A lot of affairs happen with co-workers. The reasons for this are many; you spend a lot of time with co-workers, sometimes more than with your partner or spouse. People at work are often putting their best foot forward in terms of how they dress and present themselves. You don’t see what they look like first thing in the morning before hair and make-up; you don’t really see them when they are sick and miserable, and people usually try to get along with their boss and co-workers, so they save their “grumpy” selves for when they are at home.

Wrong though it may be, people often give their best at work and save the leftovers, emotionally and physically, for their partners and kids.

All of these factors combine to create an atmosphere where unhealthy emotional connections can start to develop that can evolve into an adulterous relationship over time. This cheating can be either emotional or physical. Before this happens though, there is usually one key ingredient that needs to be there to get the ball rolling.

This one key ingredient is made up of two parts: first, there is strain in the person’s marriage to begin with, and they are feeling like their needs are not being met in some way. Second, they meet someone at work who meets those exact needs for them in a way their partner does not.

For example, a guy is feeling under-appreciated at home by his wife. She is not praising him a whole lot, not speaking his love-language, perhaps she is an Intimacy Anorexic (see previous posts). As a result his “love tank” is empty. The emotional bank account is “over-drawn”. Then he goes to work and his rather attractive co-worker, who always looks fantastic and is upbeat and perky, starts to compliment him on things. She pays attention to him, and validates him. She is “into him” and he feels wanted and important. This goes on for months and months….meanwhile at home he feels like he is living in an emotional wasteland. If he is with an Anorexic he feels like a roommate. Meanwhile, the attention from Ms. Coworker is intoxicating…he can’t get enough.

Guess what? He starts to feel an emotional “connection” with this co-worker. He starts to think about her when he is not at work. He thinks about her when he is getting dressed in the morning and putting his cologne on (“I wonder if she will like this” he thinks). He tries to go out of his way to make sure he talks to her at work, perhaps they have lunch or coffee breaks together. One thing leads to another…

This is a classic text-book case of how affairs happen. One person is not getting their emotional needs met at home, and someone at work fills in the gaps. They feel “whole” when they are around this person. The big mistake they make is that they think that it is the person who is fulfilling them, but it is actually the behaviours that they are doing that is making them feel so good. If their husband or wife at home started to do the same behaviours, they would feel fulfilled in that relationship.

If this is happening to you, be careful. An affair is just around the corner. Take the time you spend investing in that co-worker and start to invest it in your primary relationship. Get counselling, read a book, have a heart-to-heart talk and plan on how you can improve your marriage. Read this blog and see if one or both of you is anorexic. If you are, get some help. Just know this….everything you think that this affair with the co-worker will give you, it won’t. If you develop feelings for this person, it will only end in pain. Either pain for your spouse when they learn you cheated on them, or pain for the co-worker when they develop feelings for you and then realize that it can never happen. Some things are just never meant to be.

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