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Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper: Can Work Marriages Work?

03/26/2015 03:24 pm ET | Updated May 26, 2015
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The on-screen chemistry shared by actors Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper is so true to life, it is hard to believe it isn't real. The two can be seen everywhere from Silver Linings Playbook to American Hustle to their upcoming project Serena. Both admit to being each other's work spouses, but insist there is no sex in their relationship. Having a close relationship with someone at work can happen to anyone, not just movie stars. You don't actually have to be "playing" husband and wife onscreen to feel like you are just that, to an extent. It can happen in any job setting. The question is, how entangled can you become with that person, and where do you draw the line so the relationship doesn't negatively affect other parts of your life?

Defining the boundaries and being clear about how far and where you can take the connection can, in fact, make the friendship better and allow you to fall into the zone where flirting can be fun but safe. It also makes room for your chemistry to kick in because it eliminates the constant question of whether or not you're going to take this relationship to the next level. You know the answer is no, so that gives you room to express yourself more freely. Many friendships between men and women are punctuated by attraction which is never acted on, but keeps the relationship exciting and alive. In the end, though, it isn't just about that energy and flirtation, it is more about knowing each other well, working well together, having each other's backs, and especially experiencing the security of the trust you share. While people often joke that the relationship has the dimensions of a marriage, it is, in fact, really about the camaraderie.

If you aren't in a romantic relationship outside of work, knowing the limits of your "work marriage" is important so you won't end up disappointed if it never goes beyond what it already is. If you are dating or married to another person, knowing those limits is even more important so it doesn't spill over the walls of the office and create jealousy or a perceived threat to your partner. With that in mind, if you are spending time with your "work spouse" outside of work, invite your significant others to join you. That way they will feel included in your friendship instead of excluded. Along those lines, if you spend personal time together make sure it is work-related, rather than simply going out to have a good time, so that there is no question about what you are doing when you're together.

As "work spouses" and actors, Jennifer and Bradley might be put in more questionable situations than most who are close and share an office because of the specific roles they are playing. Even so, as long as they hold onto the agreed-upon boundaries, they will be able to leave their "work marriage" on the set and live their personal lives without complications.

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