The Trials of Joblessness

10 Apr

Letterbalm Pink SlipDear LetterBalm: My husband lost his job six months ago, and the kind, caring man I married has turned into the scourge of God. He yells at me and our kids, stomps around the house, and lets his impatience and anger boil over all the time. I know this is because he feels helpless. Every day, he’s out looking for any kind of work, and my heart breaks for him. I have a job, but our finances are stretched on one income. We have no intimacy anymore. I’ve been reassuring the kids about their dad’s behavior, but what can I say to him?

–Hurting in Boise

Across the nation, there are millions of out-of-work stories, each more heartrending than the last. Ms. L.B. has been there, and she empathizes with everything you are going through. Joblessness produces extraordinary personal and familial stress and upheaval, and economists are saying it will be years before our economy rights itself. Meanwhile, the best you can do is to let your husband know you understand and that you will stand by him no matter what. Don’t press for sex – sometimes a gentle hug means as much now. Pick quiet moments when he’s relatively calm and undistracted and keep repeating versions of this reassuring mantra:

Ben, these are tough times for you and for us all, and I understand it when you snap at me and the kids. I don’t like it, but I understand it. I can’t tell you that the job situation will change for the better soon – no one knows that. But one thing you can know for sure is that the kids and I will love you always. We’ll get through this together. You’re the man I married, and I want you to know that I have your back. I’ll always be there for you.

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