Relationship Bailout Plan: Can You Help Us?



Dr. Dar Hawks

“I lost my job at a large brokerage house in NYC, a casualty of the financial crisis. I’ve been unemployed for nine months. My wife works part-time in retail (but makes very little money) and we have 2 small children. We only have a couple months of savings left and our house is in foreclosure. I can’t find any work, so I’m working part-time at a local coffee house.

It helps me to keep my sanity while I continue to look for work. We’re fighting all the time. I feel horrible about myself and my wife thinks I’m a loser. She’s critical and unsupportive and while I do understand this is stressful on her, it’s devastating to me that the woman I love is not there to support me — what ever happened to “for better or for worse?” I feel dejected enough as it is. She is my partner, and she is not there for me at a time when I need her most. I try to talk to her, but she’s either criticizing me, angry or crying. I don’t know what to do. Now she’s threatening to leave me and take the kids. The stress on us is ruining our marriage and jeopardizing our future together.

What can I do to bring some stability to this situation? What can I say or do to bring peace, even just a little bit so that I can have a clear head to continue looking for a solid job?”

Dr. Dar says:

“There is one major thing that I have learned about women: when their financial security or stability is threatened in any way, they become irrational, emotional, and erratic; they take a fighting stance, and overcorrect in their nagging and controlling behavior; especially if their financial stability was abundant in the relationship and then all of sudden it disappears. In your situation, with the home is in danger of being lost, she is totally feeling out of control of everything. The only thing she knows to do is to lash out and attack that which jeopardized her security or stability; this is primal behavior. Know that this is not about you as her husband and is more about someone who threatened her security or gave it to her and then took it away. Simply love her. Rather than argue with her or defend your position in any way, I suggest you remind her that you love her and your children and you understand how she feels, echo back what she says to you with compassion and understanding. Connect with her feelings and support her so she knows that with her by your side, you cannot fail. Involve her in conversations about what you both will do to manage the situation in a way that you are both involved and feel valued. I am certain that when the two of you put your heads together, solutions will show up that none of you would have thought of individually.”

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