Skip to main content

How to Maintain a Good Relationship When Your Partner Is Unemployed

When one person is suddenly home all day, the rules and routines sometimes have to be renegotiated.


  • Step 1: Cut them some slack If your spouse is trying to find another job, don't expect them to start doing all the housework. Looking for a job, especially in a bad economy, can be a full-time job in itself.
  • Step 2: But don't be a sap, either But don't cut them too much slack, either. If it becomes obvious your loved one is neither looking for a job nor pitching in with the kids or housework, it's time for a serious discussion.
  • Step 3: Discuss expectations Discuss one another's expectations, preferably before tempers flare. Come to a mutually acceptable agreement on what housework or child care, if any, the out-of-work partner will assume until they find another job.
  • Step 4: Treat your partner like an adult Don't subject them to a daily grilling on what they're doing to find work, or what they did all day while you were out. They are no doubt already feeling inadequate.
  • Step 5: Be on the lookout Be on the lookout for signs of depression, like sleeping too much or not being able to sleep, or over- or undereating. If your partner turns to alcohol, drugs, porn, gambling, or other destructive behaviors, insist they get counseling.
  • TIP: Men are particularly susceptible to depression after a job loss because much of their self-esteem is tied to their work.
  • Step 6: Keep up their spirits Keep assuring them that you have complete faith in their ability to find another job. Most importantly, stay positive yourself.
  • FACT: The American Time-Use Survey shows men tend to do less housework after they lose their job.

You Will Need

  • Understanding
  • A heart-to-heart
  • Respect
  • Optimism

Popular Categories