Basically, what the title says, but here's some context. So me (24F) and my husband (24M) met in second year of college and got married after college. I had only come to this country for graduation and stayed because I got a good job and a boyfriend.
As much as I love being here, in new environment, I never felt comfortable adopting western trends and practices. I was always a bit conservative and my husband had absolutely no problem with it. He was happy swapping out bar hangouts and getting drunk with a quiet night in the house.
I also never had any reason to suspect that he might be unfaithful. Although all his office stories, or at least most of it, revolved around a girl, "Amy." Again, never thought much of it.
Yesterday, while he was getting ready for work, he got a call and from a number that was named, "Workwife ♥️." Now, that shocked me beyond belief. I'm usually not the one to snoop around but I opened their chat and there were a lot of hearts and nicknames involved.
This hurt me a lot and I immediately confronted him about it. He first got defensive and then slowly calmed down as I kept pushing. He said, and I quote, "Everyone has work wives these days and it's sad that you don't have one." So, a 'work husband' I assume or something?
He had a very condescending tone and again; I got very upset. If I wanted a "work husband" I could easily get one. But of course, I don't because I would consider that an act of disrespect to my partner. I just kicked him out with his work bag and he didn't come back home for the night.
When I told this to my friends (who are natives there), they said that I'm the AH for making a big deal out of nothing. They said it's a common thing to do these days and it doesn't necessarily mean that he is cheating or that he intends to.
After mulling it over, I do feel that's the case. I've tried calling him and texting but he just sent one text that said that he needs space. What do y'all think?
NTA. I have had work wives. There were no heart emojis in the contacts or the text messages. We were stuck at the hip because of projects. We built platonic friendships while respecting the boundaries of our partners. I have some great lifelong friendships built this way.
However, your husband didn't respect your boundaries and flipped the blame on you. He's made himself out to be the victim by making you feel like the abnormal one. You have every right to feel uncomfortable with contact name and text messages.
I wouldn't listen to your friends because the boundaries are yours, not theirs. Your husband married you and your boundaries. If he didn't want to be with someone a bit conservative, he shouldn't have.
Why does working closely with someone of the opposite gender make them your work wife or husband? The terminology is just weird and you don’t have to use it, you can just call them friends or something.
The workwife/workhusband thing is fairly common, but it is also a fairly common problem in relationships and actual marriages. It's totally fine to have someone at work with whom you can commiserate about the niche annoyances at work, as well as having a trusted confidante for specific work related issues to be a sounding board. Especially when that person already knows all the inner workings of the work environment.
However, assigning a person a nickname or pet name that is uniquely used by one person starts to mimic a lot of the, for want of better term, intimacy of an actual relationship, especially when the pet name in question (workwife) is a sort of a pseudo-title that you're supposed to hold exclusively: wife.
Add to it his condescension about your feelings and you've got the makings of a genuine problem in your marriage. TBH, couples counseling may be helpful.
NTA A workwife is not someone you share intimate thoughts, notes, heart emojis etc. It’s more of a partnership in work duties or schedules so you end spending more time together. It is not a sexual relationship. It is not commonplace and found more in TV shows and movies. What your husband has is a girlfriend and an affair.
This sounds dangerously like an emotional affair. I’ve worked with men and been friendly enough to jokingly be called a work wife. Even then, we rarely texted unless it was work related and it was never cutesy.
The fact they have nicknames, also known as “pet names” for each other is a bit weird. I dunno girl, be very careful that he isn’t crossing a line with this co-worker. NTA at all he’s downplaying and that makes it even more suspicious.
NTA. I have had a "work husband", because our positions at work had us working together as a team on a lot of things and I literally saw him more than anyone else in life. However, he turned into my REAL husband - so, the term/concept of a work wife/husband is not as innocent as a lot of people try to make it to be.
That line gets blurred hella easily and the blurring of said line is only okay if both folks are single and there is not a power dynamic that would make a real relationship inappropriate, professionally and personally. We were both single and after lots of discussion about what a relationship would do to our professional lives, we then became a real couple and eventually married.
That "work wife/husband" stuff was really how we flirted and built up romantic feelings with each other during work hours and kept it professional, in all honesty.
I will also add: if it was completely innocent and she was just a colleague where there was nothing else going on - you'd be VERY familiar with his "work wife", to the point where you'd speak with her often and you wouldn't have discovered her in his phone like that.
After marrying my "work husband" and him becoming my real husband, the next workplace I was at had me working just as closely with a fellow supervisor, to the point where others would say that man was my "work husband."
But, this time, I made it clear that it was inappropriate term because I had a real husband and my real husband was very much acquainted with this supervisor to the point where they had a cordial friendship themselves.
There was no secrecy, communication outside of work that my husband didn't know about, and when I stopped working there, I stopped speaking with/communication with that person because he was nothing more than a coworker at that workplace and nothing more.
There is a lot more going on with your husband and this "work wife" and you are not wrong for reacting like this, no matter what he tells you...