9 Ways To Help Partner Who Just Lost Their Job

Losing your job is stressful enough, but it can be even more of a challenge when you're in a relationship. Even if you don't have shared bank accounts, financial troubles can affect your relationship in all sorts of ways. If your partner has recently been hit with unemployment, don't worry — you're not alone. With 5.5 percent of Americans jobless, it's not uncommon to see couples in which one partner is temporarily without work.

But that doesn't mean it's easy. Sadly, money issues are one of the leading causes of otherwise happy partners splitting. Recently, Jeffrey Dew of Utah State University conducted a study showing that couples who fight over financial problems are much more likely to break up than those who argue over raising children or household duties. I've been in that place before — in a relationship riddled with financial instability — but I know that it's possible to come out on the other side if you put in the time and energy. It can even be a real turning point in your relationship.

Your significant other needs you more than ever now, so don't shy away from being their rock. Read on for nine ways to help your partner face the loss of a job.

1. Talk About It

Easier said than done — trust me, I know. When someone faces an obstacle as serious as losing their job, they tend to shut down emotionally. Their self-esteem isn't exactly at an all-time high, and it may feel like everything is falling apart. By addressing the issue directly — with love and compassion, of course — you bring it out of the darkness and make it a lot less scary. Avoid arguing at all costs; instead, listen carefully to their hopes and fears without judgment.

2. Be Encouraging

Remind them that their worth to you is not based on their career. They may know it deep down inside, but that security is hard to access at the moment. What they need is someone who can stay positive in the moments when they simply cannot see the bright side of things. Resist from harping on the past and putting them back into the cycle of rethinking what they could or should have done to save their job.

3. Don't Pity Them

There's nothing worse than being at the receiving end of a pathetic look, particularly when you already don't feel so great about yourself. Bestowing pity on your sweetheart won't help anyone. They need a pick-me-up, not sad eyes to remind them that they're not in the best place. Don't get me wrong — empathy is an important part of caring for them, but be careful it doesn't cross over to pity.

4. Reassess Your Finances

This is especially important if you live together — finances are bound to overlap at some point. If the both of you were working before, you probably got into the habit of living comfortably. But now that the money situation has changed a bit, you might have to rethink how and where you spend money. Are there some things you can do without for a little while? Are there some compromises you can make together? Work together to get money in order; that will reduce the anxiety, especially for them.

5. Do Cheap, Fun Things Together

Skip the pricey weekend brunches and take your SO for a picnic in the park. Organize a potluck dinner at your house so that friends can come over, keeping your wallet happy and your social life alive. You can even look for meetups to see what kind of free events are happening in your neighborhood. Staying busy in cheap ways will not only take their mind off of work for a little while, it will lessen the stress of worrying about finances.

6. Stay Busy Yourself

When you see your partner with a lot more time on their hands, you might be tempted to give up on your own schedule to stay at home with them. Not the best idea, though. As much as you should be gentle and caring with them through this rough time, forfeiting things that are important to your well-being — like work or exercise — will put the both of you in a bad place. Find a balance between spending quality time together and allowing yourself to continue with your life as usual.

7. Come Up With A Game Plan

Looking forward into the future is helpful in situations like this. Sit down with your partner and look for some jobs together; inspire them to continue networking and applying for the positions that interest them. Make a budget together, figuring out what to save and how much you can spend. It will be comforting to them knowing that the two of you are in this together.

8. Keep Each Other Healthy

When we run into big obstacles like this, it's easy to toss in the towel and find ourselves on the couch with a huge bag of potato chips. Don't let fitness and diet go out the window, though — it will only make it harder for your SO to get back on their feet. Cook them healthy dishes for dinner and ask them to go for a run with you. No need to scold them if they fall off the beaten path — just lead by example.

9. Find A Support System

We don't always reach out for help when we need it most, so your partner might need the very kind of support they aren't asking for. Talk to some people who have been through the same thing, whether it's a family member or a mentor, and listen to their advice. You could possibly connect your partner with someone who can either help them find a new job or at least guide them through the emotional roller coaster ride. Above all else, remember to take care of yourself — it isn't easy being someone's rock, and you'll need your friends to be there for you too.

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