Spotting the signs husband likes a coworker and gauging whether or not it’s a problem is as much art as it is science. It’s a good thing he’s getting along with a coworker but when does it start becoming a potential problem or even a threat to your marriage?
If your husband is comparing the two of you, making sudden changes to his lifestyle or hiding messages and his workplace from you it might be a sign he likes his coworker a little too much.
If you have reason to believe there’s something going on, I have a guide on spotting the signs that your husband is cheating with a coworker but here, we’re going to focus on the red flags that there might be a potential problem and what you can do to put a stop to his madness before it even starts.
Context, Context, Context!
Before we dive into it, remember that looking into a possible cheating scenario is delicate. When unfounded, it can backfire and cause worse damage to your relationship. Everything that you’ll read here and on other similar sites needs to be in the context of your relationship. You know your partner better than any of us.
If you’d like to look at your marriage specifically (and what you can do to get things back on track) take the marriage assessment quiz here.
Affairs can’t be that common in workplaces, right?
Affairs with colleagues are surprisingly more common than you’d think. In a 2019 employee survey, about one in five people within a committed relationship admitted to having an affair with a co-worker at some point in their lives.
You can’t expect HR to step in, either. 11 out of 25 people know and fail to report a colleague who’s cheating on their significant other with another woman during work or business trips.
Affair With Coworker?
Although the survey did not define the word’ affair,’ we can infer that the definition is leaning towards the physical and sexual kind. But an affair can also be emotional too.
An emotional affair is a husband seeking more comfort and emotional connection from another woman than his wife. Since it is asexual, this infidelity often flies under the radar. Sometimes even the people involved may just treat it as a general fondness or friendship. However, many emotional affairs do cross the line into a sexual one, over a period of time.
You and your S.O. may be experiencing a rough patch but remember that it’s perfectly acceptable to have friends of the opposite gender for both of you. A committed man texting a female colleague does not equate to an affair.
Why Do Affairs Start?
It’s tough to differentiate the how’s and the why’s when it comes to infidelity, but these things are essential for healing and moving forward.
You and your spouse may be at a difficult point in your relationship where you are constantly butting heads. You may be experiencing the opposite where both your affections have dwindled to the state where he craves attention and intimacy from elsewhere. Worse yet is when he’s perfectly happy, and someone else is the source of that happiness.
Marriage is similar to forging metal. You and your S.O. may have heated fights like a metal placed in unbearable heat. But when you work towards a solution together, then like metal doused with water, your relationship will become stronger.
But avoidance is not the same as compromise. You avoid when you refuse to talk about an unresolved issue because you don’t want an argument to arise. You compromise when you face the issue head-on together, butt heads at some point, and agree to meet half-way. Avoiding destroys, compromising builds.
How do Affairs start?
Your husband and his co-worker have much company-imposed time together during the workday or especially on business trips. They create shared experiences and interests that they can use to foster a stronger connection in the time they spend together.
It’s normal to make work-friends and have that professional partner-in-crime whom your husband can count on for work. But issues arise when he would rather talk to another woman than you—the wife.
Signs Husband Likes Coworker Too Much
Constantly Talking About Coworker
Understandably, the female coworker’s name will pop-up in a conversation because they do a particular task with your beau, or they just did something amusing. These stories can sometimes make you feel more included and may even make you feel close to the person without really knowing them.
But when the occasional anecdote and name drop turns to a “you don’t have to know because you wouldn’t really understand but I know so-and-so would;” that counts as one of the signs that your husband likes that particular colleague a little too much.
In this one sentence, your husband created an emotional distance between you and him. At the same time, he declared a more intimate relationship with a person outside of your marriage. The issue is not their closeness. The problem is that your husband shuts you out of the conversation.
The other worrying thing is that your husband, consciously or unconsciously, compared you to another woman—let’s park this one for now.
Changing His Image
The urge to hit the gym and dress better is not one of the iron-clad signs a husband likes a coworker. Your spouse may just finally be getting on his New Year’s resolution in the middle of the year. We’ve been there.
You just have to pay extra attention if he mentions his female coworker as the reason for the change.
It’s alright to ask for fashion tips from female coworkers because they are objective eyes that may know how clients expect your S.O. to look. But if the, “Hey hon. Do I look okay in this? So-and-so said I’d look good in this,” transforms into “I don’t want to wear that! So-and-so thinks that white beige washes me out;” then you may be looking at a sign of infidelity.
With this statement, he effectively exhibited a desire to impress another woman while disregarding your input in the conversation.
Not Mentioning Her Name
Another sign a husband likes a coworker can be when he stops talking about her altogether. You would have to consider the context for this one.
Suppose that your spouse used to talk to you a lot about his female coworker, and it suddenly stopped. It’s entirely possible that they no longer work together, or they grew apart. But if they still work together and seem as close as before, an abrupt change may be a sign of guilt.
Unplanned Overtime and Business Trips
Many would also warn you against increased overtime and work trips. Taken out of context, this is a prime cheating flag.
If he usually becomes busier during the last week of the month or goes on a lot of work trips during the second quarter, there is no cause for alarm.
You can consider this a large flag if he was the type to leave work on time and didn’t really have business trips.
Comparing You to His ‘Work Wife’
People jokingly call a colleague your ‘work spouse‘ when you spend too much time with a person because of work. Having a ‘work wife’ doesn’t mean infidelity. The chances are that their relationship is purely professional and platonic at most. You might be facing something more if your husband constantly compares you with their supposedly platonic ‘work spouse.’
You don’t have to immediately freak out when you hear him comparing you with his coworker, especially when you’re the one who initiated the conversation. But an unprovoked comparison is the mark of either guilt or desire for the other woman.
Your husband’s affections towards the other party may be growing when he starts comparing you with the other woman, and you come out on top. They may feel guilty about viewing the other woman more favorably than you, so they try to praise you at the end. It can also be an internal reminder to themselves to not cross the proverbial line towards physical infidelity.
If they have crossed the line, then the comparisons will become less favorable for you. Brace yourself because each comparison will sting as the other woman would be better in every single way. But know that this is not you. This may be an attempt to make you look worse-off to justify what he had done.
How Do You Know If Your Husband Cheated?
Here are some of the biggest signs that he cheated on you.
· Actively hiding his phone or ensuring that you won’t take hold of it.
· Sudden use of device passwords, password-locked messages, and/or hidden folders.
· Lying about who he’s texting or calling.
· Becoming emotionally distant and refuses to discuss work.
· Banning you from visiting him at work.
· Beginning arguments where you are to blame, and they are either right or the victim.
He Likes Her, What Now?
Before you rush off to the nearest private detective or stalk the other woman on social media (if you already haven’t done that), you may want to follow these tips.
· Take a moment to breathe and really think if his behaviors were abrupt and out of context.
· Don’t ignore your gut feeling but don’t go with the gut alone. Focus on the facts. Infidelity may be a matter of the heart, but emotion and intuition are not your allies in this battle.
· If logic urges you to suspect something is happening between him and his work colleague, start collecting evidence.
· Have a conversation with your spouse in a calm and private space. You could get him to come clean about cheating or present him with the evidence.
· Whether your significant other had an affair or not, it is crucial to take a moment and reassess your relationship. Allow yourself some time to process everything and plan your next steps.
Suspecting that your husband is emotionally or physically cheating on you with his colleague can feel like the end of the world—but it’s not. You and your husband can come back from this stronger than before if it is something that you decide to do.