Dear Guys,

I’ve been in a long term relationship for two years now. We live together. Six months ago my man got laid off from his job. At first he looked for a new job but with no success. Now the last few months he has hardly gotten off the couch. I’ve tried to give him ideas to help him, but he just gets mad at me. His unemployment is starting to affect our relationship?

Why won’t he look for work?

I’m not beginning to think he’s lazy, and it’s making me question the relationship.

Can you give me any insight into what’s going on?

Caroline

Dear Caroline,

Thanks for your question. With unemployment high, and the economy taking longer than many thought to recover, your situation is not that uncommon unfortunately.

First of all, we’re sorry this is going on for your man, and for you. Losing a job elicits a lot of different emotions including the big three: anger, fear and anxiety.

We can speak for the men of the world when we say that our job is tied in closely with our identity. That’s not true for all men, but it’s certainly true for the high percentage of men. With the stay-at-home-dad movement, we are starting to define ourselves differently, and valuing the ever important role of being fathers, however, our ego is definitely caught up in our work.

You don’t say whether the current situation is causing  financial stress in your relationship. Is it? Or is he not pulling his weight in other areas? Finances are one of the biggest causes of conflict when it comes to relationships. Not just the lack of, but also the way a couple views money. If one person is a spender and the other a saver, that can cause conflicts. Or another scenario that could cause conflict is how each person wants to spend the money. (One person wants to spend money on the house, but the other person thinks the money should be spent on vacations.)

Understand that your man is likely depressed, and is probably feeling paralyzed. It’s not that he doesn’t want to work, it’s that he feels so overwhelmed by the situation that he ends up spending his days on the couch instead of out looking for work. That is frustrating for him, and also frustrating for you. But don’t confuse this with laziness. It’s not. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay. After a while he needs to get motivated, or get some help to get motivated. That should not be your role. He needs to do it himself.

But the time has come for you to have a long talk with him. Let him tell you how he’s feeling if that’s possible, and if not, try to let him know that you understand how he might be feeling. Also tell him how you feel. He needs to understand that his actions are impacting the relationship.

We can’t help you him find employment, but we can tell you that looking for a job, is basically a full time job. If that makes any sense? We’re confident that he’ll get back on his feet once he starts to use them again.

In the future, if you ever need help organizing your finances, you should check out Mint Dot Com. It’s a good resource.

All the best, and good luck.

THE GUYS

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