Nothing like this headline to stop me short recently: 75% of Women Would Not Marry Someone Who Was Unemployed.
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I saw this on relationship site YourTango topping a story that was essentially summarizing the results of a survey it conducted jointly with ForbesWoman.
Lets start with this for some context. According to a Reuters article published on FoxBusiness.com this week, On the employment front, the country added just 54,000 net new jobs in May, while the unemployment rate climbed to 9.1 percent.
Furthermore, there is a gender distinction to be made.
While the unemployment rate has hovered around 9% for the past few months, its widely known that men were more affected by layoffs in recent years than women, writes Meghan Casserly in her Girl Friday blog for ForbesWoman. Eighty two percent of jobs cuts over the last four years were in industries like construction and manufacturing, and largely affected one gender: men.
Rarely do I get this personal in Game Plan, but I know of what I speak here. I dated one of those men last year. Maybe a better way to put it is I attempted to date (a really decent, smart) one of those men last year, but he put the brakes on. So I respectfully suggest that perhaps the nuance that is missing from all the awful comments about materialistic women posted to versions of this story on YourTango and The Huffington Post is that very often, these unemployed men dont feel like theyre bringing their whole selves to even a dating situation let alone marriage. In many cases their insecurity surfaces, their financial lives are exposed, theyre embarrassed to go on dates they cant pay for, and all they were taught about being men is on shaky ground.
This is meaningful, weighty stuff for principled, hardworking, traditional, prideful men. An imminently lovable man may not feel he is deserving of love when he is struggling and broken. What is a woman to do with that? That is his journey to take and sometimes the most loving, humane thing she can do is let him find his way. Maybe we can occasionally give both people in these scenarios a break and the benefit of the doubt.
With the recent unemployment rate up to 9.1 percent, joblessness is an increasingly pervasive issue -- especially for women as they consider the fiscal and emotional stability of their romantic future, said Andrea Miller, founder and CEO of YourTango. From money woes to resentment, joblessness can create great strain on relationships. Before women enter into a lifetime commitment, they want to feel secure in what their partner can bring to the table.
That makes me uneasy. I know its partly true, for certainly theres no question money issues strain marriages more than almost anything else. But theres a shade of judgment here that doesnt distinguish the man who is unmotivated from the one who is devastated by his lack of employment. Also, while many women need to be reminded theyre part of a team when they sign on for a lifetime partnership, I dont like seeing women generalized so they sound soul-less and always out for lifestyle. Last year I was more than willing to express my dismay for women who are gold diggers because I believe they taint the dating pool for the rest of us, but lets not write off the results of this survey as women are all about money, period. Theres gray area here.
"In defense of our survey respondents, the unemployment and marriage divide is a two-way street, at least from the female perspective. Casserly wrote. While 75% said they could never marry someone who is unemployed, nearly 65% said they also wouldnt feel right about tying the knot if they were the one collecting government checks.
I dont need to imagine what this feels like. Ive been unemployed and been really, really scared because of it. And I certainly didnt feel like much of a catch back then.
This can all be tricky. We want someone who likes/loves us just the way we are, through good times and bad, but sometimes what a person is attracted to is positive energy and a joyful spirit. How much of that are you giving off when youre worried about how to pay the mortgage? Are you putting on a positive front for a date and then spiraling into an abyss the next day? An emotionally healthy person might not want to subject another person especially (and ironically) a promising prospect to their ups and downs.
Although having a job is important, more than 91 percent of single women say they would marry for love over money, says the YourTango article.
Even in this thorny terrain, there is hope in that.
Nancy Colasurdo is a practicing life coach and freelance writer. Her Web site is www.nancola.com and you can follow her on Twitter @nancola. Please direct all questions/comments to FOXGamePlan@gmail.com.