Recession

Can This Marriage Be Saved? He Can’t Find a Job

November 11, 2010 at 4:49 pm , by

1440_001[1]It’s a funny thing, marriage: The more that couples’ problems change, the more they stay exactly the same. The story in this week’s Can This Marriage Be Saved? vote-a-thon comes from August 2005, but it’s even more relevant now than it was five years ago. The issue? It’s an unspeakable word that starts with an “un” and ends in “employment” and generally wreaks havoc on even the most stable of partnerships. You may have heard it tossed around a bit lately, provided you haven’t been living in a cave since 2008. The stresses of a job loss are hell on the spouse that’s out of luck, to be sure, but just as awful on the member of the couple that’s still working. And our model couple is no different.

Howard, a 44-year-old business owner, and Marcy, a 42-year-old marketing director, have two kids and 20-plus years between them. They both come from mildly dysfunctional families – Marcy being the product of a divorce and an alcoholic dad, and Howard the son of a successful businessman who was too busy working to pay him any attention – and their childhood issues are coming to a head following his unemployment. Read more


On Marriage and Money

December 7, 2009 at 5:55 pm , by

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As the Great Recession (Depression? Obsession? Sick-of-hearing-about-it-ession?) of 2009 nears its (hopeful) end, it’s only natural to take stock of what went down, pardon the pun, this past year and where we stand now. And according to the State of Our Unions report from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia (phew!), we’re standing a bit closer to our spouses than we were before the poo flew. Their findings showed that tough times encourage family solidarity and, subsequently, a decrease in divorce. Not too shocking. The report also notes that disagreements over money are a big predictor of a split. (Read our piece on how to talk about money with your husband so you don’t squabble over it, too!) And, not surprisingly, the report found that “thrifty” couples are the happiest. Apparently, a large credit-card balance = wedded doom.

So, has the Great Belt-Tightening of 2009 brought you closer to your hubby? Or are you finding yourselves stressed to the max?

(As always, you can check out our Can This Marriage Be Saved? column for advice that’s helped other couples stay together, or search for a therapist to help you talk it out.)


Fears and Phobias: Are Yours Normal or Not?

September 3, 2009 at 9:55 am , by

fearsAre worries keeping you up at night? During this recession, almost everyone has had fears of losing their job or their retirement money. That’s not crazy. Let’s face it: it has happened to millions of people! But there’s a big difference between healthy concerns and night-after-night tossing, turning and agonizing. The most important thing is not to keep it to yourself. That’s why we published our story in the September issue, “What Are You Afraid Of?” We want to take away the stigma of mental health issues and bring it all out in the open. That’s healthy!

If you’re lying awake and worrying, taking a sleeping pill will only mask the symptoms (and could lead to dependence). For mild fears and phobias, talking about them with a trusted friend or loved one can really help defuse the anxiety. So can writing your concerns in a worry journal you keep on the nightstand. It helps you let go of the fears till you can deal with them the next day.

You also need to face the reality of your situation. If you’re anxious about money, dig out all your paperwork and look at everything you spend. Where can you realistically cut back? What will you do if you lose your job? Can you freelance for a while? Find work in another industry? If all else fails, move in with Mom and Dad? Having a plan can help you get the rest you need.

I chatted about this and other fears this morning with “Dr. Steve” on the PIX Morning News here in Manhattan. You can watch it here. And then tell us what is your biggest fear, either in a comment below or in our online discussion group. It’s good to talk about it!

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