An open letter to my husband’s work wife

Why everyone's life is better when your spouse has a work wife
Modern work wives are not all like their 80s counterparts.

Does your spouse have a work wife? Mine does, and I’ve been wanting to say a few things to her for awhile now. No, it’s not of the “back off and get your sandwich” variety. I’d like to say thank you. Thank you for making my husband not only a better employee, but also a better man. Work wives are the most helpful beings, but not everyone understands the job. Allow me to enlighten you.

Who is a work wife?

A work wife is a co-worker of your spouse, often female, but some are male, too. You don’t want your husband having a male work wife though. They tend to be whiney and demanding. Work wives can be married or single. Best are the multi-tasking mothers. These are the trophy wives of the office place .

Work wives typically work in either the same department or in close physical proximity to your husband. When someone moves – either across the building or to a  new company, the relationship ends. Fortunately, it’s not as acrimonious a split as a divorce.

The difference between work wives and office hoes

When I talk glowingly about my husband’s work wives (he’s had a few), a lot of people think there’s something fishy going on. Nope. The work wife relationship is completely platonic. Because they’ve picked up on most of the annoying habits and character traits your spouse possesses, they don’t find them remotely attractive.

I know this because I myself was once a work wife. It was a bit of a polygamous relationship as my Kiwi friend and I were the only two females in a marketing team of eight (we thought socially clueless) men. It was a tough job, but one we happily took on.

Work wives are confident and some, like me, are bossy. The work husband has to put up with it though. He’s consensually entered into this relationship and knows it’s good for him.

Office hoes are different. I hate using that term, because when affairs happen I don’t think it’s fair to blame just one person. But for the sake of simplicity in this post, I’ll refer to them as such. Inappropriate office relationships happen when two people begin sharing things with each other they don’t share first with their spouse. Office affairs are both an emotional and physical relationship. The office hoe often harbours fantasies of running away with your spouse. Work wives don’t get too personal. They’d rather gouge their eyeballs out with a spoon then have to listen to or hang around with your spouse 24/7.

Work wives may lend a sympathetic ear from time to time, but they’re really not into them. They like your husband as a co-worker, but that’s it. The work-spouse relationship ends when they leave the office. Work wives don’t think about their work husband off the clock. Office hoes, however, think about their male co-worker all the time.

What do work wives do?

The single defining characteristic of a work wife is that they have your spouse’s back. While they want the best for them, they also don’t want the husband making their work life any harder. That’s why in my work wife days, I successfully managed for my work husbands to get the flu shot. And to think it was their idea! Nobody, especially me, needs to get sick from their disgusting germs.

The relationship begins with a friendly reminder. Perhaps it’s a: “Hey dude, your office mug isn’t going to wash itself.” Or maybe it’s a “Pssst. The VP is asking where you are and she looks pissed!” From there it moves onto outright suggestions and occasionally telling them what to do.

When you work in close quarters, you get to know other people’s quirks pretty quickly. While they’re looking out for your spouse, work wives aren’t immune to their annoyances. That’s why they frequently call them out on their bullshit. God love ‘em for that.

A great work wife makes the real wife’s life better. It baffles me why so many men think Asian takeaway or Five Guys is an appropriate special occasion dinner. Work wives can mitigate these disasters and lend appropriate suggestions. They’re pro’s in the “what should I give her?” department, too.

Work wives in action

My biggest work wife accomplishment was convincing a dude to get home in time for the birth of his child. Kiwi and I overheard our work husband on the phone one morning. Apparently the (real) wife was experiencing labour pains. Then we heard him furiously typing on his keyboard for a few minutes. We both looked at each other before simultaneously popping our heads over the cubical wall.

Me: Hey dude. What’s up?

Work husband: Ah, she’s got some pains, but they’re really far apart and she’s not due for another six-weeks. It’s probably nothing.

Dude goes back to working.

Kiwi: Don’t you think you might want to go home?

Work husband: Nah, it’ll be fine. This is way too early.

Puts on his headset and begins to dial into the conference call.

Me: Hang on a sec. Worse case scenario this is real labour. You’re going to kick yourself for not being there, not to mention being in the dog house forever.

Kiwi: And best case, it turns out to be nothing. But she’s all alone and likely quite freaked out. You should be there to comfort her. You can work from home today if it turns out to be nothing.

Work husband thinks about this for longer than necessary.

Work wives: Go home, you F##K*8g idiot!

Work husband leaves. That afternoon his first child is born.

Work Husbands

Bizarrely, if your husband has a work wife, he probably isn’t her work husband. It’s typically a one-way relationship. Work husbands do exist though. Like work wives, the work husband has your back. He’s not the sales stud and doesn’t want to get into your pants. He’s just a helpful dude who really thinks you ought to get winter tires put on your car. Thanks to my former work husband, I was able to throw an appropriate surprise party for my husband’s 30th birthday. And by appropriate, I mean at a pub, not a fancy restaurant like I originally intended.

While the workplace no longer resembles a Dolly Parton 9 to 5 situation, gender dynamics are still at play. The work husband or work wife role doesn’t necessarily fall back on traditional roles, but it does play into each other’s strengths. Any extra support you can get in the office, no matter where it comes from is a bonus in my books.

Thank you

It sucks being in a thankless job. And so, in this time of thanksgiving, I want to give thanks to all the tireless work wives and work husbands out there. To the many work wives my husband has had over the years:

  • Thank you for reminding him he’s colour blind and probably not the best authority in picking out paint colours.
  • Thanks for thoroughly berating him for missing his flight because he had the brilliant idea of getting an an airport hair cut. Better you than me, sister.
  • Thank you for suggesting he buy a new suit. Oh wait. That one hasn’t happened yet. You know what to do.

Does your spouse have a work wife? Are you cool with their relationship?

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