Woman Shares Her Annoyed Reaction To Someone Flirting With Her 'Work Husband'

One person’s colleague is another’s work spouse. How dare they interfere with such a relationship?

TikTok user Sarah Danielle TikTok

A woman on TikTok is adding to the ongoing debate around the concept of a "work spouse." In a video shared on the app, she showed her reaction to someone hypothetically flirting with a man she calls her "work husband."

Over the last couple of decades, a number of new terms have entered the everyday American vocabulary, especially in regards to our relationships and daily lives. At this point, most people have heard of the term “work husband” or “work wife”, but what does that actually mean?


According to an article by CNN from 2008, a work spouse is “a co-worker of the opposite sex with whom you have a close platonic relationship. In many ways, these relationships can mirror a real marriage.”

A work husband or work wife is a highly debated concept.

For some people, this might sound outlandish, but it is actually a common phenomenon in today’s workforce. Although the numbers vary, according to one study done by Simply Hired in 2017, over half of women and 44% of men in the workplace say that they have a “work spouse.” That’s a significant portion of the population.

But what makes a work spouse different from a friend? And how can the social pressure to name these unique bonds after marriages be harmful? It’s easy to see some of the appeals and concerns in this terminology right off the bat. 


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For starters, it makes complete sense for someone to pursue close-knit relationships in their workplace. After all, work is sometimes referred to as our “home away from home” given how much time we spend at it, and we as humans like having social circles and partnerships.


What’s not to love about a trusted colleague you get to see every day who won’t judge you for a messy hair day, someone who can make you smile, who you can complain to? However, on the flip side, with the term comes complications: wouldn’t it make a real married partner jealous to hear that someone else has gotten the title of “husband” or “wife”?

As this TikTok user asks, is having a work husband a good thing?

From this TikTok alone, we see how assigning someone to a role of ‘work husband’ can inspire jealousy if someone else starts making moves on a person that has been deemed “taken”, despite there supposedly being no romantic attachments involved.

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Of course, this can all start out in good fun, but how long can it really last before hurting our own feelings, or those of our partners? It is true that we spend the majority of our lives at work, and creating a deep bond comparable to marriage at work can be great for morale, but is it ethical in one’s relationships?


Well, if we return to the definition of what a work spouse really is, almost every source insists that it’s never actually romantic. These are deep, impactful, trustworthy relationships, sure, but they aren’t based in romance.

So, why can't a 'work spouse' relationship just be a friendship?

There is a trend in society so widespread that it is almost hard to clearly see, which is that friendships tend to be valued as less than romantic relationships. 

Take a look at the word choice of super common phrases like “just friends” or “only wanting to be friends,” and the way that makes it sound like friendships belong on a tier less important than romantic relationships. Think about how romantic milestones in life like marriage are celebrated, but friendships that last decades are often just seen as a side note.

Or how, on a systemic level, people who are “just friends” can’t always visit each other in the hospital. The list goes on and on, and once you notice it, it’s hard to find where it stops unraveling. 


This concept compounds when dealing with opposite-gender relationships since the idea that men and women can’t be friends has such a grip on the world. So, a friendship between a man and woman at work clearly has to be something more than a friendship, right? Clearly, it has to be on the same level as a wedded spouse in order to have any benefits or value, right?

But the truth is, relationships are incredibly important to our mental health and lives regardless of whether they are romantic in nature or not. Sometimes a close friend will be the only person who truly understands the terrible breakup you’re going through.

Sometimes laughing with and confiding in a coworker really is the highlight of your day. They don’t have to be called your spouse in order to have a meaningful impact on your life.


The words we choose have meaning, and although there’s nothing wrong with playing around with terminology you find endearing or silly, it can be helpful to consider some of the repercussions of what they mean.

So, with all that in mind, is it a good idea to have a work spouse? That’s for you to decide.

RELATED: Woman Constantly Makes Baked Goods For Her Married ‘Work Husband’ Despite His Lack Of Interest And Is Almost Reported To HR

Hawthorn Martin is a news and entertainment writer living in Texas. They focus on social justice, pop culture, and human interest stories.