Money Matters - Simplified

Coping with Unemployed Spouse: Offering Help and Support

Unemployment is a time when your spouse who is without a job will need your support. Read on to find out the different ways in which you can help your unemployed partner survive this turbulent phase.
When things get tough keep reminding each other that unemployment is just another life challenge that the two of you can face and conquer as a team.

Marriage can be a source of strength and support during difficult times, like joblessness. There are many ways in which you can assist your spouse adapt to the condition of being without a job. You can even aid your partner in his job hunt.

Things to do When You Get a New Job

-Get a clear job description

-Try to set up a meeting with your boss

-Find out about the appropriate dress code

-Introduce yourself to your co-workers

-Familiarize yourself with office surroundings and office culture

Here are things you can do to help your unemployed spouse.

1. Find Suitable Job Vacancy Advertisements
Before you actually do this, speak to your spouse. Find out if he is willing to involve you in the process of finding a new job. If yes, scan newspaper ads. Surf the net and look at job boards. You might come across an advertisement that your spouse has overlooked.

If your spouse prefers to handle the job search alone, do not interfere.

2. Help with the Resume
If you are good at business writing, help your spouse draft a resume. You could proofread the resume for him. You could also aid your spouse to identify a professional resume writing service.

3. Put Your Contact List to Work
Talk to family, friends and ex-coworkers. A friend with a small business might be able to arrange a part-time job for your spouse.

An ex-colleague might know of a vacancy in a department within his company. A family member might be able to introduce your spouse to an influential business contact.

4. Cut Expenses
This is not the right time to buy new jewelry or order new furniture. Such expenses will have to wait.

Cut down on shopping wherever you can. Only purchase things that are absolutely essential. Give up expensive hobbies. Surrender club memberships to save on membership fees. Drastically reduce the number of times you eat out.

5. Dig into Your Emergency Fund
Every household should invest in an emergency fund. When one partner loses a job, this fund will help your family take care of three to six months of living expenses.

6. Keep Children Informed
Do you have children who still depend on you financially? Have an honest talk with them about the family’s new financial situation. Ask them not to make demands for expensive items.

This phase can be difficult for the kids as well. They might wonder why a parent, who earlier made time for family activities, suddenly appears withdrawn.

You also need to explain to them why the spouse who has lost job seems in a bad mood or is depressed. This will ensure that kids understand what is going on and not feel emotionally abandoned.

7. Offer to Pay
Do you still have a full time job? If yes, offer to cover all domestic and other living expenses out of the money you bring in. Make this offer without any trace of arrogance or superiority in you demeanor. Otherwise, you will damage your spouse’s sense of self-worth.

If you were the stay at home partner in this relationship, consider taking up a part time job until things get back to normal.

8. Be Prepared to Do Things Alone
Perhaps earlier the two of you were equally responsible for looking after the children’s needs. But after losing a job your partner might no longer be interested in things like enforcing discipline for children, attending family dinners, or participating in parent teacher meetings. You will have to fulfill such obligations yourself.

In addition you might have to handle all grocery shopping and household chores as well.

Perhaps your partner and you enjoyed doing many things together. You might have loved going for long walks or watching movies together, but now your partner might scorn such activities.

Talk to your partner and tell that this behavior is making you feel abandoned. Perhaps your spouse will understand your feelings and make an effort to be emotionally available.

But sometimes things do not work out even after you make an effort to communicate. Due to all the stress your spouse might not be able to appropriately respond to additional demands for increased emotional involvement.

Understand that marriage is not always a bed of roses. Just roll up your sleeves and do things alone for a while.

When things get tough keep reminding each other that unemployment is just another life challenge that the two of you can face and conquer as a team.