How To Deal With Your Unemployed Partner-part 2 

So, let’s talk about what you can do to help your partner get through this period of unemployment.

As noted in the previous post, you’ve gotten a sense of possibilities.  Make a plan with different degrees of urgency.  That means that you or your partner may have to leave for a while to find work.  Can you continue the relationship?  How will that affect you, the children, your pets?  How will it affect your/ her/his parents and extended family?   Can you relocate?  What kinds of changes might that bring on for all?  These are questions you have to confront realistically.

I want to digress here before getting onto the ways to help your partner.  If you have children, this period of unemployment will affect your children in many ways.  They may not be used to one person being home a lot of the time or being depressed or irritable.  They may not understand that money may not be available.  To the extent of their knowledge and understanding, you need to be frank with them.  Involve them in new chores and in finding ways to cut costs, and also to seek other sources of satisfaction other than those based on money.

As a therapist, I would strongly recommend that you tell their teachers what is going on at home. Again, there is no point in being prideful.  Your child(ren) may act out or fail to act effectively in school. The teacher should be aware of this. If the school has supports like onsite counseling, your child(ren) can use that.  If the child(ren) have severe reactions, you can see if there are still free or low-cost therapy services offered at County Mental Health or an agency in your area.   Your religious group may have support services as well.

Now to your partner.  You need to have another conversation with her or him.  S/he needs to be looking for work, not drinking or using drugs, or doing anything considered to be self-destructive.  You are the closest one to monitor self-destructive behavior, so make sure you and s/he have an understanding.  Depressed people can be angry and/or suicidal.  They often neglect their health, including their teeth.  (BTW, find out low-cost dental facilities.  In our area, the local junior college has a training program for dental hygienists, which is low-cost.)

Make sure that person is looking for work seriously.  Looking for work is often harder than working.  So they can “work” at looking for a job 2/3 time and do something else enjoyable for some of the other time.  Suggest that they socialize with friends and family and look for support.  Always be supportive.  Make sure that your needs are met as well.  That may mean that they take on certain chores you’ve been doing.  Eat well. Make love. Enjoy what free activities are available where you live..

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