'I told my manager she was stealing.' 13 women on what happened when they broke up with their work spouse.

Breaking up with your work spouse is a special kind of torture. 

Mostly because it is almost as painful as a romantic breakup.

It's easy to form bonded relationships with those we spend literally hours with each day.

Watch: We share the worst excuses we've used for a breakup. Post continues after video. 

Video via Mamamia.

But what happens when it all goes wrong and the one person you found comfort in at your job turns into someone you avoid at all costs?

We asked 13 women to share their (work) break-up stories. Here's what they had to say.


"My ex work wife and I we were really good friends. We would hang out outside of work and we were even looking at apartments to move in together.

"But she suddenly became really distant and argumentative at work - I was her manager at the time and she was refusing to do the majority of her work.

"My boss pulled me aside and told me she had told him that she should have my job as she could do it better. He told her he didn't agree. Since then, we haven't spoken. She ended up leaving the job and blocking me on everything."


"This is still relatively fresh, so it's a little sad to talk about, but I had a work husband who turned into a real friend. 

"We worked together on a lot of projects and just got each other. We told each other so many personal things, shared our progress in therapy, and we could relate to each other about really niche problems so it was really nice. We had both left the job we were at and we were still really good friends - he was even trying to get me a job at the company he moved across to so we could work together again.

"But one day, his tone changed over messages. He was very cold and angry and it became quite scary. He started using things I had told him in confidence as weapons to hurt me and went as far to bring his aggression to my sister's inbox when I was too upset to reply to him.

"In the end, I blocked him on everything and we haven't spoken since."



"My work wife resigned last week. I’m devastated. 

"After almost three years of bullying and gaslighting by a senior colleague at our workplace, she just couldn’t keep fighting it and quit. She was a dedicated and hard worker and one of the few people I regarded as a true friend at work. 

"Although I love my job, I don’t know how long I will last there now. I’ve never been this upset about losing a close colleague before. It feels like a break up even though we are still friends."


"I worked with this person for three years. She started off lovely, sweet, and comforting. I complained about my work problems and she always was there to listen.

"Then I realised she was using my words, twisting them, and then SHARING them with other people. I was so taken aback. I stopped trusting her, but we were a small team so I couldn't avoid her.

"Despite trying to approach the situation with kindness, she would simply brush it off and do it again three weeks later. The worst part is that she thought we were really good friends. She even asked if I would be keen to move in with her... I visibly shuddered at the thought."

Listen to The Undone's episode on broken friendships. Post continues after podcast. 


"I'm a full-time firefighter and I was working with this guy for at least five years. We were great mates... or so I thought. 

"In the firehouse, we are very close, as we work 24-hour shifts. You become like brothers and sisters. But a couple of years ago, he started to ghost me. It was so unbelievably strange. There are only four of us in the station, so when one person decides to not talk to you, it is weird! 

"I didn't understand or realise what was happening at first, but then it became toxic. I later made a bullying complaint after his behaviour escalated and we were moved to different stations.

"I was quite sad about the whole thing. It ended so bitter and twisted on his behalf."


"I got stuck in the middle between two camps in the office in a brutal take over. I was in admin but most of the office stopped speaking to me and the girls I had lunch with every day refused to associate with me.

"I did get a lovely text from my work wife after I left apologising which took away some of the hurt but it was pretty tough working in an office of 60 odd people when only five are speaking to you over something completely out of your control."


"When I was 17, my work wife became my best friend in real life. We spent every second together, even outside of our fast food job.


"Her dad kicked her out, so we started living together as my mum had a spare bedroom. She lived rent free and my other sisters loved her very much. It was a perfect time for a while.

"The thing is, my sisters are pretty blunt like me. If something is a mess, we'll point it out and say it needs to be cleaned up. We didn't think it bothered her when we said, 'Stop leaving your dirty dishes in your bedroom. Just wash them.' 

"We honestly thought of her like a sister so we didn't notice that she was upset until she threw a hot basket covered in oil 'as a joke' at my arm. We had a massive blow up over it and she revealed that she didn't like living with me.

"I didn't really understand how throwing a hot basket at me was the right way to convey she was upset but we got through it. She moved back in with her family, I quit my job, and I still see her at least once a week.

"The dynamic is a lot better this way, and she is still my friend, but she is definitely not my work wife anymore."


"As a teen I was working at a juice bar. My boss was pretty stingy and quite unethical with pay rates. He also happened to hire a lot of international students. 

"My 'work wife' was one of these students, and she was being paid abysmally like myself but she couldn't say much because she was choosing to work over 20 hours a week, which was above the work hour limit for students on visas, and therefore against the rules. After three years at the juice bar, I decided to quit, and I spoke with the business' head office about how I was underpaid severely. 

"By going to head office, I managed to secure the money I was owed - which I needed in order to afford my university fees. But in doing so, head office looked into the specific juice bar I worked at, and they stopped all the international students from working overtime. 

"This upset my work wife very much, and we didn't stay in contact afterward. I still feel bad for what happened."


"When I was a teen, I was working casually in hospitality. I met a fellow worker who was awesome, and we had great conversations - completely professional, we just got on like a house on fire. But then he told me all about his weekend on acid and asked if I wanted to join in. I wasn't keen at all. And our workplace friendship was never the same!"


"I let my work wife borrow my makeup bag to get ready after work when I was about 16, and when she gave it back, there was stuff missing. My lipstick had teeth marks on it as well. It was just a really bizarre situation. 

"I asked my manager to change my shift pattern so I could work with her as little as possible."


"I was about 14 years old when I started a job in fast food. I was also VERY shy and non-combative so I was an easy target. I had made a really lovely (or so I thought) friend who was a few years older than me. She was so confident and loud and stood up for me when I was belittled by customers or spoken down to by guys at my work.


"I dare say we had a very close friendship, and I considered her my work wife. I didn't realise until a little later that she was also taking advantage of me. It started to hit me when she told me she didn't have any money for lunch, so I offered to pay for her. She spent $30 (!!!) on lunch at a cheap fast-food restaurant! It was crazy, and that was about three hours of pay for me, but I didn't say anything. 

"After that, she just started charging meals on my cash register (which was under my name) and wouldn't pay for it so my till would come up short. It got so bad that when I got in major trouble for 'miscounting constantly', I broke down to my manager (who was a family friend whom I rarely worked with) that she was stealing. She lost her sh*t at the colleague and taught me a lot about creating boundaries. It was a pretty tough breakup for me though as she started excluding me from work hangouts and rolled her eyes at everything I said. Glad I'm not there anymore!" 


"I broke up with my work husband when he resigned to take on a much better paid job. We’d worked side by side and had a fantastic relationship. Our sense of humour is the same, and we’d laugh and cover each other’s work if one of us was sick.

"The day he announced he was leaving I was so very happy for him but of course said, 'What am I going to do without you?'

"He kindly and very honestly told me that he’s not a 'keep in touch' person and knowing him as well as I did, I totally got it and never expected more.

"In more than two years, I’ve initiated touching base only twice with him via text. Both times because I’ve found a funny meme or photo that we’d laughed about. Both times I got a hilarious response, and that was perfect. It was enough. 

"I may not ever hear from my beloved work husband again, and that’s okay. He was only a seasonal husband. But I will always think of him fondly and hope that he and his beautiful family are winning at life."


"I changed careers and my two work wives just ghosted me. I invited them to brunch, and they stood me up, never to be seen again despite trying to contact them. It was my biggest fear when changing employers again a few years later that I'd lose friends again, but thankfully these were real friends this time."

*Some names have been changed for privacy.

Have a work spouse breakup story you want to share? Let us hear it in the comments below.

Feature Image: Canva / Mamamia.