"The secrecy creates a further bond between you and your work [husband]," says Dr. Jenn. "It creates more excitement. I definitely think you should tell your partner about this other person. I wouldn't present it in a threatening way, but they should know of the people in your life."
Dr. Walsh shares a similar sentiment. "If you don't tell your spouse about your work husband, you have to ask yourself why. Are you protecting your spouse from unnecessary feelings of jealousy or are you keeping a secret back-up plan?"
Secrecy can be destructive for a relationship, so if you feel like you have to hide a relationship you have at work, you should pinpoint what's behind that decision, and how you as a couple can work on being more honest and authentic.
3. What should you do if you tell your partner, and he/she is jealous?
"It's normal for your partner to feel jealous if they are sensing a tight bond," says Dr. Jenn. "Ask what you can do to make them more comfortable... If your partner says, 'Hey look, I'm not comfortable with you having drinks with this person,' then perhaps lunch is a reasonable solution. Or they may prefer if you keep conversations to daytime, not late at night." Dr. Jenn says that these are reasonable requests. "I think it's about respecting boundaries," she says. Adds Dr. Walsh: "You have to have clear boundaries and be sure your work wife or husband knows not to cross any lines." 6 Reasons To Put Love Before Your Career
4. What if the tables are reversed?
If your significant other has a lady in his office who acts as his "work wife," and he has failed to tell you about her and gets defensive if and when you find out, it's important not to sensationalize it, but to talk to him in a calm, rational way. Dr. Jenn suggests saying something like, "Hey, let's talk about what I may have said or done that left you feeling like you couldn't tell me the truth about the situation." She reminds us, "It's not about pointing fingers. Instead, it's about 'what can we do to make the relationship stronger?'"
To ensure he's open with you in the future, Dr. Jenn says to tell your partner: "I don't want you to protect me, and instead I want you to be honest with me. Your honesty is the greatest protection you can offer me." This will allow your partner to feel more comfortable being open with you. For a relationship to grow and develop, there shouldn't be any secrets. 15 Best And Worst Careers For Love
5. Are there any benefits to maintaining a work relationship?
"Having an opposite-gender confidant at work can make you smarter," suggests Dr. Walsh, adding: "Studies show that group intelligence increases when female brains are added to a male problem-solving group. And having an ally to help you negotiate office politics can be protective." A work relationship can "work" as long as you stay within your boundaries and are respectful of your partner. Leave the chatter about your partner's downfalls and your latest relationship drama for your next night out with your girlfriends.
Jen Kirsch is a relationship columnist and also relationship expert on Cosmo TV's Love Trap. You can find her work at www.blondebronzedtwentysomething.wordpress.com and follow her on Twitter @jen_kirsch.