Losing a job can cause serious mental and emotional strain; this stress can be exacerbated when there is a relationship in place to consider. Meghan Stone offers some helpful tips on how to support a partner who has lost a job.
Unfortunately, these days dealing with a partner who is out of work is quite a common experience. Unemployment is a stressful situation, not only for the person experiencing it, but for their partners as well.
Money is one of the most common things that couples fight about, and it’s one of the top reasons why many relationships end. There is no question that employment in a relationship brings money problems, stress and a lot of other difficult-to-navigate feelings, so how can you support a partner who is going through this in the right way?
First, reach out to everyone you know when helping your partner find a new job. The job market is tough these days and you never know who might have a contact that could help. Sometimes in a slow job market it comes down to who you know.
Second, go to your friends and family for emotional support. Job loss can put a strain on your relationship, that’s for sure, but talking about your money concerns or worries about the job market with your partner will only make him/her feel more pressure and stress. Find other support systems to help you through this challenging time, and do your best to provide support for your partner.
Be there for him/her in whatever way you can.
Each person responds to unemployment differently, so it’s difficult to give one piece of advice that will apply to everyone. Some might get angry, others depressed and others withdrawn. Or your partner might have a completely different reaction you don’t understand or expect.
Try to be supportive of them no matter what they are feeling. If they are angry, try to be patient and understanding, but don’t allow them to take things out on you. Especially if you have been together for a long time, remind them that you are in this together. Together you will find solutions to the problems that come up.
Make a game plan together.
If you and your partner live together and share expenses, you should put together a game plan right away. Take a look at what you need to pay each month and how you can budget differently, if necessary.
You can also plan how your partner will begin the job hunt and what you can do to help and be supportive.
Keep lines of communication open.
Remember that an important part of good communication is listening. Make sure you really listen to your partner and try to respond in the most caring and respectful way to what he/she tells you. Even when communication is difficult, it’s important to keep it going.
Do fun, no/low-cost activities.
If you have money concerns, try planning your night and weekend activities in a no- or low-cost way. Instead of doing dinner out with friends, cook in and invite your friends to your place. Or even better yet, host a potluck one evening. Get out of the house on the weekends by going on a bike ride or a hike and packing a picnic. Skip going to the movies and download a free movie online and pop your own popcorn.
Do something special for him/her
When you can see that the situation is getting your partner down, sometimes a small gesture that shows that you care can really help to lift your partner’s spirits.
[image: via kate hiscock on flickr]