Your spouse is working long hours on a project. The co-worker he or she is teamed up with is funny, smart and, well, yes, attractive. But you’re happily married with children, and straying is morally wrong and far from their thoughts. Or is it? Instead of eating dinner at home, your spouse ends up grabbing a quick bite with their colleague. Instead of confiding in you their deepest fears about work, they talk to their co-worker. Then one day your spouse tells her or him that you are drifting apart from your loved one.
With work and tending to the children, you just don’t talk anymore. Their colleague is a good listener. And he or she knows how your spouse feels. Your spouse wishes you could be more open like the colleague. It’s late. Their hands touch, and there is a spark. It might take days, weeks, or even months, but your spouse slides from being “just” friends to becoming lovers. The unavoidable closeness, commonalities in life, and the amount of time together can lead to friendship. They end up spending a great deal of time, on occasion more time than they spend at home, with this new “friend” so the friendship can become very deep.
The co-worker is a relatable friend to talk to, someone who empathizes with them and does not bring any of the stress that home often has, making them all the more attractive.
According to recent research, 46 percent of unfaithful wives and 62 percent of unfaithful husbands had affairs with someone at work. For women, the number of those having affairs has steadily grown – from 1982 to 1990, 38 percent of unfaithful wives had work affairs compared with 50 percent of cheating wives from 1991 to 2000.
What causes both men and women to get involved in workplace affairs is that so much of their energy and the best part of themselves is experienced at work. Then they come home depleted and have to give time to the children leaving no time or energy for their spouse.