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Claiming a headache used to be the nice way to tell your other half that you weren’t in the mood. When one of you is unemployed, it can affect far more than your bank balance. Everything from your self-esteem to your sex life can take a hit.

“Financial worries tend to seep into all parts of a couple’s life together,” says Dr. Pepper Schwartz, a sexologist at the University of Washington in Seattle and AARP’s love and sex expert. “It’s hard for some people to feel warm and sexy when they are afraid of losing their home–or they have already lost their job.”

Unfortunately people 55 and over still have a lot to worry about in the unemployment category, according to the most recent government unemployment report. The 55-plus jobless rate increased to 7 percent from 6.7 percent in September, according to an AARP Bulletin article.

There was a hint of good news concerning a significant problem for older workers. After rising for months, the average time out of work for the 55-plus group declined to 52.9 weeks as of October, from 54.8 weeks the previous month. But that’s still a long time.

Going without work for months on end takes a toll – especially on older workers who have to deal with the double burden of worrying about age discrimination in a tight job market. Keep in mind that you’re likely to find some comfort and practical advice from other seasoned workers in the same boat. Many have found support and friendships in online communities from people who know what they’re going through. Experts say that leaning on each other and giving your spouse or partner a break from some of the day-to-day worry can help.

Also, take advantage of resources and programs focused on older workers, like these job-hunting tips and resources from AARP. Seek help if your emotions become overwhelming and if depression is a concern.

Meanwhile, focus on ways to enjoy your partner and let your other half know how much you appreciate them – in good times and in bad. Show them some love…literally and figuratively.

Question: If you’re unemployed, what advice would you give on how to be a supportive spouse or partner during this tough time and stay strong as a couple? Respond to the question on our Facebook wall.

Photo by caribb via Flickr Creative Commons.

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