09 August 2010

Affair Proofing Yourself at Work

I recently went to a restaurant and saw and heard something frightening!  There was a man and a woman doing business over lunch.  Their conversation, at first, was about business.  However, after their meal, their conversation turned personal.  She started disclosing about her husband and the struggles that they were having.  This male colleague was being very sympathetic by listening to her issues.  However, I was having a little panic attack.  That woman’s marriage was at stake! This is how affairs get started, by confiding emotionally in someone else of the opposite gender besides your spouse.

Of course, an affair was probably not on her mind as she was disclosing.  She was probably feeling relief in sharing, and he probably thought he was being helpful by listening.  But is that not how relationships start?  You start talking about something that you have in common, and as you start trusting each other, you share more information about yourself.

This highlights how we need to be cautious in our work environment, especially as both partners participate in the workforce.

There are several things that you can do to keep your marriage safe while at work.

First, if you are having a business lunch meeting, try making it a group of three, instead of two.  That way the conversation may be prevented from entering into personal relationships.

Second, keep the appointment short. Just like the restaurant in California, In-N-Out.  You want to be in and out of your appointment.  One hour.  If you know you have one hour to meet, it will ensure that you only discuss business, because you have only an hour.  Use this rule, even if you do or do not have a third person.

Third, meet with your colleague in a public location.  Starbucks, Tim Hortons, or whatever it may be.  Meet in a high traffic area.  You will be less tempted to do things or talk about things you shouldn’t be talking about with all those ears potentially listening in.

Fourth, keep in touch with your spouse during the day.  A text, email, or phone call.  Just so that you can say, “I love you” or “thinking about you” during the day.  It will remind you of your family.

Fifth, seek help, if needed. If that last paragraph just drove you crazy. Or maybe you feel things are a little on the rocks.  Meet with a Counsellor or Therapist in confidentiality.  That way you can talk things through with an individual who will not become emotionally involved.

Sixth, establish safe people.  This is primarily for women, because they have much more of a need to talk then men.  Safe people are people okayed by your spouse that you can talk to about life.  It is only those people you can talk to.  It can be your best friend, mother, father, sister, cousin, whoever.  But it is only them that you can go to and talk to.

By doing these things, you can help protect your marriage.  You will be able to prevent yourself from being in a situation where you are disclosing too much information, or your colleague is disclosing too much.