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He is still unemployed

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  April 2, 2010 07:08 AM

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"Becky Shaw" ticket winners should get an email from me by 2 or so. If you don't get tickets this time around, there will be more free things to win. So many things.

This letter makes me think we need a "money" category. Money has come up a few times this week. I'll ask Tito about adding it.

Q: I am 45 years old and have been divorced for six years. Two years ago, I met a nice guy on an online dating service. He had a great job that he loved and also made a great salary. He is kind, funny, smart – an all around good guy .

About two months into our relationship he lost his job. He thought that he would be able to get another job quickly but with the downturn in the economy, things didn't work out that way. He has been unemployed for most of the time I have dated him. When we first met, we traveled, went out to eat, went to clubs to see bands, etc. I did pay for my portion of the vacations but for the most part he paid for our dates.

I know that he is using up his 401K just to live and he has cut his living expenses down to the bare bones. I try to be understanding of this but we never go out anymore and it is really starting to bother me. I will offer to pay for us to go out to eat and to clubs but I am unable to do this all the time because I am raising two teenagers on my own and also work two jobs just to try and make ends meet.

He does have a part time job that is sporadic and is only called when needed. I try to be understanding and we will stay in and watch movies, play cards, etc., and I do try and make the best of it. He does look for work every day and has been on interviews but nothing has panned out for him. I am at a crossroads as to what to do. At this point in my life I want more for me this time around. I know that sounds selfish but I was married for 17 years to a man who was totally neglectful to me and his kids. Has anyone been in this situation before and how long do I give him to find a job????? I am so torn because I do love him but I don't love the situation that we are in.

– Not Loving the Situation, Melrose

A: OK, NLTS, the first thing I'm going to do is validate your frustration. My instinct was to tell you that you should be able to love a partner no matter how much money he makes, but you've been coping with this financial anxiety for the better part of two years. That's a long time to feel as though you have to stay in and play cards. It's certainly a difficult way to fall in love with someone.

You're working two jobs. He's working sporadically. He's probably waiting to find a job that on par with his previous gig, but he has to know that this situation can't last forever. You're not demanding that he make big bucks and spoil you. All you want is a plan. If he goes a few more months without finding the right job, would he be open to taking some random, part-time work?

You love him. You're not asking whether you should bail. You're asking how long you should put up with this, and by "this" you seem to mean his one, part-time job. It's a fair question. Being broke doesn't kill a relationship. Resentment does.

There should be a plan, and you should have a say in it. You don't have to be silent about this to be supportive and loving. You're allowed to ask questions, suggest solutions, and veto options that don't work for you. It has been two years. He has to understand that you're in this together.

Readers? How do you get through unemployment in a relationship? Am I right to assume that she's frustrated that he hasn’t picked up more temporary or part-time work? Is it wrong that she wants the social life that she had when they first started dating? Discuss.

– Meredith


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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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