hate-you.jpgLove can conquer all, but so many of us forget this.

With the loss of everything I used to own, the woman I love kicked me to the street and told me to take the job in the other state… Great for me. Loosing a job or business cost more than just money.

This comment was posted on Newsvine after my column on “Love and Layoffs” ran on MSNBC.com earlier this week. It’s a variation of the types of stories I’ve been hearing lately from people who are struggling with economic hardships, particularly the loss of a job.

Money is indeed the root of all evil, and it can tear apart families, lovers, friends.

All of us let it eat away at our relationships, whether we know it or not. When we’re freaked out over finances we stress out, and who do you think we take this stress out on, our spouses, lovers. It’s just the way it goes. Who else are you going to take it out on?

But we all have to be mindful of spewing too much on our better halves, of being so scared or angry that we forget about romance, love.

Some how we have to take the challenge of job loss, and use it to make our relationships stronger.

Here’s a great thought from Suzanne Griscom, a writer and editor, who’s husband was recently laid off from Microsoft:

Our finances are tight, to say the least. He was the provider. Our relationship is solid, in fact, it feels good in a way to be shoulder to shoulder with him in getting through this financial strain. It is definitely stressful, but we haven’t broken down over it, but have come closer because of it, in some ways.

I know it’s not easy folks. We have to sit back and take a deep breath.

This is a good time to get seriously organized by writing down your job-seeking goals and getting your finances in order. Try to separate the anxieties that come with job loss from your relationships.

And start thinking about why you fell in love with each other.

Here are some great tips for couples from Lynne Klippel, who survived her husband’s job loss and now has a hubby job loss blog:

1. Make the relationship a priority, decide to do whatever it takes to survive this situation and stay together. Some days you’ll feel like divorce so make a list of the reasons why you want to stay together and review it when you want to give up.
2. Spend more time together- the temptation is to pull apart but it is important to have at least one date a week where you can connect, even if it is an ice cream cone at Dairy Queen for 89 cents.
3. The unemployed man needs to establish a routine quickly with increased duties around the house. Being responsible for the laundry, shopping, or cooking will give him a sense of accomplishment, and ease the stress on the working wife. (Note from CareerDiva: I think women need this as well.)
4. Take an honest look at finances so you know where you are then enroll the kids in helping save/earn money. My kids had no allowance for 3 years but we kept track of the money in ‘the bank of Mom’. Now that we are recovered financially, that money is there to help with college needs or to get things for apartment living. Our kids were great about finding ways to save/earn money and felt like they were helping. It made them feel like a part of the solution and gave them good tools for their adult lives.
5. Wives need to get educated on the signs of depression. If hubby shows signs, get him to the doctor, even if he resists. Plus, monitor yourself for that depression. Chances are both of you are battling depression but it looks differently in men/women.
6. Get support from friends, family, and your spiritual practices. Women need a girl friend they can cry with and complain to with no judgement. I found great support from co-workers who had an out of work spouse. They were the only ones who really understood and let me blow off steam.
7. Know that a job loss is a deeper blow to most men as they are more tied to their job to define who they are. Give him lots of praise for his strengths, accomplishments, and his important role in your life. (Again note from CareerDiva: I think this is a bit of an out-dated concept. Many women define themselves through their careers today. We can debate this if you like.)
8. Laugh as much as possible. There is healing in watching old sitcoms and funny family movies. It is usually up to the woman to monitor the emotional climate of the family and lighten things up as often as possible. It sounds hokey, but it really works.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. If one of you is out of a job, it’s probably not a great idea to spurge on expensive gifts and a fancy dinner. But if I lost my job, I’d really appreciate a small box of chocolates and a foot massage, not a lecture on why I only sent out one resume last week.

How’s your relationship surviving this economy? Any low-cost romance ideas?

Here’s a clip from one of my favorite romantic flicks:

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

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