Let’s see if we can help Shelley with her situation. Shelley has been with her boyfriend for about 3 years, and they have a very loving, happy relationship. There’s just one problem: The boyfriend has been out of work for 2 of those 3 years, and Shelley is starting to look at the future of the relationship.
The boyfriend is looking for work, but the failed interviews are starting to pile up in his wake. It’s not as if he’s uneducated; he has an MBA (in what, we don’t know), but that education isn’t helping him find a job. He’s also at the end of his unemployment funding, so his parents have started helping to pay for his needs.
A couple of short-term temp jobs have come and gone. Meanwhile, Shelley has a stable career for herself, and used to work two jobs to make ends meet. Shelley insists that they have a fantastic relationship in every other way, and have even discussed marriage…but she’s growing frustrated with the lack of forward movement in her boyfriend’s life.
The breaking point has almost been reached. She’s considering giving him a 2-3 month deadline to find a job, or else the relationship is over.
I guess I’m old enough to remember the 70s, when the notion of a man asking a woman to get a job was still a relatively alien concept. That isn’t to say that women weren’t having careers by choice back then, but the “man goes to work, woman takes care of the house and kids” mindset was still attached to the American Dream.
Times are different now, in so many ways. Both halves of a couple are generally expected to have their own careers; on the other hand, you’re seeing more “househusbands” than ever before, turning that old gender stereotype on its head. Personally, I can admit that I still carry around the “let the man handle it” mindset, at least in regards to supporting the family and letting the wife stay home if she wants to.
There is no textbook situation anymore. Obviously, you have to live within your means (or safely outside your means, as many people do) and make decisions about the relationship dynamic between yourselves, based on the needs of your own unique situation. I’m not saying that Shelley’s ultimatum is wrong on principle; I just wonder if situations like these are driven less by sincere need, and more by the subconscious influence of what society considers a “traditional relationship.”
Let’s hear what you have to say about this, Rock-A-Holics!