Your stud may be stunning, but there’s nothing pretty about being in a relationship with someone who’s been laid off. While your heart may break for Mr. Unemployed, his perpetual presence on your sofa can get ugly – fast. When your partner gets downsized, how do you prevent a downsizing effect on your relationship? We consulted a dating expert for tips on navigating the turbulent waters of a layoff without crashing your (relation)ship on the rocks.
Losing your job can be a serious blow that takes your partner through the full emotional spectrum. When he breaks the news, listen to what he’s feeling, says dating coach Lori Gorshow of Dating Made Simple. “Consider that your partner may be in shock. He may express the news as anger, sadness, numbness or denial,” she says. “This is the time for you to react with empathy, not advice.”
Develop A Plan
Much like the New York Yankees, you and your partner are a team, so once he’s absorbed the news, begin working together to establish a change in strategy. Gorshow recommends allowing him to take the lead, but be direct in asking how you can support him. Whether your plan involves a job search or an investment in more education, you’ll both feel better once you’ve verbalized the next steps.
Act As His Cheerleader
Once you have a plan to get him back in the saddle, allow him to implement it. “Although your intention may be to be supportive, don’t be too overbearing,” Gorshow advises. “It’s not your role to do the job search for your guy, so don’t tell him what he should do unless your advice has been solicited.”
Follow His Lead
It’s likely he’s not willing to have a sit-down with Oprah to open up about how he’s feeling (dudes have too much pride like that), but that doesn’t give you license to blab about the situation to anyone who’ll listen. “There is a difference between networking and sharing personal information,” Gorshow warns. “Talk to your partner about how he would like you to respond to questions so you won’t say something he wouldn’t want you to.”
Your partner isn’t the only qualified candidate trying to land a job. If his search seems to be taking about as long as it has for Jen Aniston to find a decent guy, remind yourself that doesn’t mean that he isn’t motivated (Jen, on the other hand, who the heck knows what’s going on with her?). You may be the breadwinner for longer than you would like, cautions Gorshow. She suggests that you be open to revising your plan. “Have your partner seek alternative job opportunities while waiting for the big break.”
Remember That You’re In It For Love
While sharing finances is a benefit of a long-term relationship, you linked lives with your partner because of his platinum personality, not his platinum card. “It is natural that during unemployment your relationship will feel stress, but it is also a time for the two of you to strengthen your relationship,” encourages Gorshow.
Be An Equal-Opportunity “Stroker”
“Being out of work can feel like a loss of power and this can affect attitude and sex,” warns Groshow. Stroke your guy’s ego when he’s down in the dumps, reminding him of all the reasons you love him. However, be sure to know when to stop talking and uh … let your hands (or whatever) do it instead. “He may relieve stress by being more physical, so work out together and increase physical intimacy,” she suggests.
Original by Colleen Meeks