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POLL RESULTS: It's Not Working Out: (17 comments)

POLL: It's Not Working Out

Friday, September 04, 2009 - 08:46 AM

A reader writes... Q: My guy got laid off his job in January. And ever since, he's been sitting around the house in the same T-shirt and gym shorts. He's getting fat. He has stopped shaving. When I come home from work, he's sitting in front of the computer playing video games. He stays up all night playing those stupid games. I've almost had it. I don't want to break up with him since he's the father of my son, but he's starting to turn me off. What should I do?
POLL: What's the best way to help improve the mood of your lover?
 
18% (150) Seduction
 
7% (59) Humor
 
12% (99) Comisserate
 
3% (32) Give them space
 
14% (119) Take them out on the town
 
0% (0) Buy them a gift
 
18% (150) You can't
 
25% (210) Other
819 people have voted in this poll. (This poll is not active.)
Maeloch
Lover

Posts: 12

Registered:
Jan 2008
Re: It's Not Working Out (Score: 1)
posted Friday, September 04, 2009 - 10:32 AM (#49185)

Do you know why your boyfriend isn't working? Because he doesn't have to. From your question, I will make the assumption that you are currently paying all of the bills (since you mention that you work), and you are living together (since he is there when you get home, and unemployed people typically can't live on their own).

My suggestion is to kick him out of wherever you are living. Since you currently have only one income, supporting only two people will be easier than supporting three.

You don't have to necessarily break up with him, or eliminate all contact with him, you just stop being the teat that he suckles upon. If you stop supporting him, he will either find some other sucker to leach off of, or he will get his act together. Either way, your life should improve.

Also, remember, that this man is a role model for your son. Your son is learning that this is how men behave and that women will put up with it. Take a good long look at your "guy," because if you keep him, this is what your son will become.


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Peter_H
Lover

Posts: 1

Registered:
Sep 2009
Re: It's Not Working Out (Score: 1)
posted Friday, September 04, 2009 - 11:40 AM (#49186)
In Response to Maeloch (#49185):

Maeloch, I'm sorry but you're wrong.

He isn't working because he doesn't have too. He's not working because he doesn't have to. He's like that because he's depressed.

He has ceased to care about himself (hence his appearance) and is escaping from reality into video games because it is easier than dealing with his real life at the time.

It's pretty common (I've been laid off and could only get work delivering newspapers for a while and have had issues with depression).

He needs to get help, counseling and possibly medication. Fortunately, most communities have psychological help that is either free or at an extremely low cost for people who need it and most states have programs that will provide medication for those he need it, or alternatively, the generic versions of common anti-depressants are available under the $4 for a month supply plan from Walmart.


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AdviceIncorporated
Lover

Posts: 5

Registered:
Sep 2009
Re: It's Not Working Out (Score: 1)
posted Friday, September 04, 2009 - 12:20 PM (#49187)

What concerns me is how the lover here shows little concern for her guy's mental status. He's showing signs of a deepening depression since the beginning of the year, and her issue is that he's "starting to turn me off". What has been done to alleviate the man's problems here?

Kick this guy out of the house, and the local authorities will be fishing him out of the nearest body of water. He doesn't need threats or ultimatums; he needs help. Post-layoff depression is one of my eternal enemies, so I know what this guy is going through. Start by getting him out of the house and into some sunlight. Take a walk in the park, go hiking, anything that breaks him free of the computer and involves fresh air. Next comes therapy. He's been like this since January; wait longer and he will only sink deeper.

She should express her concerns for his situation; make him face the fact that he's depressed and needs help. Then, guide him to the help he needs.


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Maeloch
Lover

Posts: 12

Registered:
Jan 2008
Re: It's Not Working Out (Score: 1)
posted Friday, September 04, 2009 - 02:53 PM (#49190)

I can understand being demoralized after being laid off, and if he is suffering from depression, then he should get help. Even if he is not depressed, he should probably get some help.

I looked up the symptoms of depression, and her description of him doesn't really fit. I don't know how you can jump to that conclusion.

I don't like ultimatums, and would never suggest using one. However, I do believe that everyone needs to do what is right for themselves. Just because some guy knocked you up doesn't mean you should stay with him forever.

She should talk to him. If he feels hopeless, he can get some help. If he is feeling lazy, let him move back in with his parents.


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Azerik
Lover

Posts: 35

Registered:
Apr 2009
Re: It's Not Working Out (Score: 1)
posted Friday, September 04, 2009 - 02:53 PM (#49191)

As has been pointed out prior to this post, he's showing all the signs of depression. He needs help.

It isn't possible to force someone out of a depressed state. It is possible to toss them a rope so that they can help pull themselves out. Sometimes the thing a depressed person needs most is to simply be reminded that someone *does* care that they exist.

The best course of action here is to talk about it. Not an ultimatum, not a lecture, not an argument, not a bitch session, just talking. Tap him on the shoulder, say "Go grab a quick shower, we're going out to eat." Get the kid, find a McDonald's with a playground. Set the kid to playing and then talk about it.

He's depressed because he isn't providing for his family. There is a great pressure on men in this society to be Ward Cleaver and be able to provide for all of their family's needs. It probably hearkens back to hunter-gatherer days, we are supposed to go out and hunt enough food for the family that is taking care of the hut/cave/whatever.

That translates to modern society having men defined by their jobs. When you lose that job, you lose a powerful part of your identity. That leads to the depressive behavior you are seeing here. Loss of concern for appearance, avoiding reality with hobbies, etc etc.

Let him know that you don't care that he doesn't have a job (assuming you don't of course). Discuss his thoughts and plans on the situation. Does he have a useful degree or skill that will allow him to get a decent job or is he doing "HS Diploma" slave jobs? If it's the latter, maybe it would be better to just have him stay home.

Ultimately you can't force him to not be depressed. What he needs most is for you to let him know you still care about him. Talking about the situation like rational adults is about the only way out of the situation short of a magical job fairy showing up.


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Guairdean
Lover

Posts: 20

Registered:
Mar 2008
Re: It's Not Working Out (Score: 1)
posted Friday, September 04, 2009 - 05:46 PM (#49194)

He's suffering from depression. Mental illness doesn't have exact symptoms like a physical illness, but this has all the earmarks of severe depression. He has to get professional help if he's going to get better. There is no threat you can make that will help. Your best bet is to call his doctor, explain the situation, make an appointment, and tell him when to be ready to go. Don't give him an option. Be firm, but kind. The final option is to talk to his doctor and consider committing him to an institution for a week or two to get him straightened out. At some point he'll start self medicating (it'll start with alcohol and escalate from there) and at that point, you'll probably lose him for good. Take action if you want your child's father back. I will you strength and good luck.


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Valareos
Lover

Posts: 3

Registered:
May 2009
Re: It's Not Working Out (Score: 1)
posted Friday, September 04, 2009 - 05:47 PM (#49195)

Maeloch, it is obvious from your posts that you actually never been in the position to have lost your job over matters beyond your control.

You are lucky in that matter.

Yes, looking at what she describes is not a classic sign of depression, but for those of us who been there, it brings up bad memories of when we were there.

Depression then may be the wrong word, and medication is not the best advice in this situation.

He is feeling lost, unable to see how to contribute, not even able to see how to get another job. How old is he? If he is around 35 or higher, finding another job becomes increasingly difficult, especially with the "Overqualified" mentality.

So here are some ideas to help him out

If you can run the household on your own pay, tell him you dont want him to go back to work until he is comfortable to do so. Then give him one or two things to do around the house (such as vacumming, or doing a load of laundry).

Reccomend he uses the time to get closer to his son, to take care of him now that you have one parent at home.

Let him know that you dont mind him playing his games, as long as he gest the one or two things done around the house to help.

Give him some money to keep in his pocket every week for incidentals he wants to spend it on.

Ask him to create a budget for the household so you all can live within the means of a single income. It will give him the feeling he is still in control of his life.

And above all else, put time aside to do something TOGETHER! go see a movie, go out for dinner, something not expensive. WIth you the only one working, it is the perfect oppertunity to do things as a couple you have wanted to do, but could never get work schedules to line up properly to do so!

My wife and I was a one income family because I was out of work for the last 18 months.

I was in the middle of moving from US to Australia, and my working visa took that long to be approved.

For the last 6 weeks, neither me nor my wife were working, forcing us to redefine our entire way we spent money.

Now that we both working again, we are both glad we had that time away from work, that forced vacation, as it allowed us to do things that now we dont have time to do.

Bottom line: He is feeling as low as one can be, and needs the support of you and friends to get him back on his feet, not condemation for a feeling he does not know how to deal with nor express in words


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whutaguy
Lover

Posts: 14

Registered:
Jun 2009
Re: It's Not Working Out (Score: 1)
posted Friday, September 04, 2009 - 11:18 PM (#49199)

Cancel the internet and the cable/dish, his cell phone, etc. If he gripes, ell him it;s not in the budget anymore.

He'll either: have to go out (either knocking on doors or to the library or other wifi spot) at least he should clean up a little; or convince you that he is a worthless lump.

Prayer never hurts either.


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Caffeine
Lover

Posts: 46

Registered:
Feb 2009
Re: It's Not Working Out (Score: 1)
posted Saturday, September 05, 2009 - 03:34 AM (#49200)

As always, the answer is simple: TALK TO HIM. (I should get that printed on T-shirts.)

Tell him how you feel and what your worries are. Listen to what he has to say. (I agree he is probably depressed, but it is also a very easy life if he can sit in front of the TV or computer all day. Really. I'd like that, too, for a change.)

But there are also more practical things you can do.

#1 Is he doing the housework? If you're working and he is at home, he should do the main part of the housework (including groceries, cooking, laundry). Set upo rules for who does what (and, if necessary, at what time it will be done).

#2 Find out how he imagines his (and your) life will go on. What does he want to do with his life? How, does he think, will everything work out?

#3 (If that is the case with you - ) make clear you won't have him sitting around like that for the rest of your life. In cases like these, it has proven very valuable in my family to decide on goals and a time frame in which they have to be reached. E.g. he will have to apply for at least three jobs per week until he gets one. This sounds harsh, but believe me, it will help. I'm NOT suggesting "throw him out right now" or something - that is no great help to any of you. But set up rules and make clear that if he doesn't do his part, you won't feel obliged to do yours (which is, feed him).

It doesn't matter if you two love each other or not, unless you can't find a way to live on together in a way that suits both of you, your relationship is doomed.

(And - last but not least - if you find out that you can live on your income and both of you realise you like the arrangement with him doing the house work, that arrangement is fine by me, as well. Everything that works for both of you... )


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Murgatroyd
Lover

Posts: 300

Registered:
Jan 2008
Re: It's Not Working Out (Score: 1)
posted Saturday, September 05, 2009 - 02:49 PM (#49209)

I looked up the symptoms of depression, and her description of him doesn't really fit. I don't know how you can jump to that conclusion.

Well then, I guess you're the expert, aren't you?

Or maybe some day you'll be lucky enough to be in his situation, so you can evaluate your diagnosis first-hand.


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Snobahr
Lover

Posts: 15

Registered:
Jan 2008
Re: It's Not Working Out (Score: 1)
posted Saturday, September 05, 2009 - 09:29 PM (#49211)

Give him something to focus on. Since you're the one that's employed, perhaps he can take up the household slack? This is going to sound corny as all get-out, but he might benefit from getting some manner of structure and routine in his day. I would recommend starting over at http://www.flylady.net, because it's all baby steps. And yes, help for depression is likely a good thing as well.


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Des
Lover

Posts: 1

Registered:
Sep 2009
Re: It's Not Working Out (Score: 1)
posted Sunday, September 06, 2009 - 10:04 AM (#49220)

Oh for the love of...

I think we can lay off the internet diagnosing. Medication and therapy won't do a blessed thing, because you can't cure the symptoms without addressing the problem. This depression started when the boyfriend lost his job, it will end when he gets a new one.
Job is Identity; he didn't just loose his source of income, but his purpose and the source of most of his self-worth. He needs a new one -quickly.

Have him go out and get a new job. Presumably his old field is not hiring, so he's going to have to expand his horizons. I suggest manual labor (I'm an executive, and I still think raking concrete was one of the most fulfilling jobs I ever had) but retail and fast-food are always options.

If there are truly no jobs to be had, give him one. Have him paint the house, or split firewood, or clean out your parents' basement. He could even become Mr. Mom and take care of the house -and diet and exercise his butt off, because even if he's not winning the bread the least he can do is turn you on.

Give him -or make him get- a new source of identity and you will see this depression vanish as if it had never been. IF HE REFUSES to make the effort... then you've found out something very important about him, and you'd be wise to cut him loose.


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Caffeine
Lover

Posts: 46

Registered:
Feb 2009
Re: It's Not Working Out (Score: 1)
posted Monday, September 07, 2009 - 04:40 AM (#49229)

For the love of it... i thought we were living in modern times, so how come not everyone finds it LOGICAL that whoever stays at home does the housework? From what I read here him doing the housework should only be a therapeutical measure, something so he won't feel absolutely useless - and reading about "Mr. Mom" almost made me jump to the ceiling with rage.

(From the original question, we do not know how the couple in question share the housework, I know.)

This is not only about KEEPING HIM HAPPY, but also about every day chores that have to be adressed. This is about responsibility and getting a grip on yourself. (I won't go and talk about gender equality and the oportunity for him to keep in touch with his caring/female side by providing a home for the family, because that is mainly bullsh*** and won't lead us nowhere, but HOW ABOUT FAIRNESS?)

Can any of you living as a couple really consider working all day AND doing the housework while your significant other watches TV and contacts their "inner child" or something?

Wow, and I thought we had made it into the 21st century...


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Capesnbabes
Lover

Posts: 5

Registered:
Jan 2008
Re: It's Not Working Out (Score: 1)
posted Monday, September 07, 2009 - 11:30 AM (#49230)
In Response to Caffeine (#49229):

Hmmmm... I was recently laid off at the beginning of the summer. Since that time, I just recently started a new job so i think I have somewhat of a unique perspective on this.

I am a web & graphic designer so my industry has been hit extremely hard by the current economy. I feel extremely fortunate to have found a new job so quickly. But here are some things I did that might be useful to your guy:

1) Get out of the house. I found the more I stayed at home, the more angry I got about my situation & the more helpless I felt. So, instead of doing job searches on the 'Net at home, I took my laptop to the local library & tried to treat the library as my "mobile office".

2) Find some sort of support group that you can talk to. This could be professional therapy or just talking to other laid-off or unemployed people as well. I did both.

3) Worked, re-worked, and re-worked again on my resume. And thanks to the support group I mentioned above, I also was able to find a local church group that had a free job search program that helped people with their resumes, job interviews & internet job searching techniques. I can't tell you how much I think that helped my mental state of mind.

4) Encourage him to get out of the house & do something physical. Maybe volunteer to help coach a sport. Have him check the local high schools - they are ALWAYS looking for people to help in all sorts of sports and, in some cases, will even pay (not great but it's something). During my unemployment, I helped coach a local travel baseball team & that also helped keep my mind off of the pressures of trying to find a new job in this economy.

5) This is related to #4 but physical exercise is really important too.

6) Do things together. Or with his son. During my unemployment, that didn't stop me from going to see a few summer movies with my daughter or my wife or sometimes both. You need a release.

7) This might also sound weird but don't kill yourself trying to find a new job in just one day. For a while, I was the opposite of the guy described here. I was spending ALL DAY combing through various on-line employment places and applying to anything and everything & not seeing any results. It was only after I started doing some of the activities above & having a "quality vs. quantity" attitude about my job search that I started to see results.

8) If he was laid-off, encourage him to check out the local government employment agency. He might be eligible for Unemployment Benefits.

9) Communicate. Communicate. And Communicate. My wife & I talked about my job search almost every night - even when I didn't want to or was too angry or frustrated with it. In the end, it almost ALWAYS helped.

10) If any of these things don't work, THEN I would look into medical prescriptions. But if you talk to a therapist early, they would be able to be the best person to determine of medication is really needed. I'm not a big fan of anti-depressant medicine, but that's just me. I know it works (and is needed) for a lot of people - I was just never one of them. ACTION always seemed to cure me...

Anyway, good luck & I hope some of this might be useful to you.


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NunyaBidness
Lover

Posts: 83

Registered:
Apr 2008
Re: It's Not Working Out (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, September 08, 2009 - 09:21 AM (#49244)

Okay, losing his job did not cause clinical depression. It might cause situational depression. Was he acting like this before? Or was it all at once when he lost his job?

If so, he's feeling his manhood is at stake and acting like a whiny douche. Tell him to grow a pair and get with it.

If he was already acting a bit like that and is just continuing a trend, get him to a good pshrink.

I remember a worthless abuser who moved in with a friend of mine and never did anything. He couldn't get a job because he "didn't have a suit to interview in" and she "kept harping on it." It took her a year to toss the bum out.

If you're paying all the bills, he may have consciously or unconsciously decided he has no need to do anything. So slap him with a clue by four.


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NunyaBidness
Lover

Posts: 83

Registered:
Apr 2008
Re: It's Not Working Out (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, September 08, 2009 - 09:24 AM (#49245)
In Response to Murgatroyd (#49209):

Murgatroyd, I almost always agree with you. This time, you're being a twit. The information given allows no diagnosis whatsoever. If the cause of the symptoms was losing the job, that is not clinical depression. If it was an existing condition, it might or might not be. You're doing exactly what you're accusing the others of doing--diagnosing from a distance.


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Aaron1
Lover

Posts: 4

Registered:
Aug 2009
Re: It's Not Working Out (Score: 1)
posted Tuesday, September 08, 2009 - 08:16 PM (#49252)

I've been in his situation. I separated from the military and couldn't find work for almost a year. That was rough, and I racked up some considerable debt trying to stay afloat. The key difference is that I went through it alone and overcame it, the ennui, and the debt on my own.

I don't know whether he's depressed or just in a mental rut, but the best way out is to start doing constructive things--housework, fitness, healthy diet, focused budgeting, and of course job hunting. The last thing he should do is plop down in front of a TV or computer and get sucked into a game. The immersion distorts your priorities and problems just pile up. Living constructively has a snowball effect once you get some momentum.

If all she's worried about is getting turned off, she should do him a favor and end the romantic part of their relationship. Maybe her continued presence acts as a passive acceptance of the lifestyle he's currently leading.


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