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When Your Partner Loses His Job

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 8 Mar 2010 | comments*Discuss
Partner Job Loses Relationship Redundant

If your partner loses his job, there is a lot more at stake than purely financial hardship. A job loss can affect your relationship, and can make life harder on the whole family emotionally as well as economically.

Financial worries are often at the root of many relationship problems, and when your partner suddenly finds himself unemployed, for whatever reason, it can be devastating for both of you. Things might be even more complicated as you continue to work, as he might resent the fact that you are still employed while he isn’t.

But in today’s troubled economy, more and more people are suddenly finding themselves being made redundant, or suddenly without gainful employment due to a contract unexpectedly not being renewed. If this happens to your partner, take heart: there are ways to cope, and he might end up with a job even more fulfilling – or better paid – than the one he lost!

Communication is Key

Traditional gender stereotypes say that men are genetically programmed to be hunters and gatherers, and that because of this they feel worse when they lose their job than a woman would. While this isn’t the case for every man, it often is true.

In that same vein, some women lose respect for their partners when they cease to be the main breadwinner in a family, feeling that they haven’t lived up to what is expected of them as a man. While intellectually they know this isn’t the case, emotionally they feel their man has let them down, and the resentment starts to build up.

If you feel your partner has disappointed or failed you in some way by losing his job, don’t let things get even worse. Let him know outwardly that you still love him and will continue to support him in every way you can, and that you don’t define him purely by the size of his paycheck. When a husband loses his job, his wife shouldn’t lose respect for him.

If things get really bad for him or for the two of you as a couple, consider getting professional help. One or both of you might balk at doing this, but getting things sorted out before they begin to really fester is important – especially when you have kids.

Taking Care of Financial Matters

Here are some top tips to help your finances from spiraling out of control during this difficult period when your partner is unemployed:

  • Get sound advice. That can mean meeting up with a financial adviser, someone at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau or your local Job Centre. Make sure your husband is getting the entitlements he deserves – if he was made redundant, for example - and see if your family qualifies for any new entitlements now that your situation is different.
  • If you are not working only part-time, see if it’s possible to get a full-time job to tide things over until your husband finds work. If your children are of school age, you may be able to get something that ties in with their schedule, so you won’t incur extra childcare costs. Overtime might be another solution.
  • Think up a spending plan. Go over your finances together and come up with a way to cut costs. It might mean going out less, getting a loan from your mum or cancelling that expensive holiday, or it might be something as simple as switching energy providers and downsizing your car. Write down your incomings and outgoings and see what needs to be done to devise a new budget.
  • Help him in his job search. Your partner needs you now more than ever, so let him know that you’re there to help, in as many constructive and supportive ways as possible. Help him comb through job sites, make new contacts and put together a new CV. But with all this free time, don’t expect him to suddenly become Househusband of the Year overnight – he most likely won’t!
If your partner loses his job, you may be facing tough times ahead as a family, and as a couple. But things will get better, and take heart in the fact that you’re not the only ones in this situation – even though it might feel like you are.

Let your partner know that you are there for him, and do all you can to be as supportive as possible. You will both get through this, and who knows – he might even get a better job than the one he had in the end!

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