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We don’t usually think of the workplace as a hotbed for romance, but the Associated Press Journal of Marital and Family Therapy says 36% of men and women admit to having an affair with a coworker (and those are just the ones who ‘fessed up). It’s not rocket science: you spend a lot of time with someone whose work ethic you admire, or maybe it’s their sense of cool under pressure, or their mysterious ability to unfreeze your computer screen with a stern look. And frankly, it’s refreshing to look forward to going to work instead of dreading it.
But when casual chit-chat with a co-worker turns to soul-baring conversations, you are beginning to build what Nina Chen Ph.D, a human development specialist for the University of Missouri, calls emotional intimacy, which is often how workplace extra-marital affairs begin. “When people have an office affair, they no longer spend time working on their marriage,” she says. And far from being a casual thrill, office romances can destroy even good marriages. To avoid the slippery slope of falling for an affair with a coworker, Chen advises taking that energy and focusing it on reimagining your marriage.
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See also: Seven Ways to Reconnect with Your Partner
Talk, talk, talk. Chen suggests committing to open communication daily about the issues that affect you and your spouse. “Make sure to have couple-time and dates regularly,” she says. “Time with your spouse alone every day can be a time for reconnecting and recharging your emotional batteries.”
Prioritize. Make your marriage number one and adjust your thinking accordingly. Thoughts don’t always become actions, but “thinking about intimacy with your coworker…may increase chances of acting on those thoughts when there’s an opportunity,” Chen says.