The average worker spends about one third of their time at work – 122 days a year, 8 hours a day. And this doesn’t include commuting time.
That is one third of their life spent away from friends, family and hobbies. One third of their life bonding with co-workers and one third of their lives most likely working under stressful conditions.
That is a lot of time. And that is why so many people find that their work lives take over their personal lives, often at the expense of families and friends.
A study done by Forbes found that one in five people surveyed have had an affair with a co-worker. That is 20 people out of every 100 people surveyed.
That is a big number.
When I researched these statistics, I found that almost every human resource study cautioned about the prevalence of these affairs and addressed the massive affect it has on business and on individuals.
If having a workplace affair isn’t destructive enough, being single and having a workplace affair with a married man can push things over the top. Over the top in a way that has the power to destroy lives.
I would like to share with you now why having an affair at work with a married man is a REALLY bad idea.
Perhaps if you are clear about what can happen, you might make a different decision about what you are considering doing!
#1 – It will affect your performance.
There is literally nothing more important than having excellent job performance.
With excellent job performance you get accolades, raises and promotions. You feel good about yourself and you are respected by your co-workers. You have confidence that you can do what needs to get done, no matter how difficult.
If you are reading this article, you are probably aware of how distracting an affair can be, even if it hasn’t been consummated. Time that you used to spend focusing on work is now spent in corners chatting with your person. Daydreaming about them instead of doing the tasks assigned to you. Sneaking out for lunches and meeting on the stairwell for a chat.
All of these things are fun and feel good but they are not good for your performance. And, if your job performance fails, you might just lose it and then where you will be?
#2 – It will affect your professional reputation.
I have a client who has been having an affair with a married man for a long time. They work in the same profession and, for a long time, they made it work. Until it didn’t.
A few years in, their affair became public. Every person they worked with knew about it. Their superiors got wind of it too and word about what they had been doing on the side started to spread out across the industry.
He was denied a well-earned promotion and had to eventually leave the industry. She stayed but was never looked at the same way again.
Granted, having an affair is not quite as taboo as it was back in the day but, know that, cheating on a spouse is something that could dramatically affect your reputation in your business world. Again, not a good thing!
#3 – It could lead you to leave your job.
I have a client who was having an affair with a married man at work. They lived in different cities but they were constantly on Zoom calls with each other and their customers. They travelled for business and relished those times in their affair bubble.
Until – his wife found out. And she went crazy.
She called my client, yelling at her for being a tramp. She threatened to call their bosses and expose what they had been doing. She told her to stay away from her husband, or else!
My client was left in an untenable position. She had to interact with her affair partner every day. They had to travel together or they wouldn’t make the sales they needed. She knew that if his wife reported the affair, she was the one who would get the blame, as women often do (that is a whole ‘nother blog topic). And he wasn’t letting her go – still calling and telling her he loved her and asking her to meet.
Ultimately, my client had to leave a job that she loved and walk away from a potential raise and bonus that she had worked hard for.
All because she became involved in an affair with a married man at work. You can believe me she regrets it!
#4 – It won’t be easy to walk away.
One of the most important parts of getting over a love affair, whether it involves infidelity or not, is going “no contact.”
It’s almost impossible to let go of someone who you are still talking to, especially if the love is still there. I always encourage my clients to block their ex everywhere if they want to get on with their lives.
Unfortunately, if you are trying to get out of an affair that you are having with a married guy at work, you are going to have a really tough time cutting off contact with them.
Like my client above, she knew that the affair was over but he wasn’t willing to accept it. Because he had access to her through work, he was always there in front of her. She tried to act professionally and keep him at arm’s length but he led her down a path that she no longer wanted to go.
She ultimately had to leave her job so that she could get the “no contact” that she needed and find the love that she wanted.
#5 – It will be harder to keep it secret.
I have a client who was having an affair with a married man. They were both stay-at-home parents and it was easy to find time to be together. The hours that the kids were at school, the play dates they would do together, running into each other at the grocery store. Their lives were somewhat conducive to their affair (which often happens).
Imagine if you are having an affair at work. You are surrounded by co-workers at least 8 hours a day, co-workers who know each other really well and who like to, like all co-workers, gossip.
If you are working side by side with your affair partner, the attraction might be incredibly obvious to others, even if you don’t think it is. And, if even one person gets verification that the affair is happening, before you know it, everyone will know.
You know how hard it is to keep any secrets at work. Why do you think that you could keep this one?
#6 – It could lead to a sexual harassment claim.
Back in the day when women first joined the workplace and affairs became more common, sexual harassment pretty much didn’t exist.
Whether it was a man who seduced his secretary or co-workers who started an affair or even people who were just being sexually inappropriate, sexual relationships between men and women at work were basically ignored.
There was no social taboo life there is today – in fact, work place affairs were often considered sexy and exciting and, for many women, just a part of what they had to deal with as part of the workplace.
Things aren’t this way now. Now, whether you are a man or a woman, if you are caught up in a sexual relationship with anyone in your office, you open yourself up to a sexual harassment suit.
Sexual harassment, for those who don’t know, is defined as: behavior characterized by the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances in a workplace or other professional or social situation.
Sexual harassment claims are usually filed by women but it has happened that men will file a claim too, especially if they are having an affair with a superior or if they try to break things off and aren’t allowed to.
So, if there is one reason to avoid having an affair with a married man at work it’s to avoid a very messy, and potentially expensive, sexual harassment suit.
#7 – It could lead to favoritism.
Ideally, if they must occur, workplace affairs would take place only between co-workers. Their status in the company would be equal, must like they would be in the real world.
If they were equals, there would be no challenging power dynamic that might exist between a superior and their employee, one in which there might be an opportunity for a manager to display favoritism, something that could be the kiss of death for anyone’s career.
Unfortunately, more often than not, there is a power dynamic at play in a workplace relationship which can, no matter how careful one is, lead to favoritism.
Think about a real world romance. Isn’t that person your priority? Don’t you choose them first to do fun things with? Don’t you give them the best seat in the house or give them small tokens of your affection? Don’t you do those things without even thinking about them?
Well, unless you are very careful, those tendencies that you have, to be a giver in a relationship, will show up in the workplace. And there is nothing worse for an employee than being conceived of as a superior’s favorite.
If their co-workers believe that the reasons that they are having successes or getting the best opportunities are because the boss wants it to happen not because of their work efforts or ethic, someone’s career can fall apart quickly. So, know that, no matter how hard you try, not playing favorites with a subordinate affair partner will be almost impossible.
#8 – It could create conflict with co-workers.
We often spend more time with our co-workers then we do with our families and they are a big part of our quality of life. They are important to us not only professionally but personally and socially. Having friendships at work makes it a better place. Conversely, having an enemy at work can make things really bad.
As I said above, having an affair at work will almost guarantee that you will create conflict with your co-workers. It might not happen at first but as time goes on, it will.
They will see you being opaque with your activities or making time for one co-worker in particular. They might see you getting more opportunities for advancement and they might see that you aren’t doing your job well. All of those things will affect your co-workers in different ways, none of them positive.
So, look around. Imagine if your co-workers found out what was going on. Would they be happy? I am guessing not.
#9 – It could destroy your life.
If I haven’t already made it clear to you how much having an affair with a married man at work is a terrible idea, let me summarize.
Having an affair with a married man at work could make your work suffer. It could damage your relationship with your co-workers. You could be denied opportunities because of fear of favoritism. You might have to leave a job that you love and that you are good at, just to get away from your affair partner. You could lose your reputation in your industry and might find it difficult to get the recommendations that you need should you move on.
Most importantly, you might lose the financial resources that you need to keep yourself fed and clothed – not something anyone wants.
So there you might be, no job, reputation ruined and a difficult road ahead professionally, all because you couldn’t resist the advances of a man you had no business getting involved with in the first place.
Know this – having an affair with a married man, especially one at work, has the potential to make your life very messy.
So there you go – why having an affair at work with a married man is a really bad idea.
I know that you think that this guy is your soulmate but I can promise you that he isn’t. He is a married man who is looking for someone to make him feel better about his pathetic life and who has chosen you for that role. A role that benefits him in every way but that could make your life a living hell.
There are lots of great guys in the world. Shut down this guy at work and go out and find someone who is fully available. You just might get your happily ever after if you do!