Skip to main content

I'm wondering if anyone has ever dealt with a partner or spouse who refuses to work. I'm not talking about partners who can't work because they have a disability or they're sick, or about partners who are staying at home to raise children. I'm talking about significant others who straight up refuse to get a job.

I get a ton of letters on the subject. Take this one, for example:

https://www.thepennyhoarder.co...ng/sole-breadwinner/

The letter writer's fiance got laid off more than six months earlier and hasn't started searching for a job. He doesn't think it's a problem because they can squeak by on her salary.

I get that losing a job is really hard. But six months is a long time to go without even looking for a job! I'd be extremely frustrated if I were in the letter writer's shoes. I've been there before with an ex, and that was a big reason things didn't work out.

Has anyone ever had any luck convincing a partner who refused to work to get a job? Or is this a situation where the relationship is doomed?

Robin Hartill aka Dear Penny is a certified financial planner and a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

I've never had a serious partner who didn't want to work, but between #1 and #2 husbands which was 14 years I sure dated a lot of guys who couldn't hold down a job. That's one of the main reason I was single those 14 years.  I can't deal with it unless the partner staying home can justify some serious savings by doing so. Like to avoid paying childcare costs, which are astronomical. It's shortsighted to not work because 2 people can get by with 1 income. The person not working is losing social security benefits and if for some weird reason the partnership goes on for years, their retirement and long term care is going to suffer greatly.

@Dear Penny — I think you really nailed this advice to the OP. There may be something coming up with the fiance that prevents him from wanting to get a job. I think this comes down to the couple needing to have a frank, honest discussion. I especially liked this part of your response, "Sometimes silence is more powerful than words. If your fiance isn’t willing to have a dialog, what he’s communicating is a lack of respect for you. That, unfortunately, is a problem that will linger long after he’s found a job." If she approaches the topic completely open, vulnerable and willing to listen, and the fiance still isn't willing to speak, then she may have an even larger issue on her hands. The money conversation is a must before marriage. Best of luck to this OP!

When I was married to my ex, he decided to take a year off work to write his dissertation. Without talking to me about it. It was a HUGE issue between us, as I was working FT while in school. He would not even discuss it- he decided that was what he was going to do and that's what he did. So, I agree with Maryann, that it's more about communication and respect and what the couple decides on together.

She has already enabled him for six months. By now, he should understand the need for both partners to contribute financially. He is obviously comfortable, taking advantage of her and who knows what he does with all his free time. This relationship seems to be more stressful than beneficial. There is no point in continuing this relationship since he does not want to change.

I had an ex who was not happy with the job opportunities in my hometown. I was more than happy to move to his hometown, but he did not want to move. We split the bills, but he would complain every time he paid his share.

Add Reply

×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×