Can everyone agree that the term “work wife” has got to go? It’s just weird and outdated and sexualizes what should be a professional working environment.
Take this Redditor’s plight: his “work wife” (a term he also detests but one she herself has taken on) started acting inappropriately at the OP’s wife’s baby shower by bringing up her self-declared “work wife” status over and over again.
When the OP asked her to please stop the weird behavior, she left the party—and his other coworkers believe he acted too harshly.
“I (29m) work in a pretty tight workspace. We have about 9 of us in my department and it’s a pretty even split between men and women. There’s one coworker “Eva” (20f) who started working here a few months back. She’s really good at her job and seems to get along with everyone. We get along well as we work on projects together and are usually in the group of people that are the last to leave most days.”
“I learned some weeks ago that she was calling herself my ‘work wife.’ I knew what the term meant, the sentiment wasn’t shared, and I’ve expressed as much. I don’t think I’ve been rude about it, I just let her know that I’d prefer for her to keep things a bit more professional. There’s no real harm in the term, but for someone who doesn’t understand the joke, it just looks and sounds wrong. I’m also a happily married man, and my coworkers including Eva know this.”
Well, the OP thought he did a pretty good job of putting a stop to all the “work wife” stuff, so he invited her to his wife’s baby shower. Unfortunately, Eva started acting weird when she arrived at the shower.
“Eva comes in and immediately starts back up with the jokes. ‘You’re OP’s home wife? Nice to meet you!’, ‘it’s so nice to see who takes care of my hubby when I send him home!’ My wife is a very sweet and patient woman so she just laughed it off, albeit uncomfortably and moved on.
However the jokes got worse and wouldn’t let up. At one point Eva was telling people she would be our baby’s second mom.
My wife’s friends and family were annoyed and my wife looked very uncomfortable. I had pretty much had it by then, and took her aside and told her that the jokes weren’t funny and that she could either apologize to my wife right now for being so inconsiderate and gross, or she could just leave. She chose to leave.”
To make things even more awkward, the OP’s coworkers said that the OP “should have let her down easier” because it’s “obvious she likes you.”
So did the OP act too harshly? Or did Eva’s inappropriate behavior rightfully earn her the boot? Furthermore, should the OP be worried about his work relationship?
“NTA. Send HR an email about this behavior to get it on the record,” advised 0biterdicta.
“NTA. I don’t think ‘work wife’ is cute, especially in that situation. Your wife was probably mortified, but I am sure it helped that you handled the situation and stood up for her. She must be very patient and sweet because I’m not sure I would have been able to keep my mouth shut. You have addressed this with Eva before…I’d borderline say it’s harassment at this point. It’s not cute, it’s not funny and Eva needs to be a mature adult and act like a professional. Completely inappropriate, but especially at you and your ACTUAL WIFE’s baby shower,” said SiriusBlacksTattoos.
“NTA, you already asked her to stop once before. Forcing the ‘work wife’ thing outside of work is creepy and super unprofessional. She chose to leave, rather than stop like you asked. How dare she say such things in front of your wife at her baby shower? Gross,” said rellyy_fishh.
“NTA. Not only is she acting unprofessionally after you’ve discussed the issue with her, it’s kinda creepy she continues the fantasy in your own home. She knows you are married with a kid on the way. There is no excuse for her behavior. ‘Obvious she likes you’ or not. It’s beyond inappropriate and time for her to move on,” said Davinaaa28.
“You should have ‘let her down easier?’ F that. This was grossly inappropriate and possibly something you should consider reporting to HR. And if your co-workers have been encouraging this, that is problematic as hell too. Oh, and sexual harassment works both ways–after you told her she was making you uncomfortable she crossed that line,” said IAmHerdingCatz.
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