builds a loving bond of belonging. In fact, scheduling time together as a daily reward after a long workday at home offers the opportunity to rely on one another for decompression. This could be going for a peaceful walk, cooking a meal, exercising, watching movies, or playing games. It does not matter. What is important is habituating self-soothing together.

Work spouses are products of spending time together in unnatural and demanding environments where emotional support is required. These friendships can feel like deep emotional connections. But they are seldom more than fantasies to escape real life.

Real life requires transparency, accountability, and the willingness to connect and share even when circumstances are hard. Keeping one's word is hard adult work. But when love is treated like the professional-level skill that it is rather than an entitlement that only occurs accidentally - romantic thriving is possible and profitable.

Kathryn McCabe
Psi Source media
+1 917-231-2025
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