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Friday, February 3, 2012

Thursday Love: How Much Support For How Long?

Yesterday a young woman who overheard me on a phone call talking about my upcoming relationship book, asked me a question that I had to think about. I wasn’t exactly sure how to answer her question right away, so I gave her the address to the blog and told her my answer would be here. Hopefully she’s logged on to get my answer.

Her question was as follows: "How long should a woman support her boyfriend who’s out of a job?"
 So after some deep thought and getting personal "man" feelings out of the way...this is my answer.
Her issue was that her boyfriend of four years that lives with her, lost his job 18 months ago and has gotten complacent and isn’t motivated anymore to continue looking for a new job. She wanted to know why has he gotten so relaxed and is there anything she can do to help motivate him?

I couldn’t give an answer right away because I was in that position a little over three years ago myself where I lost my job and was out of work for 10 months. It hit a little close to home and therefore needed to be explained appropriately.
The reason why a man gets complacent isn’t out of laziness, it’s out of frustration. At least that’s what it was out for me. I’m not normally a lazy person, but after trying and trying and trying to find a job...scratch that...just to get a call back for an interview, and continuing to get nowhere is a feeling that I hope I never have to experience again.

A man’s pride is a sensitive creature. Yes, I called it a creature. A man’s pride can make him do stupid things, think irrationally, and doubt his worth as a MAN. There’s no real way to explain it other than that to women, because they don’t have the same issues with pride that we men do. Society has dictated that men have to be the breadwinner and provider for their families, and when the loss of a job impacts a man being able to be that for his family, his pride takes a major blow and his self-worth can begin to plummet drastically.

In this young woman’s case, I wouldn’t say that she needs to be to disheartened that her man is feeling down. The fact that he’s hit this point is actually a good sign. It shows that he’s hit the point where he realizes that he can’t do things on his own and needs your support. It’s the men that don’t feel down and don’t seem to ever get discouraged with their situation are the ones that are the problem.

To the young woman who posed the question to me I suggest that you try to sit down and have a serious conversation with your boyfriend and try to show some empathy for how he’s feeling and why he’s feeling that way. On top of that, try to make him understand that he’s not the only one going through this type of situation. And that you’ll be there to support him and that your thoughts about or feelings toward him aren’t wavering at all. At this critical stage he needs that reassurance from you.

Now on the flip side of this topic there are those men who are truly good for nothing lazy bums who take their supportive women for granted and who don’t even want to try. To women in a situation like that I say...it’s time that loser pulls his own weight. There’s no other way to say it, a man who doesn’t even try to provide for his own is worthless. So the question then is how long does a woman support a man who’s not even trying?

In my opinion the answer is pretty simple....

IT DEPENDS ON HOW FAR YOU SEE THE RELATIONSHIP GOING.

If you know you’ll eventually be marrying this man, then I’d say be his "ride or die" and stick it out until he realizes he has to get his act together and does so. If you "think" there’s a "possibility" that you could end up with this man...then I’d say maybe give him 6 months to get himself back on track...now that’s not saying that he has to be back up on his feet and employed, but he at least needs to be back actively searching for work and trying to better his situation. Now if you were skeptical as to whether the relationship would last before he lost his job, or there were major problems before he lost his job and he’s acting like his unemployment isn’t a big deal...It’s time to drop him now. It’s NOT a woman’s responsibility to provide for the man...it should be the other way around!

Bottom line ladies...if he’s a little disheartened but still has that desire to get a job and carry his own weight, don’t abandon him. Support him and reassure him that you’re not going anywhere and that you’ll do whatever you can to help keep his spirits up. I tell you from personal experience, that’s how my wife handled it and it made a world of difference and helped get me back to being my old self again...and not long after that, I found a job. It wasn’t what I was previously making, but it was an honest dollar and it got me out of the house.

Take my advice...lack of a job isn’t the reason to leave your man....however, no desire to get a job IS!

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