Modern Love– When He Can’t Get a Job.|
You’re lucky enough to have snagged a great guy. He’s handsome, smart as a whip, and he makes you laugh. He cooks for you every night and helps around the house. He listens to you, puts your needs before his, and he’s quite the Casanova. He supports you as the ambitious woman that you are. What more could you ask for from your man?
How about a job?
We’ve all heard of the notorious mooch: the guy who will make a permanent indent in your recliner, use your money for beer, and will continue to play Xbox even when you’ve kindly asked him to help you around the house. But every boyfriend or husband that’s unemployed isn’t necessarily in that position because he chooses so.
For centuries, men have always been the assumed breadwinner of every household. However, since 1982, women have outpaced men in college graduation rates, ultimately helping place more and more women in stable careers. Yet in a volatile economy, no one’s job is guaranteed – men included.
So, what do you do when you’re sitting pretty in your corner office and your boyfriend is sitting at home, unable to keep a steady job? We’ve all grown up in a generation where self-sufficiency is encouraged and sometimes expected. How should you treat a relationship where your significant other is (overly) financially dependent on you?
1. Re-evaluate your relationship.
It’s harsh, but it’s true. Take a step back and ask yourself if you can handle being with a man that you will have to support for an unknown length of time. Are you embarrassed when people ask what he does for a living? Do you resent paying for everything? Would you be just as thrilled if he finds blue-collar work as opposed to white-collar work? This is not a fun process. You will have days where you get frustrated coming home from a hard day at the office, and he’s sitting on the couch drinking a beer, wide awake because he didn’t wake up until noon. Stress will high for both of you – and this added pressure could potentially even affect your own career performance.
2. Voice your expectations.
Now is the time to vocalize any expectations you may have of him while he’s unemployed. If you expect the kitchen to be clean when you come home at the end of the day, you have to tell him. If he respects you as much as you think he should, then this shouldn’t be a problem. Need laundry done? Ask him. Men are not mind readers. Make a “honey-do” list – figure out whatever it takes for him to contribute in some way . Let him know that, while he’s jobless, he needs to help around the house. A relationship works on a give and take system – he needs to provide support to you in some way possible in order to warrant your financial aid.
This should not start a fight. If it does, refer to the above.
No matter how many websites he peruses, there will be days when he cannot find any vacancies. Or, he gets an interview, but doesn’t get the job. This will frustrate him. He will get angry at his situation and his inability to provide. His buddies might put him down from time to time for not being able to pitch in on guys’ night out. No matter how stoic your man is, this will bother him.
Let him vent when he needs to. Offer your input, but refrain from being patronizing. As long as you know he’s trying his best to find work, save voicing your resentment for your diary. Men are a lot more perceptive than they let on.
4. Start a budget and stick with it.
Assuming you are living together, let him know of all the household bills and their due dates. Sit down together and create a budget. It’s no secret that men are visual creatures; if he sees that you really only have $100 between paychecks because you’re supporting the two of you, he might better understand why you get pissed when he says he wants to go out for drinks again.
Remember, a lot of jobs are strictly word-of-mouth. Hopefully, he’s already been calling old bosses, former coworkers, friends and whomever else he can think of to find work. This doesn’t mean you can’t help. Don’t be afraid to ask people you know about open job opportunities. Ladies, this means asking parents, your uncles, grandparents, etc.
However, do not ask them to call in favors. Many men would prefer the satisfaction of getting a job on their own, not by being granted special treatment. Do you have a coworker whose significant other is in a similar field as your man? Ask him/her to keep an ear out for any openings. A lot of times, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
While supporting two adults off of a single income is not easy, it is doable. You will learn a lot about yourselves both as individuals and as a couple, and this experience will either strengthen your bond or give you that revelation to get the hell out. Be patient, and good luck!
Ashley Hamm is a natural-born writer. Born and raised in Beaufort, SC, Ashley studied English and Writing at University of South Carolina. She has been a full-time litigation paralegal ever since, and also contributes to Eat Sleep Play Beaufort.