Unemployment Makes Being a Happy Couple a Lot Harder


UnemploymentLooks like just a smidge over 9 percent of America’s population is currently out of work, split almost 50/50 between men and women. That’s 14 million folks who are uploading their resumes to Monster.com. Dodging bill collectors and past due notices. Shucking and jiving for The Man to get those piddly little checks.

If you’ve never weathered a stretch of unemployment, well la ti da ti da. Lucky you. You’re certainly in the minority, considering how people have been dropping like flies everywhere. One minute Jim from accounting is hogging the community microwave in the kitchenette, and the next, you’re getting a bounce-back message when you shoot him an email. It’s rough out there.

So if you’ve been able to survive joblessness and keep your love affair in tact, you and your boo are like the Olympic gold medalists of relationships.

Considering money is the number one thing couples fight about, it can be a recipe for disaster when the two streams of income flowing into one household are abruptly clipped down to one. If people can’t agree on how to spend the dough they do have, imagine the meltdown that unfolds when there’s no cash coming in to squabble about. Kudos to those of you who have bested the obstacles of being canned, strapped for cash, and figuring out your next career move, but still managing to keep the fires of love burning at home.

Being unemployed sucks, no doubt. But it sure will show you who’s down for you, no matter what — including your man.

The Mister and I were dating for about two months before we both got smitten with each other. He got there a little before I did. I mean, he was a nice guy and all, but he was so different from anybody else on my resume, I wasn’t really sure if I liked him like that. Seemed like he was treading dangerously close to the dreaded Friend Zone for quite a while. But through several strategic plays on his end, he won me over, and when he asked me to be his girlfriend, I giddily accepted. You know, you gotta take that kind of proposal first before you can get any others.

That was a Sunday. On Monday morning I went to work as usual, got called to the HR office, and got fired. Just like that.

He was the first person I called after I was standing on the street, looking up at the office window that, up until a few minutes before, had been mine. In light of my new circumstances — or lack thereof — I gave him a get-out-of-having-a-relationship-with-an-unemployed-girl-free card. He was still pretty fresh so I didn’t want him to go down with my sinking ship. But he insisted he was in it for the long haul.

For a year and four months, I was poor. I invented a new brand of brokeness. You never really realize how many financial obligations and bills you have until you can’t come up with the money to pay them. And you darn sure don’t have the money for the little things you used to take for granted, like happy hour with the girls or random trips to TGI Friday’s. You might not feel like cooking, but you take a look at your checking account balance and you pull out a doggone skillet. There’s not enough room in the budget for those kinds of luxuries.

I’m happy to report that we’re still together today. He passed the ultimate test, especially for our long distance relationship that relies on one of us saddling up and traveling the two hours to the other’s house. It was a humbling experience for me, that’s for sure. I hate, hate, hate asking for help from anyone, but especially from a guy. I don’t want that favor hanging over my head and obligating me, but more importantly I can’t stand that feeling of helplessness and neediness when I have to choke down my pride.

That period freed me up just a little to let go of my fierce independence and accept his innumerable offers to give me a little assistance here and there. When the lights were getting ready to get snuffed out and my cellphone was about to be shut off, he enthusiastically paid them. We had plenty of challenges because of me being out of a job, but it also showed me that he was the kind of dude I could see myself being with 10 jobs from now. Or whenever I become a self-made millionaire, whichever comes first.

Has your relationship weathered a period of unemployment? How did you get through?

Image via clementine gallot/Flickr

commitment, marriage, dating


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Zyva Zyva

My husband was unemployed for 2 years,.. It was challenging to say the least, making things run on unemployment for a family of 4 at the time, was rough.. However we got by the same way we always did, make time for ourselves, each one had a role that we tried to work on, and helped the other.. eventually he got a job and we moved on. 

ChicH... ChicHippie

My husband had been unemployed for several months when we found out I was pregnant. Then I got put on bedrest and had to quit my job.. we both were unemployed for two days and my husband finally got a job. It was hard. Really hard. Going to work every day while your husband does odds and ends. It gets to you. I stay home with the baby and its still hard sometimes. We're doing our best though.

MomJe... MomJenny1

We are finding our way through this, as well.  Hubby had a great job, was on his way up, and we were much too free and loose with our money.  That came to a startling, abrupt halt.  It's been interesting.  Luckily we don't fight about money (not enough left now to fight about)  The hardest part is keeping his spirits boosted - I can't let him see I'm worried, as his guilt is overwhelming sometimes.   Was not his fault, but he won't see that.

Let's hope this is a short trip - 6 months so far and no end in sight...

Beths... Bethsunshine

We've both been unemployed at different points in our marriage. At one time we were BOTH unemployed for a little while since we had just moved to a new state. It was ROUGH but we got through it.

Heather Ford

My husband is no unemployed, but he can only work 1 day a week because of his demanding school schedule. we have been doing this since before our first son was born 2 1/2 years ago. I stay at home (we live with my in-laws, enough said) with our boys and he goes to school full time. We have been doing this the majority of our marriage and I will tell you that it is no walk in the park. It has definantly made us a stronger couple to say the least and really value everything that we have.

madfoot madfoot

Oh man. My husband's been out of work since our daughter was born, nearly 3 years ago. We have had to work through a lot, and it's hard. But I'm not letting him go, it took me too long to find him! There's more to life than making $$$.

Kasey Comingore

money doesn't buy happiness, but it sure does make it easier!! my bf was fired a month after we found out we were going to have a baby. thankfully he was able to find a job soon after, but we have always struggled to make ends meet. it is very stressful, but we make it work. because no matter how little money there is, it wouldn't be easier to live without him!!

Shauna Durham

My husband is currently unemployed (has interview tomorrow!) and while it has been hard, we are working our way through it. We promised each other at the start of our marriage that we wouldn't fight about money. No point to fighting about it because at the end of the fight there won't be any more money in the bank than before. Thankfully we have been able to sell a few unnecessary items to keep things going, but it has been TIGHT! We love each other so much and we know that we will get through this and be stronger in the end.

wyatt... wyattsmom2009

I am in the one in my marriage that has been unemployed for almost 2 years now.  I send out resumes and have had some interviews but no luck. My hubby is on disability.. we try to make due with that. We have a 2.5 year old.. Hopefully some good will come our way soon. We have been fighting alot lately and a lot of it has to do with money.

surfg... surfgrl60

I dont get why so  many people are out of work. My husband does NOT have a collage education, yet he has a great job. Not from a ( in ) or through family or friends. We moved out of our home state a month ago because he got a better job. I dont know if most of the unemployed people are not trying hard enough. There is TEMP work. My husband did that for over a year when he was out of REAL WORK. But temp paid pretty damn good. My husband is hiring at his job right now!

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