Roughly 44% of people expect their Valentine to spend at least $50 on a gift, according to WalletHub’s 2019 Valentine’s Day Survey. But for partners without a steady income, that’s not always an option — which doesn’t bode well for their relationship’s future. Studies have shown that unemployed men are more likely to go through a divorce than men with stable jobs. This means that one’s professional life doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Rather, it is deeply engrained in one’s marriage and home life as well.
Juggling work and family can be a major struggle for many couples, especially now as more and more women remain in the workforce after having children. It becomes an even bigger struggle when one partner feels that the other is not contributing enough.
When one partner is unemployed, more pressure is put on the shoulders of the other partner, particularly in terms of finances.
“Work equals earnings, and earnings equals helping to support and sustain a family,” said Laurel Steinberg, a relationship therapist and professor of psychology at Columbia University. “One partner’s lack of ability to contribute financially in a meaningful way can cause the other partner to have to scramble to work extra-long hours, which can cause resentment.”
Even more damaging to a marriage is the perception of laziness, which most people consider an unattractive quality in a partner. Steinberg noted, however, that what could be perceived as laziness, may very well be depression or low self-esteem, which causes the unemployed partner to miss the fact that they aren’t pulling their weight.
According to statistics, 22% of new hires leave their jobs within the first 45 days, choosing unemployment over a job they don’t like. Unemployment is a serious issue among Americans — young men in particular. Last year, over 20% of men between the ages of 21 and 30 without a college degree reported not working at all. As many as 44% of Millennials — men and women — say that given the choice, they would leave their current employers within the next two years.
In what was once a two-income household, being forced to rely on one person’s wages alone can cause a lot of tension and a lot of stress. According to Steinberg, however, it is a problem that can be addressed and worked through in a marriage. She recommends finding time for mindful communication in which both partners work together to come up with a solution.