How To Support Your Partner When They Lose Their Job, According To An Expert
No matter how long you've been dating someone, it's not always easy to know how to support your partner when they lose their job. While working, navigating the modern work place, and finding clothes that are simultaneously comfortable, professional, and still on brand, can feel like the pinnacle of stress —losing your job, for any number of reasons, can be completely disorienting.
"There are many, many different circumstances that can come with job loss. For some, it may actually be a relief. For others, it may be seen as an opportunity to make a change. For many, however, the job may have been not only a source of income, but also a source of identity. All of these scenarios are possible," Dr. Joshua Klapow, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist and Host of 'The Kurre and Klapow Show,' tells Elite Daily. "The message here is don’t assume you know exactly how your partner feels. It’s time to check in."
When your partner loses their job, it's natural to feel a little overwhelmed. You care deeply about your boo, and you want to make sure they are feeling loved and supported. Dr. Klapow broke down some ways to support a partner that lost their job, and what he said rings true.
Listen To Them
There are so many reasons someone could lose their job, and so many emotional reactions they may have to the loss. The first step in supporting your boo should be listening to what they're feeling. "You can say you feel sorry and bad but stop there. Ask them how they are feeling, what they are thinking, what they need if anything from you," Dr. Klapow says. "Remember that it may be a shock, a relief, a devastation. You don’t know. So let them guide you." Making space for your partner to feel whatever emotions they are feeling can can be a great way to start to support them.
Additionally, understanding that their feelings will change overtime and that they may need different support along the way can be a great way to stay on the same page. "What they feel the day they lose their job may be very different from what they feel the next day and two weeks later. Take their emotional reaction for what it is at that moment, and don’t assume that it will stay the same," Dr. Klapow says. "Checking in with them and honoring their requests in the moment is key."
Be OK With Their Down Time
Whether you're super into your job or you and your boo share finances, you may be worried about their job search. While it helps to be supportive, encouraging your boo to get a new job or suggesting they speed up their healing process could come off as some unwanted pressure.
"It’s not uncommon for people to do literally nothing for a couple of weeks," Dr. Klapow says. "Getting back in the job market can be challenging logistically and psychologically. They may feel devastated, afraid of failing, out of their league, overwhelmed." Your boo may need a while to process the loss and suss out their next steps. And though it may be a natural instinct to get involved with their healing process, it could be beneficial to give the some space. "It’s OK to express your concerns for them, for your collective finances, for the need for them to contribute," Dr. Klapow says. "In the end — your partner’s job is their job. If you are finding that it is more important to you than it is to them, you need to readjust your perspective."
Let Them Lead
If you're a super self-starter, or totally hands on, you may want to take the lead on getting your boo back in the working world. But according to Dr. Klapow, it may be best to let them lead. "Your role in helping them find a new job should be one of support not responsibility for leading the charge. Do not start offering suggestions. Ask them what would be helpful," Dr. Klapow says. "Let them lead and you support. This is their job, and in order for them to truly get back in the work mode they must lead the effort."
If you and your partner are super verbal communicators, you may already be talking about next steps. If your boo is the silent and brooding type, they may need to collect their ideas before discussing anything with you. Letting them decide how they want to move forward can help in giving them the support they need. "If they want to be left alone — leave them alone. If they want to talk about it — let them talk about it. Listen to their requests and follow through. That is the best you can do in the immediate aftermath," Dr. Klapow says.
If your partner lost their job, there are many ways you can support them. Although you may think you know what they need, it can be important to check in consistently, to ensure you're all on the same page. From checking in with their needs to making space for their feelings, supporting your boo through a job loss will look different for everyone. Losing your job can be totally earth-shattering, but having a supportive partner can make it a little easier everyday.