My partner lost his job; its repercussions

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    Aug 21, 2011 10:30 PM GMT
    With my enthusiastic encouragement, 9 months ago, he quit his job he had held for 12 years to join a new company with less pay but also less work hours and less time overseas. He lost the new job 1.5 months ago. I did not find out he lost his job from him, but from his mother. I didn't confront him. Later he spoke to me and started sobbing. I let him know we were still OK and still respected and loved him.

    He is a hard working man and was the main provider and feels guilty for leaving his old job, and I'm not sure if he blames me for convincing him to leave the old job. I don't feel bad. He was happier. While he doesn't quite lie on the couch in his underwear, it's not much better. He doesn't help in the kitchen or other household tasks. He has a lot of free time now to fix things around the house, go to church,go to the gym, go fish, etc. I told him he should do a road trip with his parents around the country. But I'm afraid instead of relaxing and seeing this time as a vacation to catch up with his family and children, he is using it to wallow in self-pity. He is infecting the children with it too since he spends all day with them and they have summer vacation. And that ends next week so the kids won't be a distraction anymore either. He's not even interested in sex anymore, his BP has gone up along with his weight. I work about 75-80 hrs/week now and spend less time with him. I allowed him three weeks to get over things because he is normally not like this, then I told him to snap out of it and unfortunately also told him to "be a man" in a less than peaceful encounter.

    I know other people here are unemployed or have partners who are. How did you feel when this happened and how did you help him/yourself emotionally? Finding a new job isn't that financially important for us but probably is for his confidence. What affect did unemployment have on your relationship? What challenges did you face? How did you get beyond them?
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    Aug 21, 2011 11:00 PM GMT
    Do you have any idea how absolutely traumatic it can be losing a job? Some people deal with it differently. Give the guy time.
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    Aug 21, 2011 11:13 PM GMT
    MadeNUSA saidDo you have any idea how absolutely traumatic it can be losing a job? Some people deal with it differently. Give the guy time.

    I am giving him time. He is just getting worse and worse. He is increasingly more irritable and disrespectful to me when I don't nag or worry at him.

    I've let him know that his hard work and past savings will keep us going for some time so he can just focus on developing his hobbies. But he's letting the situation overwhelm him when we don't have it as bad as most other people when the primary breadwinner is laid off; God provides.
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    Aug 21, 2011 11:18 PM GMT
    carminea saidI allowed him three weeks to get over things because he is normally not like this, then I told him to snap out of it and unfortunately also told him to "be a man" in a less than peaceful encounter.


    You "allowed" him three weeks to get over it? Dude, that's nothing. There is no predetermined time to "get over" anything. Why can't you just be supportive and not add to his misery by imposing some deadline to his feelings?



    "I am giving him time. He is just getting worse and worse. He is increasingly more irritable and disrespectful to me when I don't nag or worry at him."


    So you're saying your nagging is making him better? icon_rolleyes.gif

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    Aug 21, 2011 11:29 PM GMT
    He's gaining weight while having more time to go to the gym?icon_eek.gif

    Can he (and does he need to) go back to school?

    Learn a new hobby.

    Anything to occupy the mind while he tries to find another job.
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    Aug 21, 2011 11:31 PM GMT
    yourname2000 said
    He's going to need to know and accept that you can't keep doing this forever...75-80hr weeks are only sustainable with a lot of support. There is value to being a "stay at home dad" and he needs to treat that as a job he has now. He could be saving the family a ton of money by cooking, repairing, and doing other tasks that you'd otherwise pay someone to do. That's earned money.

    It's great that you have the support of your church. In times like this there is a lot of spiritual wisdom in the texts. As well, this is certainly the time to be passing all his troubles on to God to deal with...so he can be freed up to see whatever opportunities He places before you (and before the both of you...the solution might end up being a promotion in your future that gives you more time or money.) It's time to test his faith....God will provide.

    Thank you for your great response. I didn't think about the church folks getting involved. That is a very good idea. His parents are probably going to be more of a last resort if this lasts for a longer time. His mother thinks I'm quite incompetent and can only stand me in limited doses.

    I don't know how to make him be more involved in being a stay at home dad. I was hoping he would see the light and not try to worry the kids too much, but no.

    He is a civil engineer. He knows other very qualified people who haven't found a job in a year. I try to set up times for his friends to come see him since he doesn't want to see them. I encouraged him to go volunteer for Habitat for Humanity so he could expand his network more. But that's not going anywhere, and I didn't pursue it too much.

    My work hours won't be decreasing and my pay won't be increasing until next year.
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    Aug 21, 2011 11:33 PM GMT
    q1w2e3 saidHe's gaining weight while having more time to go to the gym?icon_eek.gif

    He doesn't go to the gym. He sits around the house all day watching TV. I don't think he needs to go back to school. He's a civil engineer-but I don't know too much of their educational hierarchy.
    Scruffypup said
    You "allowed" him three weeks to get over it? Dude, that's nothing. There is no predetermined time to "get over" anything. Why can't you just be supportive and not add to his misery by imposing some deadline to his feelings?

    So you're saying your nagging is making him better? />

    He's making a mountain out of a molehill. I see a LOT of unemployed people in so much worse conditions. I am being supportive. I don't nag at him. I meant to say that he is irritable and disrespectful EVEN when I don't nag at him.

    I know he needs time. But he sits around the house making me and the kids feel worse. This is not a misery. He was overworked and hasn't taken a vacation in 6 years. This is a great time to go out and do things. He's a good man and a good father. I just need help inspiring him a bit.
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    Aug 21, 2011 11:45 PM GMT
    carminea said
    MadeNUSA saidDo you have any idea how absolutely traumatic it can be losing a job? Some people deal with it differently. Give the guy time.

    I am giving him time. He is just getting worse and worse. He is increasingly more irritable and disrespectful to me when I don't nag or worry at him.

    I've let him know that his hard work and past savings will keep us going for some time so he can just focus on developing his hobbies. But he's letting the situation overwhelm him when we don't have it as bad as most other people when the primary breadwinner is laid off; God provides.
    The words "God provides" piss me off more than anything.
    If you want something, you have to work for it.
    God don't give you shit.

    I've been unemployed and lived roommate to roommate, doing my best to prevent complete homelessness. He's lucky to have people who help him out; but ultimately he's the one who has to fend for himself. Fortunately he knows this. From what you say about him, he doesn't sound lazy...just temporarily fucked over by the lack of suitable work.

    If you and his family are financially capable, help him become self-employed doing something he loves. In this economy with unemployment slowly climbing, self-employment is the way to go.
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    Aug 21, 2011 11:47 PM GMT
    http://www.moneyrelationship.com/careers/laid-off-recently-turn-it-into-something-amazing/

    No non-compete clause helps quite a bit there. icon_biggrin.gif
  • dancedancekj

    Posts: 1761

    Aug 21, 2011 11:53 PM GMT
    carminea said He was overworked and hasn't taken a vacation in 6 years. This is a great time to go out and do things. He's a good man and a good father. I just need help inspiring him a bit.


    Maybe, he just doesn't know how to? Since he was extremely overworked, perhaps his work was the structure keeping him aloft, and when it was pulled out from him, he's having a hard time adjusting?

    I am transitioning from school to working, and my family had kind of kick me in the ass to get a little motivation to get some things in line. It's hard when you've gone from what is essentially your sole focus in life to having it ripped away in a very short period of time.

    I don't profess to know what his situation is like. This probably was not probably the best analogy, and I don't now what to offer you in terms of ideas to inspire him, but it sounds like to me he just needs some structure and change from where he's at right now.
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    Aug 21, 2011 11:56 PM GMT
    carminea said
    yourname2000 said
    He's going to need to know and accept that you can't keep doing this forever...75-80hr weeks are only sustainable with a lot of support. There is value to being a "stay at home dad" and he needs to treat that as a job he has now. He could be saving the family a ton of money by cooking, repairing, and doing other tasks that you'd otherwise pay someone to do. That's earned money.

    It's great that you have the support of your church. In times like this there is a lot of spiritual wisdom in the texts. As well, this is certainly the time to be passing all his troubles on to God to deal with...so he can be freed up to see whatever opportunities He places before you (and before the both of you...the solution might end up being a promotion in your future that gives you more time or money.) It's time to test his faith....God will provide.

    Thank you for your great response. I didn't think about the church folks getting involved. That is a very good idea. His parents are probably going to be more of a last resort if this lasts for a longer time. His mother thinks I'm quite incompetent and can only stand me in limited doses.

    I don't know how to make him be more involved in being a stay at home dad. I was hoping he would see the light and not try to worry the kids too much, but no.

    He is a civil engineer. He knows other very qualified people who haven't found a job in a year. I try to set up times for his friends to come see him since he doesn't want to see them. I encouraged him to go volunteer for Habitat for Humanity so he could expand his network more. But that's not going anywhere, and I didn't pursue it too much.

    My work hours won't be decreasing and my pay won't be increasing until next year.


    Stop pushing. Let the man deal with it in his own way.
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    Aug 22, 2011 12:07 AM GMT
    carminea said[...]I allowed him three weeks to get over things because he is normally not like this, then I told him to snap out of it and unfortunately also told him to "be a man" in a less than peaceful encounter.
    [...]


    Those words are condescending and hurtful, and show both fear and a lack of sensitivity by you. Please apologize to him for the above to lessen his already damaged and demoralized self image. Otherwise it could drive the situation towards the even worse.
    He needs moral support, encouragement, and love. So do you.
    I realized that you yourself must feel worn out and haggared by your work and family responsibilities, and now also worried from fear of the loss of an income. That must have caused your response to have not come out sounding compassionate or supportive.

    You both need to feel loved and moral support. You're a great guy, we know that.
    Sorry I can't be of real help to you in your family's time of turmoil.
    Hugs.
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    Aug 22, 2011 12:16 AM GMT
    Hey carminea, perhaps he's seeing you work 75-80 hours a week and envying your career.

    He was the main provider, and for some people there IS some identity and concepts of self worth attached to that. We're both guessing that there was also some importance and status to having a career that took him overseas from time to time.

    Everyone's personal experience with career loss is unique to them and for some it's very traumatic indeed.

    I lost my career at 47, ten years ago. I took their involuntary 'voluntary' separation package and lived on it for a few years before getting jobs that never amounted to much - the job market was crappy here. Thankfully I'm retired now.

    I went out on the company's giant plaza balcony on my last career day and openly cried for an hour. People were sympathetic but three thousand had been downsized so far and they were mostly numb from it all.

    OK, the weird stuff now. This gal walked up and sat down with me. One of the eccentrics every company seems to have. Liked wearing a white fur stole and long crimped hair, white leotards, purple socks and smoked like a chimney. I looked up startled when she took my hand. In her Minnie Mouse voice she asked me if I knew she she was psychic.
    I said no.
    She said she'd died twice and described a head on collision accident and and an another operation on her heart. She said they sent her back to 'talk to people', lol.

    She told me it was OK I was leaving because there were people I was going to help and they would be coming to me.

    I was volcanically irritated but I remained polite.

    A year or so after my last day, a gal I'd met a few years before at an entirely different building of my ex employer called and asked if I could help her out. So I did. We rented her Mom our empty basement suite. Turns out her Mom was dying of cancer and they were afraid to tell us.
    I looked after her til she died. I told her she could die in our home because she was terrified of hospice. So I discovered the world of volunteering in palliative care and continued. It changed my life in vast ways. The experience has been nothing short of amazing and I'm intensely grateful for it.

    Apologies for waxing so long on this, but I wanted to show how different it is for each person.

    Bill supported me 100%. He had encouraged me to take the separation package (let's face it work was becoming hostile in their intent to downsize)
    He was patient, kind, put up with my moodiness and crying jags in those first several months post-career and the weary sense of resignation that came later. He is, truly, my hero.

    A hug to you and one for him.

    -Doug

    PS have the two of you considered a counselling session or two?










  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Aug 22, 2011 12:19 AM GMT
    Unemployment in a relationship can be very difficult. The reason my partner and I are back to a long distance relationship is.. his job was eliminated after a couple of years living in Wichita. It wasn't a good company and he found a job back in his hometown in Salina. He is in charge of a non profit entity, so the pay still isn't the best. It did take him about 3 or 4 months to find the new job and it was challenging for us in the meantime. All you can do is give him support and encourage him. My bf didn't have the "get up and get with it issues" that you pointed out, there just weren't any jobs available at that time.

    If he doesn't get with it, don't bitch at him... sit him down and have a serious talk, he must move forward or he and everything else could be in serious jeopardy!

    Good luck and sorry you are having such a tough time!
  • metatextual

    Posts: 774

    Aug 22, 2011 12:22 AM GMT
    carminea said
    yourname2000 said


    He is a civil engineer. He knows other very qualified people who haven't found a job in a year. I try to set up times for his friends to come see him since he doesn't want to see them. I encouraged him to go volunteer for Habitat for Humanity so he could expand his network more. But that's not going anywhere, and I didn't pursue it too much.

    My work hours won't be decreasing and my pay won't be increasing until next year.


    The suggestion in getting more varied education in a related field might work. Has he looked into urban planning positions?
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    Aug 22, 2011 12:35 AM GMT
    MadeNUSA said
    Stop pushing. Let the man deal with it in his own way.

    Please help me understand from his perspective.

    The way I see it, his way is only hindering him. I know that his job is in a saturated market. I can understand how emotionally damaging a job loss can be, but what does this teach the children. That it's alright to not take advantage of opportunities given to you? That it's alright to become a victim? While our income has decreased by about 2, we are still OK without it. It can't be his way. There are two people in this relationship. And these two people are responsible for the physical and emotional well being of two children. If he were my patient and the patient's spouse felt the way I feel about my partner, he would fail his psychiatric evaluation. I would have advised him to compromise with his spouse. I would have advised him to find some therapy. But he's my partner, so I can't be his physician.

    I don't know how to ask him if he resents that I encouraged him to give up his first job in a diplomatic way that won't make him feel incompetent.
    BuddyinNYC said
    Those words are condescending and hurtful, and show both fear and a lack of sensitivity by you. Please apologize to him for the above to lessen his already damaged and demoralized self image.
    Sorry I can't be of real help to you in your family's time of turmoil.
    Hugs.

    I did. I profusely apologized immediately. He laughed and said he knows about my foot-in-mouth syndrome. I don't think he understands the impact of his attitude on those around him. He was being so pitiful and hurtful. I don't want to point it out, because I don't want him to feel pressured to find a job and I don't want to demoralize him further. Thank you for your response. You have helped me understand our situation better.
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    Aug 22, 2011 12:47 AM GMT
    Paul and q1w2e3: The new job that failed was a business they were trying to start. But I will suggest this to him again later.

    Metatexutal: I don't understand what it was exactly, but the new job was related to urban planning. No. It was consulting for urban planning, whatever that means.

    Doug and Bill: No time for counseling. I'm having trouble helping him to find his self-worth outside of a job as a wonderful father and partner.

    dancedan, hndsmKansan, bosjock: I agree. A serious talk about how to spend and structure his time is due. But that's what the issue is about. This is what I can not help him do.
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    Aug 22, 2011 12:58 AM GMT
    Because money is not an immediate issue, one possibility might be some type of volunteering. If you google "volunteer organizations" alone or followed by your city, you can find some links.
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    Aug 22, 2011 1:01 AM GMT
    "Doug and Bill: No time for counseling. I'm having trouble helping him to find his self-worth outside of a job as a wonderful father and partner."


    Sometimes it takes a third party to assist in making headway with this. icon_wink.gif
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    Aug 22, 2011 1:03 AM GMT
    Big hugs to you, Carminea! You're in a difficult situation. A lot of the guys who have posted already raise really good points although I'm surprised how harsh some seem to be toward you.

    My partner has had stints of being unemployed at different times while I've tended to always work 45, 50, and sometimes 55 or more hours a week. Although we're not rolling in money, there's never been a concern of imminent financial disaster - yet. But I think I can relate to it being frustrating for both of you. I'm wondering if there is any chance your partner might be depressed and if medication or counseling could help?

    Hopng things get better for both of you.
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    Aug 22, 2011 1:16 AM GMT
    I went through something similar to your BF. I had a pretty solid career going until I was unexpectedly let go during the economic meltdown. That hit me... hard... and I didn't even know it. I wasn't a workoholic at all, but I was pretty dedicated to the company.

    It basically set the ball rolling that eventually destroyed my relationship at the time (which was an amazingly fulfilling and committed LTR). During our "crisis", my partner begged me to see a counsellor and I did. I didn't realize it at the time, but that helped immensely. So did attending weekly job-search meetings at a job placement agency (forgot what the correct term is for those companies.... they give seminars on how to find jobs, fix up your resume, etc, etc).

    While it was too late to save my relationship, those things saved me from falling further into full-blown depression. Ask him to give counselling a try. Job placement agencies aren't usually free though (it was part of my package from being let go). Try counselling yourself -- you may pick up strategies to help you or him.

    Good luck to you both!

    EDIT: Saw your earlier responses that you don't have the time for counselling. Please make the time. You've said that you're trying to get him motivated to pick up his career again. It may not be "sticking" because it's coming from you. It may have to come from someone else, outside of this regular life. An unbiased 3rd-party, if you will.
  • KissTheSky

    Posts: 1981

    Aug 22, 2011 1:36 AM GMT
    The economy is such a disaster that no one should feel bad about being unemployed... there are millions of qualified, smart people in the same boat.

    Losing a job can be like losing a loved one... the grief can take months to recover from. In the meantime, I hope he's applied for unemployment compensation.. he paid into it his whole life so he's entitled to it. It's not "welfare," despite what some hateful conservative politicians imply.
  • Import

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    Aug 22, 2011 2:08 AM GMT
    it sounds like he's depressed.

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    Aug 22, 2011 2:53 AM GMT
    Import saidit sounds like he's depressed.


    I was going to say something similar to this. Would planning a 'date night' to try and touch base be of help? I mean, it seems like this event has hit both of you hard, albeit in different ways. If nothing else this might be a nice way to try and clear the air a little...

    Hope things get better carminea
  • commoncoll

    Posts: 1222

    Aug 22, 2011 4:18 AM GMT
    Hatter said
    I was going to say something similar to this. Would planning a 'date night' to try and touch base be of help? I mean, it seems like this event has hit both of you hard, albeit in different ways. If nothing else this might be a nice way to try and clear the air a little...

    I agree with this. A date night on one of your free days would be a great idea.

    As for not being useful around the house, ask him to help you at home. "Could you cut this up...Could you bring me this... water the backyard...vacuum here...get the dishes out of the dishwasher... put the clothes in the dryer", etc. These are the types of things my wife asks me to do and then I get duped into helping her finish her tasks.

    These things will not only make him busier, but will also give a chance to feel needed. You've let him know plenty of time that you don't need his income. I would feel pretty useless and depressed if my wife told me that too. But you're handling this well. Don't ignore his job loss, but also don't sympathize extra or be extra nice, etc. It will make the matter worse. As for him being nasty, don't be too hurt. He's not in a good position. He has worked very hard to get where he is. Being fired let's you know that you are useless and doesn't feel too good and is a huge ego-blaster.

    heybreaux and nerdjock gave some good insight as well.