By Sara Davison @SDDivorceCoach
The headlines are often full of stories about affairs, almost to the point where they have become an accepted part of married life. Infidelity affects people from all walks of life, from celebrities hooking up with their dance partners on Strictly Come Dancing, housewives and their personal trainers to bosses and their PA’s.
The excuses or reasons are often the same “We became close as we were spending a lot of time together” Or ” They really seem to understand me and appreciate me more than my spouse does”
It is true that proximity is an important factor in relationships. If you spend a lot of time around someone you find attractive you can develop deeper feelings for them, especially if you have shared experiences at work or shared passions or beliefs. It can be a welcome distraction and escape from the routine of married life with kids. If there are problems at home a colleague can seem like the answer to all the marital problems you have as they appear more willing to listen, more appreciative of you, and definitely more grateful for the things you do for them.
However, these feelings can be seriously rose tinted as you are not meeting the real person, you are meeting the side of them that shows up for work. Most of us have a professional persona we adopt for work. If something doesn’t go our way or we don’t see eye to eye with a colleague it will be dealt with in a calm, logical way so that it can be resolved. It would be inappropriate and frowned upon to shout, scream or sulk although you may find at home reactions can be quite different. Whilst this will give you insights into who they are it is easy for them to seem more idyllic than your partner at home for many reasons.
– You don’t see them first thing in the morning as they are getting out of bed
– You don’t have to share the mundane tasks at home with them
– You don’t see how they react at 3am when you are woken by a screaming kid
– They don’t have to attend awkward or boring family functions with you
The fact is that there is no commitment or responsibility for them as you are married. It’s easy to be a shoulder to cry on and to boost your confidence with compliments when there is no way that you can be together. But as soon as your marriage ends you may find that you are in a different situation.
Whilst of course there are work affairs that blossom, I have seen many more affairs come to an abrupt end as soon as one party decides to get a divorce. The cold harsh reality is that while you were married there was no infringement on their freedom, however as soon as you are single there is a lot more pressure, especially if there are children involved. It may not be intentional or callous, it may just be because the foundation that your relationship was built on has changed and the new dynamic no longer works.
On top of all this in many workplaces it would be deemed inappropriate to be having a relationship with someone in the same company. It can make colleagues feel uncomfortable and may also reflect badly on you. I have worked with clients who have been sidelined because of their personal lives affecting others in the office, and it can be devastating if you have worked hard for years to achieve your position.
So think carefully before you start an affair at work as it may not just jeopardise your marriage, it could ruin your career as well.
For more advice from Sara or information on Divorce Coaching, you can log on to her website www.saradavison.com or follower her on twitter @SDDivorceCoach