Just Work Your Way Through It!
When It's Pink-Slip Time
You know, of course, that layoffs are pretty common these days. But when the reality affects your family, you're thrown for a loop. "Job loss is a source of enormous stress and can really shake a marriage," says Olivia Mellan, coauthor of Money Shy to Money Sure: A Woman's Road Map to Financial Well-Being. The challenges are real: how to survive without that paycheck -- and without plunging into debt.
But there's enormous emotional fallout as well, especially if your hubby's the one who's been let go. "A man's identity is often very tied to his job, and getting laid off can cause his self-confidence to plummet," Mellan says. He might act withdrawn or angry, and you, in turn, may feel furious with him, even though you know it's not his fault. All this tension can ratchet up stress levels for everyone in the house, including the baby, the dog, and the goldfish.
Map out a concrete plan for dealing with unemployment: Work out a budget, draw up a realistic timetable for job hunting. Having a plan will make you feel more in control -- and that alone can ease some of the anxiety.
The emotional baggage that comes with losing a job is plenty heavy, so cut yourselves some slack. You're both entitled to feel crummy right now. The key is for couples to keep the lines of communication open during times of stress. Encourage your spouse to vent his feelings of frustration and anger in a safe and respectful atmosphere. Listen and sympathize, but also feel free to share your own worries. And don't forget to treat yourselves just a little, whether it's sharing a pint of Cherry Garcia or a pitcher of beer.