These days it is not uncommon for one or both spouses to lose their jobs unexpectedly. The unemployment rate has been steadily rising over the last few years, which proves the dire situation we are in. When this situation arises, it can cause feelings of depression, anxiety, stress, and even grief over the loss of the job and your income. These feelings can spill over into your relationship, and if you aren’t careful, can impact it negatively.
If you, your spouse, or both of you are hit with unexpected job loss, how do you protect your relationship from the inevitable effects this stressful situation can have?
- Talk it out–communication is key. Harboring feelings of depression and anxiety can actually lead to an increase in these feelings.
- Make a plan. Sit down with your partner and discuss your game plan. Do you have enough in savings and/or other income to live off of for a bit, or do you need to find a part-time job to be able to continue to pay bills? Talk about what other changes to the budget you may need to make such as cancelling memberships or subscriptions. Having a plan will help you feel proactive and prepared.
- Have reasonable expectations of each other. It may not be realistic to expect your partner to bounce back quickly after getting laid off–he/she may need some time to mourn the loss and process those feelings. Additionally, remember the amount of pressure the working spouse may be under now. He/she is responsible for earning 100% of the finances and that can be stressful if the family isn’t used to it.
- Try not to wallow in self pity. Sure, it is normal to feel sad, but give yourself a time limit. For example, give yourself 30 minutes a day to feel sorry for yourself. The rest of the day should be focused on doing something positive about the situation–job searching, networking, or even participating in an enjoyable activity.
- Remain supportive of your partner. When faced with stress, it can be easy to place blame. It is important to remember that you and your spouse are a team and are in this together.
If you find the feelings associated with your unemployment are just too much to handle, reach out to a therapist for help.