During an unprecedented time like this many of us find our relationships shifting, including that of our work relationships.
But perhaps joking about a wedding ceremony when everyone goes back to work is going a touch too far.
A woman complained about how her fiancé and his coworkers made her feel after they joked about him having a ceremony to "renew his vows" with his "work wife" when they all finally return to work.
It's a term the office has been using for her fiancé and one of his female coworkers for some time. His real life fiancée was unsettled by the attention he was putting into the planning of the fake ceremony.
The Redditor asked the thread:
"[Am I the A**hole] for demanding my fiancé tell his coworkers that he will NOT be renewing his vows with his 'work wife' when they return to the office?"
She explained first that her fiancé and one of his coworkers have been labeled work spouses for a long time.
"My fiancé Mark works closely with a woman—Megan. They both have similar responsibilities and need to work together as a team. I've never had any problems with this. They don't really interact outside of work."
While the couple has been working from home, her fiancé has had to have work Zoom meetings.
"We have been working from home the last several weeks. I happened to be in the living room with him yesterday while his office had their weekly zoom meeting."
During his most recent meeting, they may have taken the work spouse joke too far.
"During that meeting, people began talking about what they wanted to do when everyone returned to the office. I could hear someone say that my fiancé and Megan must really miss each other. Several other people began referring to them as 'work wife' and 'work husband'."
"Then someone suggested that my fiancé and Megan should 'renew their vows' when everyone is back in the office."
"Mark just played along and joked that they would be registered at Office Depot. I left the living room in tears while he continued, oblivious to how I was feeling."
The Redditor didn't like how involved with the jokes her fiancé was.
"I confronted him after the call and said I felt humiliated. Our wedding was supposed to be in September but we've had to postpone it and it's not clear when it will be safe to reschedule. And here he is talking about renewing his vows with someone from work?"
"Mark explained that it was just joke and not a big deal. He tried to show me some joke article his office had been passing around about how teleworking is ruining work wife relationships. I said the term 'work wife' itself is offensive and humiliating because I'm supposed to be his wife."
She now also wants her fiancé to put a stop to the office talk.
"I demanded that at his next meeting he needed to publicly apologize to his office and tell them that he will NOT be 'renewing his vows' with Megan because he is ENGAGED to marry someone else. I said he also needs to tell his office that they need to stop calling him and Megan work spouses."
"He says he can't do that because it will be embarrassing and hurt his reputation at work with his colleagues. I said 'oh, is it hard to feel embarrassed? i would never know what that's like.' He called me an a**hole."
But now that she's had a chance to calm down, she wants a second opinion about the situation.
"Now that I've cooled down a little I need to figure out if I overreacted."
The Redditors anonymously voted in, using the following scale:
- NTA: "Not the A**hole"
- YTA: "You're the A**hole"
- ESH: "Everyone Sucks Here"
- NAH: "Not the A**hole"
Some suggested it may be easier, especially right now, to joke about a fake ceremony than to plan a real one.
"Let's look at it this way, maybe it's easier to plan a fake work wedding because that's what it is, fake. It's a joke. People can throw anything into the planning because it has no real repercussions since, you know, it's fake." - flight_porter
"Or, and hear me out, it's more enjoyable to plan something that will never happen and make it outrageous then to try and over step what he may see as her big day. So he doesn't want to take any chances or start any fights."
"Considering this is how she reacted to an obvious work joke that no reasonable person ( not saying she isn't reasonable just emotional) would take seriously, how could she react if he suggested heavily they have this flower and not that one. It's a fear most men have about weddings as it's been commercialized to be the woman's big day." - fire_but_laughgas
"lol it's easy to fake plan because you just come up with ridiculous ideas without having to do research or call anyone. Actual wedding planning is highly stressful, with lots of different things involved. Should he help plan the wedding, sure, but to compare his fake planning for a fake wedding to planning for a real wedding is too much." - dessertandcheese
Others said they agreed the terms for "work spouses" are lame, but they still felt the OP overreacted in the end.
"Right, from the title I was fully expecting to be on OPs side. The idea of a 'work spouse' is so profoundly dumb, just say you're friends. But walking out in tears over the joke is such an over reaction, and him releasing a statement to his office is ridiculous."
"If someone raises it again he shouldn't play along, but he can move conversation on or say he doesn't like the term politely whilst still remaining chill." - keeponyrmeanside
"To echo what others have said, 'work wife/husband is a really stupid and kind of insensitive term. You have a right to feel hurt and angry."
"However it does seem like an inconsiderate joke that has no real bearing on your relationship. For that reason making him backtrack in front of his whole office would come across as kind of intense and embarrassing for him over a joke. It also makes you seem a little insecure, even if you are in the right."
"If he doesn't respect your wishes and not get involved with these jokes from now on, he's the AH, but I don't think asking him to make a statement is fair. ESH" - psychololo
"Uhuh...you've never heard of an elaborate joke have you? This wasn't serious for JFC. First off think logically why would he plan a real wedding to his work wife in front of you if he wasn't joking? That literally makes no sense."
"ESH you need to tone it down on the talking to work thing because you're coming across as a controlling psycho who can't take a joke." - super_poggielicious
"News at 11: Work employees make jokes about funny topic during world crisis..."
"You are angry because he was joking around? You interact more with your co-workers than you do your significant other. They are bound to be close. Just as you said, they don't have a relationship outside of work and he hasn't shown any signs of deviance."
"It's a joke.... People at work are getting more and more worked up and crazy due to Corona, and you likely are too. Take a step back, realize what you are asking is extremely embarrassing and will impact his career, and move on" - Connorray51
Some, on the other hand, said it wouldn't be too much to ask for the OP's fiancé to say something to deter the next conversation.
"I honestly feel like it wouldn't be that unreasonable to ask him to say something like "hey, these jokes kind of hurt my fiancee's feelings, could we cool it down since the pandemic is a little stressful for everyone?"
"But demanding he apologize and shut it down immediately is too far and will not end well" - MiniPlesiosaur
"This is how I'm feeling too. I agree with ESH because OP overreacted, but tons of people are saying that her fiance needs to blow off steam because it's a stressful time during this pandemic."
"Like.... OP is stressed too! We don't know her work situation but from what she's said here she's clearly stressed about rearranging a wedding that was already planned and seemingly by herself! Everyone's stressed, I'm honestly not surprised she got so upset by something like this, I feel like I see more and more people cracking as the days go on." - msbookish
"Yeah, it might be more effective to just stop engaging in that kind of talk. Whenever people start making jokes like this, just say it's weird and change the subject. In most cases people move on but if they don't, then have the direct conversation." - 3lydia5
The couple for sure needs to have a conversation—about what the Redditor needs for their relationship and what her partner needs for work.
*If you enjoyed this article, you can read more like it by clicking on the AITA link below.*