Will He Care That She’s Unemployed?



Name: Julie
Question: Hi Moxie,

I never thought I would be in this position but I met a guy who fits the bill of who I want in a life partner. Despite taking things slow over a couple of months to really get to know and understand each other, I can see that things may quickly get to ‘committed’ stage. He is the real deal. But I still have not shared one of my dark sides with him.

Despite my great academic credentials, I have not been employed for a year or so. No debts, and decent savings  to see me through. The real truth is that I used to be a complete workaholic for so many years but then had a couple of terrible job-related experiences with 2 narc bosses that broke me up within, and I am in the midst of figuring out what I want to do, but not fully there yet. I do not even know how long it will take me to get ‘there’ whatever it will be for me. The very thing that used to give me deep joy, a sense of purpose is now the thing that fills me up with dread.

This is the one thing that is holding me back both in the area of a personal life, a healthy job life and a healthy social life. Any thoughts, suggestions on how do I navigate this rocky transition period. Thanks.
Age: 28




Sometimes the love of your life is the love of your life. (R)


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20 Responses to “Will He Care That She’s Unemployed?”

  1. KK Says:

    You need to tell him the truth about your job situation, and accept that he may not want to continue the relationship. Not being employed for a year, during your relationship, is a pretty big deal. I get that you probably don’t want to tell him nd maybe you think you don’t need to tell him since most likely you will get a job before you two actually commit. But…think of it this way – isn’t this something you would want to know?

    I also get that you are a workaholic and that you had a bunch of shit work situations. You need to decide if the issue is your field of work, the offices where you worked, and/or if it was just your bosses that were the problem. Hunt for jobs and explain if necessary the situation. Or if you don’t like the field you are in, find a new one and then figure out what you need to get to that field. It is hard work but it is doable, and it is worth it.

  2. No Disrespect Says:

    Most guys won’t care that you’re unemployed. Hey, everybody I know has been there! Well, as long as you’re not using him as your sugar daddy. You have savings, so that’s cool.

    What’s more concerning is that you feel the need to keep this glaring fact away from him. If you think this is heading into commitment-dom, you really need to tell him that you are indeed, looking for work. Because honesty is one of the facets of a healthy relationship.

    Are you actively looking for work, or are you still “finding yourself?” Be prepared for him to ask questions. Long term unemployment without having a real plan may be a red flag to some people.

    Not related to a dating blog, but I’d recommend that you read “What Color is Your Parachute” to look into new career paths, and if needed, get a job/resume coach. A weight will be off your shoulders when you find your next job, both financially and socially. Good luck!

  3. BTownGirl Says:

    Have you tried talking to a therapist? I had a mean lech of a boss many years ago and talking to someone helped tremendously! Keep in mind that many, many people go through periods where they have no idea what they want to do and, since your financial situation is just find, I doubt it will be an issue when it comes to dating!

    • Eliza Says:

      I agree, and I was there too…worked with a monster, and very toxic nasty attorney. It truly impacts your mood, energy level and overall mindset….thankfully, I found a better opportunity–and left, was prompted to leave–due to this bosses’ inappropriate behavior (truly abusive) in nature. But once you do land in a stable position…even though it may not be your “life calling”, or true passion, it’s still a load off you shoulder and you can pursue your passion on the side, while you work with nice humane people! lol…sorry–no offense to attorneys. But some are miserable toxic people.

  4. Katie2 Says:

    Sorry, it’s hard for me to be believe that they’ve really gotten to know and understand each other over the past few months without this coming up yet. It’s also hard for me to imagine that she hasn’t been doing at least a little bit of fudging to explain what she’s been doing with her work days since she’s known him. If that’s the case, then undoing that web of white lies will be a bigger deal than the fact that she is/has been unemployed.

    • Selena Says:

      I also wondered what she has been telling him the last 2 months. I don’t see how you can get close enough to someone to ascertain they are the “real deal” without them knowing how you support yourself and spend your time.

      I think counseling might be worth a try given you are filled with dread about getting into another work situation. Signing on with a temp service, taking a low stress part-time job, or volunteering may be ways to get you back out there and build up your confidence. Consider taking a class or two that would be useful in different fields.

      When you tell your guy what has really been going on the last year, you will also be able to show him that you have been taking positive steps to get past it. He might be more understanding in that case, rather than worried that you intend to stay unemployed until your savings run out.

  5. Speed Says:

    I don’t think unemployment is necessarily bad. I don’t know if “all” guys feel that way, but I just don’t see it as a big deal. What would concern me about the OP is the “finding yourself” thing.

    Intellectually, I think it’s okay for a person to stop or pause for a while to give deep thought to what they want to do. On the other hand, the “finding yourself” thing can come off as a sort of “Eat, Pray, Love” mindset, where everything—including the guy in your life—is up for continuous reset or revaluation (or discard). It gives the whole relationship a sense of tenuousness and ephemeralness, instead of a consistent forward motion. In other words, I guess I don’t think I would seriously date a woman who was “figuring things out.”

    But some guys may jump on the opportunity to take the journey with you, and may thrive off the fluidity and risk. This is especially true at the OP’s age. Off for a year in Finland or Thailand? Why not?

    I guess it may just depend on the guy you’ve got. One man’s poison is another man’s wine, as they say.

  6. bbdawg Says:

    I have been there OP. The thing I’d caution you is that in my experience it’s very difficult to date in these circumstances because you have that hovering over your head, the “finding what you want to do next” part.

    You life’s goals and so forth. Honestly it sounds like you might have already lied a bit to the person you’re seeing but this is something you need to be bring up with him as soon as possible. If it’s early enough, you may be able to work it out with him. The longer you wait the bigger the “lie” will become.

    • bbdawg Says:

      Just to add a clarification: In my experience, not having a job is not as big of an issue as “finding out what you want to do next”. I have had that career issue for many years and until you really face it head on, this will haunt you and your relationships. It creates an identity issue (it did for me) that is hard to overcome. But only you can deal with this.

      What I mean is, if you KNOW where you’re going it’s a whole lot easier. If you don’t know, then you have *lack of focus* which is the biggest problem of all.

      In my case, I went through a period of dating a lot because, hey it’s a lot easier to think “well let me focus on relationships since career is on the backburner now”. The reality is that in the end, dating becomes a distraction and you almost become sort of desperate to find “the person”, as if that would solve any problems. This will scare off the right people of course.

      My suggestion would be therapy, but more importantly a career coach of some sort. Someone who can talk to you about your personality, abilities, skills, etc…and think through practical steps. My career crisis went on for about a decade. In the end I was diagnosed with ADD and as soon as I started medication, my life changed quite dramatically, as I was able to focus and REALLY get to doing instead of *thinking* of options A B or C.

  7. fuzzilla Says:

    I kind of think a job is a higher priority than having a boyfriend. So I’d recommend just quietly doing your thing and getting another job and then letting him know all about your new job. (Of course, only the OP knows how quickly this can be accomplished. Also, if he’s proposing moving in together he has a right to know ASAP).

    I also wonder how close they could really be if this never came up before.

    • Eliza Says:

      All I know and have experienced dating online and IRL, is one of the very first questions I get is: “So, where do you work”, or “what do you do”? Sometimes I get that question, before someone asks me my name! A bit callous obviously–but still amazed that this topic hasn’t come up in more depth, unless the OP dodged it, and was vague, and offered some obscure reply. I agree with Fuzz…that a job is a much higher priority than having a boyfriend…and personally, my head wouldn’t be on right if I was out of work, so maybe focus on one for now?

      • Z Says:

        @Eliza Yes, that’s one of the first questions I get too (I’m male, but I think it’s the same for both men and women in this situation.)

        It is fairly easy to both be truthful an yet dodge the question if one wants to. I don’t think I’d take this route and then not fess up for the lengthy time OP has, but if one isn’t comfortable talking about unemployment on a first date or upon striking up a conversation with someone (talking about being unemployed can easily change the tenor of the conversation) just imagine this scenario:

        “Joe” is currently unemployed, but is by trade an accountant or engineer or bookkeeper or software engineer (the specific profession doesn’t really matter – those are examples.)

        Joe meets someone for drinks as a first meet. Whether he’s asked “What do you do?” “What sort of work do you do?” or as simple as “What’s your day gig?” Imagine Joe answers with “I’m a programmer and mostly configure web pages” (to pick one of the above professions.)

        Unless Joe is directly asked which company he works for, he dodged the issue of employment status while telling truthfully what he does for a living. Put another way, is famous actor X answering that question “I’m an actor” or “unemployed” when in between movies or TV series?

        Joe answered truthfully, since that is what he does in life. He didn’t indicate his employment status in that response. I’m not even sure that it’s exactly someone’s business if you are technically employed, unemployed, or taking time off between movies or consulting gigs.

        Anyway, that’s how it can be dodged at first if one wants. A couple months of that dodge is definitely too long by far though.

  8. BRM Says:

    I think there’s two sides to every coin:

    On the one hand nobody wants to be in a position of having to support a lover or spouse all on their own.

    On the other hand if you have good career direction with the potential to make money then that can be enough for some folks. I don’t think partners have to make the same money, I don’t expect a potential GF to make what I do, but I’ve supported so many GF’s in the past I feel a good partner for me speaking as a well employed man needs to make something or have potential to do so. I think once you get deep into a relationship things can change (many women these days have better jobs then their men, so the guys are staying home and raising the kids – happened to my drummer in my band).

    Love is HARD, but I believe people in general want: looks, money, life goals to at least be in the same ball park even if the women is the top dog, the guy still needs be in the same league (i.e. See makes $100,000, he makes $50,000).

    I’ve been on both sides of this and actually had a women break up with me because I wasn’t where she thought I should be professionally, I told her how much I was planning on earning in a few years and made my goal, but it hurt bad to lose her because of that. When the chance comes women up with your man and let him know you’re working hard towards your goals. You don’t want to fall in love then get dumped because you guys are not on the same playing field (emotionally and honestly wise is the big one).

    Love does win over material things sometimes, but honestly trumps everything in a romantic relationship.

    Good luck!

  9. Parenting Says:

    This not a dating issue. I’ve never known anyone to have a bad job experience that crippled them for a year with no end in sight. Sounds like something is pretty seriously wrong here. Depression maybe. Consider seeking help.

    • Z Says:

      I disagree. OP certainly has something serious to work through about work, and might well be depressed or suffering some other symptoms. Granted Depression would be an important thing to deal with (and appreciate your suggestion that they seek help) but to characterize this situation with OP as “pretty seriously wrong” just because you’ve never seen it happen is absolutely an unfair characterization.

      The issue here is simply that OP was embarrassed to say they had been out of work for a long time- for fear of the exact judgement you rain down upon them.

      I’ve been in OP’s shoes plus seen others in them as well; perhaps you haven’t. One friend needed over 2.5 years off from work as a result of her particular work situation – and she’s a high-powered successful professional. Outside of work she was absolutely her normal self. But that job left her so traumatized you could see the physical reaction when even discussing going back to work.

      Try working in an extremely toxic environment for a boss who is anywhere between nutty and intentionally inflicting emotional abuse on their employees and have the company not care that they do it. Or long-term sexual harassment that someone can’t find their way out of or noone believes.

      Try telling a HR department all about the particular situation and find the people that are supposed to help you decide to either ignore the issue or side with the much more powerful executive. You seek help like this and even the people who are supposed to help you don’t.

      Try working so hard to keep that job because you need the paycheck only to realize that there is utterly no energy to devote to finding something new.

      Or a job where XYZ happens and the result is literally crippling to one’s career. Boss from above might be very influential in the field and also vindictive enough to essentially blackball you.

      Not to mention many even more difficult situations that could occur when it comes to ethical or legal breaches. Said friend above was caught in the middle of exactly such a situation and no recourse or ability to whistleblow.

      Some of those examples I’ve experienced, others I’ve seen. Regardless, they, along with even worse situations, can be excruciatingly traumatic. I’m talking PTSD level trauma here.

      I’d hope you could see how someone could have a job and be perfectly happy in life and the job kicks the crap out of them. They, like OP regroup and at some point in the near future get the crap kicked out of them once again in the workplace. (We don’t know exactly what happened to OP but the details are not important).

      Going through that I’d *expect* someone would end up depressed at minimum and could have all other sorts of mental health issues solely as the fallout from being that badly burned over and over.

      Hopefully this helps Parenting and others imagine the situation. Yes, I’d hope OP is getting help with whatever their job-related stuff is, but it isn’t necessarily at all related to their ability to find, form or be in a relationship.

      • fuzzilla Says:

        **One friend needed over 2.5 years off from work as a result of her particular work situation – and she’s a high-powered successful professional.**

        I admit I’m a bit judgmental. Don’t people *need* to work? Would people be so understanding of day laborers or factory workers taking all this mental health time? Nope, just “high powered successful professionals”?

        That said, my boyfriend had some pretty alarmingly dark thoughts as the result of a toxic workplace. But he quietly lined up another job.

      • bbdawg Says:

        Let’s get real here: some of us women expect others to be A LOT more forgiving of us than we are of (men). Imagine if the woman who wrote the letter finds out the “amazing” guy she met didn’t have a job and was in the process of “finding what he wants to do next”. Hmmm…I bet a man can’t use the ” I needed 2.5 years to get over a bad boss” excuse.

      • Dave Says:

        I appreciated your post (very good points made) but I do disagree with some of it. I think the OPs issue could easily be about work and personal relationships. If the underlying cause (trauma, work related PTSD, etc) is affecting a person that deeply, then this could definitely carry over into their dating life. Especially if it remains untreated (I’ve been there, sad to say). I didn’t mention this in my previous post but the relationship I mentioned with an underemployed person failed for exactly this reason. Over time such deep trauma can affect all areas of your life…making holding down a job and a committed relationship impossible.

        And to play the devil’s advocate – once someone heals from said trauma and is back in the work and/or dating wagon – they may be in a very different place emotionally – ie what drew them to a person before may not have the same appeal now. Healing from such events (at least for me) can fundamentally change who you are as a person.

        When I was at my worst I was in a very dysfunctional place. I picked dysfunctional partners, and I paid the price. Once I got my act together, I saw things very different.

        So think of it this way – the OP has found a guy she described as the perfect mate. This means to me, that she is farther along the road to wellness than she may even realize. She didn’t go for a jerk or an asshole…she spent time cultivating a relationship that she felt very comfortable with.

        That decision alone, speaks volumes to me. :)

  10. Dave Says:


    There are no easy answers here, but I’ve been on both sides of this. I’ve been in a relationship with someone who wasn’t honest about their employment status when we first started dating (“part time” really meant VERY part time). She eventually told me and while I was concerned about the difference in our incomes…we found ways to work around it and still have a good time together. However, I can see some similarities in your post to what I experienced in that relationship, and within myself some years ago.

    I’ve been there on the job burn out…and all I can say is you definitively will want to get some help (therapy, etc) with working past this so that you can get back into the workforce. Trust me when I say the longer that you wait…the harder it will be.

    And you definitely need to talk with your guy about this…of course there’s a risk of rejection, but perhaps if he’s open minded you can work on this issue together? You know the old saying…it is better to tell someone than wait until they find out on their own.

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