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Did your partner just lose his job? Here are six ways you can help

So your spouse has just been laid off. How should you react? Here are easy tips on helping your partner come to terms with professional setbacks.

sex and relationships Updated: May 17, 2017 07:41 IST
Anjali Shetty
Anjali Shetty
New Delhi
Unemployment,Spouse laid off,How to deal with being fired
When your partner is unemployed, you must stay strong and be a support system for them, say mental health experts.(Shutterstock)

Imagine coming home to hear that your partner has lost his/her job or has been fired? What would your immediate response be?

While most of us may react almost quickly, the best possible way is to stay calm. The moment will be overwhelming and you will feel a variety of emotions from sadness to anxiety and frustration to regret. It is completely okay and normal to feel so. However, you have to stay strong and be a support system for your partner. Dr Salma Prabhu, clinical psychologist, points out, “Dealing with an unemployed partner can be very stressful or one could also look at it as a blessing. The way to deal with the situation is to have good communication and make things clear.” The issue of being affected stems from the fact that we are raised to believe that people should always be employed.

1. Listen, don’t react

Patience is a virtue and this is the right time to display it. This trying time at home requires you to be a good listener. You will have to leave aside your worries for a while and assure your partner that you are there for him/her. Dr Harish Shetty, a psychiatrist says, “The idea is to get them to let out their thoughts and feelings. Give them your time and let them vent out their angst and apprehensions. Communicate in a nice and positive tone.”

Encourage your partner to not feel guilty. Dr Prabhu adds, “This kind of approach gives better results and also helps your partner go back to work sooner.”

2. Be honest, not mean

Honesty is the best policy and it is great to be transparent and open with your partner. However, there is a thin line between being honest and being rude. Dr Prabhu adds, "There will be situations where the unemployed partner watches a lot of TV or spends time playing games rather than looking for employment. However, you have to be polite about pointing it out.” Make sure you do not cross this line, as doing so will lead to a crazy argument in turn making things worse. Put your point forth with ease without being sarcastic or arrogant.

There is a thin line between being honest and being rude. Put your point forth with ease without being sarcastic or arrogant. (Shutterstock)

3. One day at a time

You need to understand that your partner is going through a major shift. Avoid talking about the future or constantly questioning him/her on what’s next. Let him/her take one day at a time. Help him/her get a routine that will shake of his earlier schedule. Dr Prabhu shares that the best way is reverse psychology. Instead of feeling negative, focus on the positives.

4. Plan activities together

Now that he/she will be around for longer hours, make sure you plan fun activities and spend time together. Get a list made of things you have been wanting to do together. Dr Prabhu adds, “This is a good time to catch up on that course you were waiting to do. You can plan a short trip. You work on chores together.” Do not force them to do something they dislike or are unsure of. This has to be a stress-reliever activity.

5. Don’t brag about your contribution

There will come a time when you will feel the pressure of balancing work and home. Don’t succumb to it. If your partner has not done the discussed chore or forgotten something, then do not brag about your contribution or work schedule. Do not compare his/her time to yours. Most importantly, don’t state that you are the one currently earning. At the same time, do not take up on yourself more than you can handle. Keep your me-time with your friends intact.

6. Don’t push them or argue over what their next move should be

Remember they are in the midst of figuring out their next move. Do not expect them to be prepared with a plan. Do not push them to pick a job or take up anything for the sake of it. Let them make the decision, after all it is their career. You may guide them but not enforce a decision. Do not keep telling the partner about the opportunities available or how he/she must get back to work soon.

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First Published: May 17, 2017 07:35 IST