Being married requires your full attention in today’s society. I’m not sure about how this was in the past, but today, it seems more and more that the family unit is under attack. And, while I don’t know from personal experience, I have observed more times than I would have preferred that relationship breakdowns derail every aspect of your life. You cannot possibly stay effective during a divorce. To keep your marriage intact and thriving, I suggest the following.
1. Avoid social media engagements with past relationships. This might seem innocent or harmless, and I’m sure there are times when it is. But this is too risky and sends the wrong message to others, and, most importantly your spouse. Leave the past alone. You don’t need to engage with people you dated and console them through a divorce. Let their same gender friends handle that one.
2. Avoid being alone with members of the opposite sex. I can hear people trying to justify this as I write this. “What if we’re the last two in the office?” might be someone’s response. Plan ahead. Be accountable. Ask another coworker to stay, or finish your work at home. Being alone is asking for trouble. Even if nothing happens between you, others will talk. Worse yet, what if your coworker gets upset with you and spreads slanderous rumors. If your reputation matters to you, that should be enough to convince you. This is why, for instance, my executive assistant is virtual. She knows just about everything about me, and working off site is a hedge I thought was important. My friends at eaHelp agree. In fact, they even list this as one of their benefits.
3. When meeting off-sight with someone of the opposite sex, take someone with you. Be careful not to violate #4 below, though. “It’s just lunch.” is a lie. You might not mean anything by it, but what if a patient sees you with someone else. I guarantee they will think something about it. What if someone from church sees you? Or, what if your spouse walks in to Panera that day. How would he or she feel? You might be completely innocent, but it doesn’t appear that way.
4. Never ever ever be in a car alone with a member of the opposite sex. There’s no one else present. Conversations (or worse) can happen that should never be had. While I’m not suggesting that one ride alone could destroy your marriage, it certainly has the potential to. I know about this potential from experience. In a past position I held, the team I was on would travel for projects together. While in California, I was the designated driver at a banquet we attended, since I wasn’t drinking. I drove one group back to our hotel, since they were done for the night, while the other group wanted to stay longer. I agreed that I would come back and pick the other group up. When I returned, my superior had sent the rest of the group away, and it was going to be just the two of us in the car. I immediately felt uncomfortable, knowing we would be in the car alone, because she had made some comments in the past that caught my attention. While they could have been interpreted a number of different ways, I thought more than once, I’m surprised she said that as a married woman.
Our ride back to the hotel included her admission of things I had no business ever knowing, and, while nothing beyond that conversation ever happened, the door was certainly wide open, had I chosen to walk through it. This created a lot of confusion and subsequent heart ache in my marriage, because my wife, rightfully so, held the position that I was equally wrong for ignoring my conviction to call my superior a cab, and for allowing such a conversation to commence. I agree with her, which is why I re-committed all those years ago, I would never allow myself to be in a compromising situation like that again.
These tips, while they might make me sound like a prude or out of touch with reality, will undoubtedly save the appearance of anything dangerous, or more, infidelity from occurring.
What are some safeguards you think should be in place for married people in the workplace?