People fall in love with people, not titles – I have always said that. But sometimes the title or position the person has only makes him or her more appealing to you. His or her personality counts just as much. If you like someone who has an alpha-type of personality, what happens if there is a change or a shift in life and that alpha personality goes away for a bit? The person you love is still there, but the drive, determination, and overall gestalt of the person that was one of the attributes that led you to love him in the first place is gone. Let’s say, for example, that depression sets in. What can you do? Now the person isn’t the same go-getter Type A personality you are attracted to. How can you get that drive and personality back? Sometimes there is nothing you can do but let time play out and be supportive.
My fiancé and I dated for a few years and then took the next step and we have been engaged. We are both working in the corporate world and keep late hours. Between both of our busy schedules it’s hard to carve out time to plan the wedding. He’s fine with me making all the decisions, but I do need his input in some areas.
About two months ago, my fiancé was let go from his job. His company merged with another, and they were moving the operations side to Texas. It’s not possible for us to move to Texas at all. So, he was let go, or he resigned, whatever it is; but just know he wasn’t fired for doing something wrong or harassing workmates.
For the first month, he sent his resume to everyone he knows, posted his resume on websites, went on interview after interview… but now not so much. He still sends his resume out and goes to interviews but now it’s more like once a week instead of a few times a week, and a couple times he had interviews back-to-back in one day. He’s called all of his contacts and people he has been networking with over the years but is still unemployed.
The go-getter I love and know has been replaced by someone I almost don’t recognize. I can understand that, as more time goes by without finding a job, the more depressed he gets. It’s understandable. He used to have 13-hour workdays sometimes. Now he gets up late and doesn’t really check off all the things on his to-do list, which includes making more calls about finding a job. I wouldn’t call it lazy, but he is very slow to do things, whereas before, you wouldn’t have to ask him twice – he got the job, all jobs, done. Now he’ll call me a few times a day to say “hi” or to tell me something interesting he heard on the news. I suggested taking this available time to help me work on the wedding, but he flat out refuses to discuss wedding plans. I thought it would be a good distraction, but it’s not.
He’s changed and become a different version of himself, a quieter almost smaller version of himself. I know that looking for a job is hard, but it’s as if the gusto and optimism and fun has been taken out of him.
Any ideas on how to deal with this?
Thank you for your email, Cary.
As you wrote, it’s understandable as to why your fiancé has gone from Mr. Do-It-All to Mr. Not Doing Much. He may not have been terminated for work-related issues, but facts are he was still let go. I wonder if he was given any sort of severance package.
This can be a huge blow to anyone’s ego, male or female. Put yourself in your fiancé’s shoes. You’re the man, you’ve always worked, and worked hard; now, you’re getting married, and it doesn’t look like you’ll be the breadwinner/provider in the marriage for at least the very beginning – depending on when your wedding is. That’s a huge blow for a man. You may thing planning the wedding is a great distraction, but he may look at it as a step down. Weddings are usually planned by females; and now, because he has time on his hands and needs to be kept busy, you’re asking him to do event planning? Even if it is for his own wedding, it’s probably the last thing he wants to do.
Your fiancé had gusto and he seems to have hustled during the first few weeks of his new unemployed life. He was still used to working and moving at a fast pace. Now that time has moved on, he seems to have lost some hope. You mentioned he sent out his resume, has gone on many interviews, contacted everyone he knows, but he still remains jobless. He may have thought that he would have found another job by now. Two months is a long time when you are expecting something to happen right away. The more time that passes, the more his reality of being jobless and not able to provide sets in. Don’t compare your fiancé who did everything right away to your fiancé now. The saying is: Always give something to do to a busy person because he’ll find time to squeeze it in and get it done. So, one can understand that if you give someone with a lot of time on his hands a task, it may be pushed off to “later.”
Cary, it would be a good idea for you to read up on situational depression. Just as people may be diagnosed with situational depression in the winter, with the days getting shorter and the sun setting earlier, so too people may get depressed over specific situations in their lives. This isn’t a clinical therapeutic column, but I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you to look it up. In no way am I saying that your fiancé has situational depression; but look into it and see if there are ways that a partner/spouse can help his or her loved one.
All you can do is be patient and supportive to your fiancé now. He most probably is starting to get depressed or at least is still in a state of shock that he is still unemployed. As you said, only because the two of you couldn’t relocate to Texas is why your fiancé is without a job – not because of any work-related issues, but that doesn’t help in the long run. Depending on your fiancé’s mood, ask him if you can speak to people on his behalf (although I’m sure you may have done so already). Some people are sensitive about others helping them find employment; they may feel they are now beholden to that person or resent the fact that they were not able to do it on their own. You know your fiancé best. He may not want to talk about what he’s feeling, but he should. Get it out in the open. Sometimes, when you lay it all on the table, you may see solutions that you hadn’t thought of before.
They say that now is the time the job market is open for employees to switch careers, firms, have a chance to earn more than before, etc. The “they” I refer to are news anchors and business strategists; but your fiancé is probably wondering where all these jobs are that they speak of.
Just be there for him. Don’t push him too hard, because it may backfire on you. I’m sure he’s doing the best he can. But taking a day off from the “hustle” may be good, as well. If he has worked for many years and at times 13-hour days, he may need a couple of days to just “chill.” Just make sure he doesn’t lose hope altogether and that he keeps his eye on the prize.
I wish you and your fiancé hatzlachah, as I wish everyone else, as well.