The Sneaky Ways Unemployment Affects A Relationship

April 24, 2018  |  
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Gettyimages.com/Couple writing and using digital tablet in living room

When I first got the news that my partner lost his job, I obviously understood that it was significant. But I focused more on the emotional and mental effect it would have on my partner, rather than the ways it would affect us. Any time someone loses a job, it’s a hit to their self-esteem. Why were they the one laid off? Could they have done one little thing differently to keep the job? A lot of the immediate concerns are usually focused on how things could have been done differently. The newly unemployed is still trying to grab onto some piece of the sinking ship. But once that ship is totally gone, they turn around and realize they’re just…floating…in a seemingly endless ocean of unemployment. And that feeling—that feeling of having nothing to hold onto—can mess a person up. Here are the sneaky ways unemployment affects a relationship.

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You feel bad making frivolous purchases

I try to hide new shoes or frivolous, unnecessary items I buy from my partner. I feel guilty buying things I don’t need when he can barely afford the things he does need. And, I can’t help but feel a little judged, as if he’s thinking, “That’s not how I’d spend my extra income if I had any. I’d be saving it.”

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Or going out to drinks with friends

I even feel a little bad going out for a night on the town with friends. It’s not like my boyfriend would want to participate in girls’ night but, the reality is, he can’t afford to buy drinks out at a bar.

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You want to just pay for him sometimes

Sometimes, I just want to offer to pay for my partner’s half of the hotel room/dinner/concert ticket so that I can do what I want, with him there.

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But his pride won’t let you

If you’re wondering why I don’t just pay for him it’s because he’s a man and men have enormous pride around money. My partner will not let me so much as pay for his half of a sangria pitcher.

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You can’t really plan things

Planning anything that takes a lot of, well, planning (aka money) really isn’t an option. We can’t plan a trip that’s three months away, just in case my partner still doesn’t have a job at that time. I can’t rope us into a non-refundable hotel room, if he won’t be able to afford the entertainment once we get there.

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Which makes wedding RSVPs tricky

Wedding invitations are particularly sensitive subjects. The bride and groom need an answer, but their wedding is a $400 plane flight and $300 hotel room away…and those are things my partner isn’t sure if he can afford in six months.

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Your partner cannot relax

My partner usually seems pretty tense. It’s hard for him to relax because he feels like he should always be applying to jobs every second of the day until he gets one. He’s very antsy, and that energy rubs off on me.

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The daily rejection takes a toll

Sending out hundreds of applications and hearing nothing back, or getting that first interview but not that second one, really takes its toll on my partner’s emotional well-being.

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It kills your sex life

I’ve pretty much accepted that our sex life will be spotty until my partner finds a job. It’s hard for men to feel attractive if they don’t feel like they have a way to provide for their partners, let alone themselves.

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You make excuses to your parents

I have to protect my partner from my parents’ interrogations. I know he’ll be fine and things will work out, but they have a harder time believing that because they’re protective of me.

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Help has to come from the outside

My partner wants to keep his love life and work life separate, so he really doesn’t want me asking around about work for him, or making introductions for him. I have to tactfully find a way to get someone else to help him, and not let him know about my involvement.

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Insecurities kick in

Sometimes, my partner can’t help but have crazy thoughts like I bet my girlfriend wishes she were with a wealthy guy who could afford to take her on trips and treat her to nice things. He’s wrong. I want to be with him—broke or rich.

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He can be irritable at your joy

My partner can’t help but sometimes get a little irritable with me. My life seems so care-free compared to his, since I’m not worried about money and finding a job, and he can read me as insensitive.

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You have to appear confident

I have to put up a confident front. No matter how dejected my partner feels, I need to assure him that I know things will work out and I don’t have a doubt in my mind that he’ll find a job. He needs that confidence from me.

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Life gets put on hold

A lot of life just gets put on hold. We can’t really talk about pricing houses, applying for home loans, moving somewhere new, having children, or anything like that for now.

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