Tips for Coping When Your Partner Loses His or Her Job

When your partner loses a job, it's tough on both of you - financially and emotionally. Unfortunately, money woes are the root of most evils in relationships, so it's to your advantage to stay on top of budding problems. Here are a few ways to keep your relationship in line when it might seem like it's about to veer way off track:

1. Create a New Budget: Right away, calculate how much money you've got coming in now so that you know how long you can last on your current budget. Then, look at your main spending categories - rent or mortgage, food, utilities, automobile insurance, health insurance (make sure your unemployed partner has it) and spending money - and figure out where you could make some cuts. Minor adjustments might be cooking at home more, getting your hair cut at a cheaper salon or washing the car yourself. More drastic options to consider are moving to a cheaper place or relocating to a new region where options are better for both of you, selling the car or seeking a loan from a bank or relatives. Draft a weekly and monthly spending plan that you feel you both can stick to for at least three months.

2. Express Yourself: There's a whole range of emotions someone might experience after losing a job. Grief for the loss, vulnerability, resentment toward the partner who has a job, competition and depression are all too common. Ask your partner to talk to you about how he or she feels before resentments start building or egos plummet too far.

3. Adopt a Supportive Tone: While you might be worried about the sudden pressure of being the sole breadwinner or increasingly annoyed by the fact that your partner is home all day but seems perfectly content to live in filth, try not to be accusatory. If you're a positive influence, his or her confidence will stay up and that will be apparent in job interviews. Of course, you don't want to patronize someone - your partner's an adult and should be responsible enough to help out a little more now with the home, kids or pets, and gentle reminders won't hurt. But, again, cut them some slack by realizing they're going through a rough time.

4. Help Organize Search Efforts: Take extra time to help your partner wade through job sites and contact information. Have him or her make a list of top employment choices and then help track down names and numbers. This way, you're letting them know they're not alone in this, and you might really move the job search forward by stumbling across a great opportunity.

5. Consider Professional Help: If it seems like your partner has given up on looking for a new job or if you find your arguments escalating, call a therapist. Acknowledging that there's a problem is half the battle. Or, if you start feeling overwhelmed by finances, check in with a financial counselor who can help you streamline your budget and manage your credit and debt.

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