- Wedding: October 2019 - Chateau Lake Louise
CapitolBee : So actually, this exact situation.
When I met FH he wasn’t working, and hadn’t been for about a year. I didn’t really question it because he talked a lot about how awful his last job had been (it truly was) and that he was living on some money he had saved to buy a sports car. Ultimately he decided his mental and physical health were more important than the car and quit. It was an amount of money that, given his relatively modest lifestyle (he owned a small condo and had a roomate, along with cars which were paid off) it made perfect sense he wasn’t in a financial bind OR in a huge hurry to find another job.
But as time went on, and I found things out about his family – like that they own a hotel – and met his parents, it became clear he had some income from that source. He was pretty circumspect about it, because he had bad experiences in the past of people using him when they found out.
Personally, I didn’t care about his resources insofar as where they came from. He managed them wisely and clearly had his shit together. We dated for about 6 months before he ended up getting another job. One that, I will admit, I found for him.
In his case, it wasn’t laziness or lack of ambition so much as inertia. He legitimately had trauma around his previous job. It had him putting in 80+ hours a week and was physically taxing to the point it was damaging his health. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do in his next job, but dreaded having a similar situation come up.
Once he stopped working he spent his time off dirt bike riding, taking motorcycle trips, and generally catching up on all the amusements he never had time for when he was working. He knew once he started a regular job, he wouldn’t have any time off for a while, and wanted to make the most of it.
I also started to see signs of depression in him. A lot of his self-worth is tied up in being successful at work. Absent that source of affirmation, he got more and more down on himself. I eventually started sending him job listings saying things like “Oh, this looks interesting.” and “Have you thought about doing something like this?”
He landed in a job he had done in his 20s, but that it hadn’t occurred to him to pursue. He’s done very well there and his confidence has rebounded.
I think knowing the underlying motive for your BFds behavior makes a lot of difference. Why he left his last job, what might be keeping him from actively looking for another one. Is he really content to just coast indefinitely, or is he feeling defeated and doesn’t know how to articulate that?
If the former, then I think you have a fundamental incompatibility. You are clearly a do-er and have drive to accomplish things. If he isn’t similarly inclined, you’ll spend your entire relationship feeling like you’re pulling dead weight on a sled after all the snow has melted. You’ll both be unhappy; you because he’s dragging you down, and he because he’ll resent your constant pushing.
If the latter, then I would try to think of ways to support helping him find something worthwhile to do with his time. Suggest some new or novel lines of work he could pursue. Suggest he get a job at a ski resort if all else fails; they need maintainance crews and office staff, after all. Encourage him to continue therapy, and to discuss his employment situation in the context of all the other things he is working through.
Our culture tends to put a LOT of emphasis on employment as a source of self-worth. While I find that unfortunate, there’s no getting around it. He may not realize just how much not working is impacting his mental health. His sense of independence. His self image as a capable effective adult.
However, if that just isn’t the case for him, and he’s just more of a go along to get along guy, you’d both be better off finding someone more in your own mind on the issue.