Despite a spate of media attention in recent years and implications for both work and family relationships, communication scholars have yet to study work-spouse relationships. Since popular press sources have often focused on the nature of and propriety of such relationships, the purpose of this study was to empirically examine how work spouses characterized their relationships. We analyzed 269 participants’ open-ended responses to a survey, which yielded five categories: (a) characteristics of a work spouse, (b) conditions for the work-spouse relationship, (c) characteristics of the work-spouse relationship, (d) functions of work spouses, and (e) ways of managing the work-spouse relationship. From this analysis, we construct a definition of the relationship and chart a course of future research for communication scholars.
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