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Supporting an unemployed spouse: A story of strength and resilience.

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

Unemployment has become a significant challenge for many individuals, impacting not only their financial stability but also their relationships. When faced with a layoff, the burden of responsibilities such as loan payments, rent, and basic necessities can feel overwhelming. This situation is escalated further when both partners are unemployed, putting their relationship to the test.

In my case, I had been working in IT for the past five years despite my passion for psychology. Finding a job in my desired field was particularly challenging due to the stigma surrounding mental health in India. However, in August 2022, luck finally favored me, and I secured a dream job in psychology. My husband, fully supportive of my decision, resigned from his job in our hometown, and we moved to a new city together. While I had a job offer, he did not, but we remained optimistic that he would find employment within three months.

As I settled into my new role and enjoyed the positive work environment, my husband diligently applied for numerous jobs. However, as the months went by, his search yielded no results, and I witnessed his spirit waver. Despite his excellent performance and successfully completing interviews, he faced rejection due to unrealistic salary expectations. It was disheartening to see even a modest salary demand of RS 25,000 for someone with six years of experience being considered high. Recruiters would provide false hope, promising to follow up but never doing so. Throughout this ordeal, I stood by his side, offering unwavering support. I comforted him during moments of despair, assuring him of his worth and our love. I firmly believed that unemployment is a temporary phase and that this too will pass.

While my loved ones suggested being more assertive in his job search, I refused to be angry at a man already grappling with feelings of defeat. However, it was not an easy journey. I experienced moments of panic when I saw our dwindling bank balance and sadness when I had to make compromises to make ends meet in a single-income household in a metropolitan city. There were times when I longed to express my frustrations but instead found solace in silent tears during my commute or in my office cabin, constantly battling stress. Saying that I survived this is just an understatement.

After eight arduous months, he finally secured a job. It was a moment of immense relief and joy, signaling the end of my solitary tears and a ray of hope for a brighter future. I was especially grateful that he could now look forward to his own professional pursuits instead of waiting at home for my return from work.

female leaning her shoulder on to her spouse's shoulder overlooking a paddy field

This journey has taught me the importance of unwavering support for one's partner during challenging times. If you find yourself supporting an unemployed partner, don't hesitate to seek help for yourself when the burden becomes overwhelming. It's okay to vent and express your emotions. It's okay if you cry. It's okay if you feel like you are stuck in this never-ending loop. Taking care of your mental health while supporting your partner's mental well-being is really important. I still wonder how we did it. I can't forget the times when I really wanted to give up and just blast. It all makes sense now, as something good was on its way to us. Trust me, the experience will be a great learning experience, and together, you will come out stronger than ever.

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