When One of You is Newly Unemployed

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When One of You is Newly Unemployed

Whether you’ve chosen to resign from a job that was making you completely miserable, been made redundant or find yourself jobless for any other reason, being the unemployed partner in a cohabiting relationship is tough. On top of everything else, you’re likely to feel stressed and guilty; fully aware that your partner is now providing for both of you.

I found myself in this position last month, and was very worried about how my new, unemployed status would affect my relationship with my partner of three years.

However, over the past few weeks, I’ve come across a few things that make life a little easier, and would like to share my tips with you…

Discuss finances as soon as possible

Early in my unemployment, my partner and I sat down together and discussed our money situation and how we were going to manage the mortgage and household bills. This is not an easy conversation to have, but it’s important to figure out who can pay what, and how long for.

Cut your spending habits and find ways of making extra money

It goes without saying that you’ll have to be extra careful with your money. I cut costs on food through buying in bulk, getting reduced meat or bread products and freezing them and baking rather than buying sweet things. I’m so intent on saving money that I wrap myself in blankets and cuddle a hot water bottle instead of turning on the heating! The key is to be mindful of your spending.

In terms of making extra money when you’re unemployed, sell what you don’t need! I’ve made over £50 through selling clothes and books that I no longer have use for on Ebay!

Get up when your partner does

Not only will you have plenty of time to devote to looking for a job that will excite and fulfil you, but you won’t have to worry that your partner is imagining you lying in bed watching funny YouTube videos on your phone whilst they’re at work…!

Increase your chances of finding work

Don’t fall into the habit of using just one website to look for jobs; scour newspapers, utilise social media and keep an eye out for advertisements. Keep in mind, too, that a lot of jobs aren’t advertised, so it’s worth approaching workplaces with a well-structured CV and covering letter.

You might want to consider offering your services for free in the hope that this will lead to paid work. A few years ago, I did a lot of voluntary work with children with special educational needs and managed to secure a full-time job as a Learning Support Assistant in a high school off the back of my experience. Now, as I would like to work in the publishing sector, I am a volunteer book reviewer for Macmillan Cancer and will soon be doing some voluntary proofreading for Guide Dogs. Even if I never get a paid job through the work I’m doing, these are extremely worthwhile charities to give up my time for, (and I’m sure potential employers would agree!)

…but don’t be afraid to take time out of the job search!

Searching for jobs can be draining and soul-destroying, and in order to present the best version of yourself to prospective employers, you need to take time out, without feeling guilty. Which leads me nicely on to…

Look after your health; both physically and mentally

Going for a run or brisk walk is great for your body and mind. If you’re not one for long periods of exercise, just 10 minutes of an exercise DVD or online workout will help with your general fitness.

If I’m feeling stressed by my day-long job search, I tend to read, listen to music or have a nice hot bath. I also make myself the same healthy lunch I’d have if I were at work each day, and try to get a decent amount of sleep every night.

Make an effort with household duties

Since being unemployed, I’ve taken charge of cleaning the house, doing the food shopping and cooking dinner, but my partner has made it clear to me that he doesn’t expect me to do absolutely everything.

It seems only fair to take charge of household duties if you’re at home and your partner is working, but remember that you both live in your home, and your current lack of employment shouldn’t mean you never get a break from chores!

 Better yourself

As well as searching for jobs, use your time to do things that will benefit you in some way, but will also look good on your CV. Then, at interviews, you can say that you’ve spent your time wisely, either by volunteering for charities, travelling abroad and learning a new language or studying for a course, (as examples). As well as my voluntary work, I’ve also been attending a local writers’ workshop and have been working on my blog; both of which I can mention in my CV.

Don’t become a recluse; see your friends!

It’s important not to hide yourself away at home. Your friends will understand that you can’t splash out on three-course dinners at Italian chains like you could when you were employed, but you can find cheaper (or even free) things to do together. (And you should!)

Make sure your partner knows you appreciate them

My partner knows that I’m eternally grateful for him supporting me during my period of unemployment, both financially and emotionally, because I regularly tell him so.

As I said earlier, your unemployment isn’t easy for your partner, either, and it’s important to let them know you appreciate them.

Megan Whiting

Megan Whiting

Freelance Writer at SilverStarFish
She lives in Suffolk, UK. She has a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing with the Open University and recently joined the Society for Editors and Proofreaders. Having resigned from a job she had been very unhappy in, She is now pursuing a career as a freelance writer.
Megan Whiting

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