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How long does it take to get over negative emotions associated with job loss?

My significant other got laid off just over a week ago. We had known layoffs were coming (but weren’t sure whether he’d be affected) for nearly 4 months. During that time, we put our lives on hold (including plans for the future) and put all our energy into supporting him through the changes at work.
I have read the websites on emotions associated with job loss (loss of identity, self-esteem, etc.), but I sometimes forget what he is going through. When he has a good day, I then think everything is fine and start to push about the future / getting back to normal, which sends him back into a negative zone and makes him need even more space from me.
In reality, things are even more uncertain now that he is unemployed than they were when we feared unemployment – where will the next paycheque come from, will relocation be necessary, etc.?
How long do these negative emotions last? How severe are they? And how do I help him through this without pushing him away?


  1. You are in control of your emotions, correct? You have to embrace the loss and grief as you can’t pretend its not there.
    What I’m suggesting for you to do is focus on abundance not lack. Its not easy at first, but if you continue to practice being conscious of your thoughts, you will attract money and abundance into your lives.
    The power is in the focus.
    Bless you both. Everyone experiences this many times in their life.

  2. i have suffered job lost a couple of times, and i was lucky to have some money to last me a month or two… i basically worked on my resume during that period and felt confident i could find work and i did. my wife was quite supportive and reinforced how smart and skilled i am during those times when i was depressed… so how long negative emotions last is contigent upon how much support you give your significant other and how resourceful you can be… if you need to relocate, then do so… good luck

  3. Job change is one of the top 10 life stressors, and people grieve a loss of employment in the same way that they grieve other losses. Everyone reacts differently to loss and grief – some people turn things around quickly while others linger for months or even years. When it is an involuntary job loss, that can be even more traumatic.
    It is important for him to focus on the future while still honoring the past. Putting together a resume, contacting a search firm or outplacement company, and attending networking meetings are all ways to start looking forward. He should definitely take advantage of any outplacement services his company is offering.
    Keeping in touch with friends and mentors from the “old” place helps to honor the past (a good excuse to contact them is to ask about using them as a reference.) The message is that the venue may have changed but the important relationships will continue, just in a different manner.
    There is a famous book by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross about the stages of grief that might be helpful to you in understanding what he is going through. Keep supporting him as best you can, knowing that most people who are laid off end up better off than they would be if they had stayed.

  4. My husband and I went through this same thing a couple months ago. My husband went a little crazy and finding work consumed his every thought. We went out every day and put in applications and dropped off resumes. He wouldn’t stop checking the phone calls, looking for openings online etc…. When nothing came along he just stopped trying at all. He was dragging around the house all day while I worked a bunch of double shifts to make up financially. I got really really frustrated with him.
    Learn from my mistakes. just relax and let him go about it in his own way. He is a man which means he probably feels like he’s nothing if he can’t take care of his family. So I would just lay off him as far as getting things back to normal especially if it has been really recent. Also he has to understand that he is not the only one who is effected by this you will have to sit down together lay out your finances and come up with a solid plan to get by until he finds another job.
    I promise he will feel better the more time that goes by and the more oppurtunities he finds that look promising. You should also encourage family activities to get him out of the house.

  5. Hi! Interesting to read your post. For the past 20 years I have been helping displaced workers managed the emotional impact of job loss, not only have I worked with thousands of individuals (whitecollar, bluecollar, you name, I’ve worked with them).. . I personally went through job loss myself.
    However, even with these 20 years behind me, I found myself coming up for air when my significant other lost his job. This is a completely different ball game.
    I share with you what helped me, first help myself in order to best support him and the family.
    1. Understand yourself first – identify your emotions and spread them out. What’s bothering you, what frustrates you, what guilty feeling do you have (if any, sometimes we have a great day and don’t dare to share it with our significant other because we don’t want them to feel bad). You need to work with yourself first in order to be best prepared to support him.
    2. Understand the loss – grief process – Although most loss-grief models contemplate the same things, not everyone faces job loss the same. Some of us will want immediate action and can get to the point of being overly anxious; others may feel so depressed that lack of action is their daily cup of tea. Knowledge is power. With this knowledge you will be better equipped to start a conversation with your significant other about his/her process.
    3. Understand your significant other – Look back at times when the “rough got going” and he/she was able to succeed. Remind them of that….they continue to have those characteristics within them. However, if that past demonstrated to you that they needed a little push, then you know what you need to do. It is important to talk to them about:
    a. Their feelings – you can say something like: “I want you to know that I am here for you and my intention is to support you the best way that I can. In order for me to do that we need to talk about this, address it in a way that we can support each other”.
    b. Their worries – you can say something like: “Although you lost your job, and you may see me working, the truth is that “we” both lost the job” “We are both living, experiencing and feeling the emotions of job loss”. You may feel them directly, I feel them indirectly…at the end…we are both feeling the impact. I’m here for the long run and I want you to know that if you do not wish to talk about this now, it is OK with me….but when you do wish to address this, I will be here as well.”
    What you are looking for is to create a “safe environment” where your significant other can express the doubts, feelings or uncertainty that job loss can bring.
    4. Get Professional Help – It is important to search for professional help. Sometimes we believe we have all the answers. A professional can provide us the necessary tools, understanding and knowledge to best manage the situation.
    5. Be Patient – Focus on yourself, and this is not being selfish, it is being realistic. Focus on your process, allow him/her to experience their own. Let it go….and just be Present for them.
    Hope you have a successful transition.


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