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Dating & Relationships

Have you been holding off dating because you’re unemployed? Well, new research shows that while you’re not alone in your job search, you might be alone in waiting to start a relationship for economic reasons.

This research points to a very interesting dynamic: When people are faced with a lack in one area of their lives, they compensate for it in other areas. The desire to find a partner may have taken a back seat to focus on career advancement, but if careers are suddenly on hold, the need to find a partner becomes the primary focus. 

I find this interesting for two reasons: One, even though high unemployment rates are a terrible reality, I like the idea of people turning away from the focus on work. I’ve been to and even lived in other countries where the lifestyle is much more relaxed and relationship-oriented. Families eat all three meals together each day. Extended families live in close proximity. Friends are as close as family. Significant others are first and foremost in consideration for most life decisions. People in these places have the work-to-live ethos; whereas here, ours is live to work. We spend so much time  working, and our free time is spent thinking about work that, true to the adage, it makes us dull.

Study: 75% Of Women Would Not Marry A Jobless Boyfriend

I might just be proof of this current trend. I could say that for the time I’ve been under-employed my dating life had improved significantly. In fact, I am fairly certain that if I was working full time, I would not be able to dedicate the time and attention to the relationship I’m in now. I consider the time I’m dedicating to this relationship as far, far more important than any professional advancement I could otherwise make. For me, work is only a means to an end; the end is the life I’d like to have outside of work. No one lies on their deathbed regretting that he hadn’t spent enough time at work.

And it is precisely this shift of priorities that current research is pointing to. Tracy Steinberg, a fellow New Yorker and self-proclaimed “dateologist,” thinks the reason for this increased emphasis on dating is that in light of hardship, people start to see what matters. Most of us would agree that facing hardships alone is much, much more difficult than doing so with someone by our side. As she points out, many of the newly unemployed felt prompted to shift their attention to relationships out of fear of being alone. It is this fear that we often bury under the distraction of work; so once that layer is uncovered, we are compelled to face it. What better way than to try meeting someone new?

The other reason I find this social development interesting is because it forces us to shift our idea of what a date is. Let’s face it: If everyone’s broke, expensive dates are out of the question. We are all looking for ways to save money, and dating is no exception. Whereas dinner, drinks and a movie were once mandatory, now dates could consist of things like free local events, recreational or athletic pursuits, or just spending time together without a set agenda.

3 Easy (And Cheap) Dates For Busy Singles

These ideas certainly fly in the face of Patti Stanger’s concept of a date, wherein men are required to “drop bank,” as she puts it, but I think this is a good thing. What’s wonderful about it — at least to me — is that it shifts the focus in a very real, tangible way from the shallow trappings of the material world. If we are distracted by who’s paying, and how much one makes, and what one’s professional title is, will we ever pay attention to the things that really matter? I think that money is one of the worst distractions there is from making us see what our priorities should be.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I think we shouldn’t ever consider the possibility of supporting a partnership and eventual family when we’re discerning a relationship. But when people begin looking at income as the end rather than the means, something is amiss. What will happen to those people when they suddenly lose their job? 

 I think that how a potential partner deals with all of the ensuing concerns of unemployment is a great indicator of how they will deal with other hardships in life.  Those who can live within their means are often the same people who can withstand the difficulties of life with better coping skills. It is through hardship that we really see what a person is made of. For myself, I’d rather find out that information sooner than later.

Just the other day, I had a lovely date: a gallery exhibition (free) followed by drinks and a light lunch (inexpensive). It was a weekday afternoon. We both agreed that this would never be possible if we had full-time jobs. Somehow, it served as more than a consolation for being unemployed; in fact, it was far more enjoyable than waiting until a weekend evening. This city is far too crowded on Saturday nights anyway! 

With all the research backing me up, I urge my fellow CatholicMatch members to not let a reduced income get in the way of dating. Trust me on this: Spending a weekday afternoon with someone wonderful is far more fun than spending it reading want ads! 

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16 Comments

  1. Ryan-672439 July 3, 2012

    Hi Catherine,

    I really appreciated this article, thank you. I have been under-employed as well. It is a painful cross. For men it is so hard because it seems like we are judged by the job we have, the money we make, whereas women are judged based off their looks. It is hard not to be affected by those judgements. I wrote an article recently about how society judges womens’ looks if you or anybody else is interested. You can find the article at http://www.spiritdaily.net/covergirl.htm

    I hope and pray many share your attitude Catherine and enjoy those simple things in life again as a way of finding true happiness in their relationships!

    blessings from Ryan

    • Marita-847688 July 3, 2012

      Wonderful articles that you both wrote! Ryan-thanks for looking for the inside of a woman to treasure.

  2. Linda-666928 July 4, 2012

    I BELIEVE THAT THE PROBLEM IS IN THE ABSENCE OF meekness, humility, IS THE KEY TO EVERYTHING., BUT WILL PRACTICE HUMILITY, nadien get nothing.

    What is meekness
    Meek spirit.
    There is justice, joy and peace.
    Seeketh not her own.
    Suffers when the other suffers.
    Not zappy.
    It adapts to circumstances.
    Accept God’s plans foreseen and unforeseen, no complaints.
    It is too early to forgive.
    Thanks to your children when help.
    It is gentle and flexible.
    She is the sister of kindness.
    No progress in the supermarket pushing.
    Receive with meekness the Word of God.
    It is helpful and recognizes that it may be wrong.
    Accept the will of God because he knows that he chooses the best.

    The opposite of meekness
    Pride, haughtiness, Selfishness, self-centeredness.
    The cruelty (the root is the focus on yourself and love prevail and that I pass over in the background is low self-esteem).
    Is to enforce our rights.
    It zappy.
    It is believed important.
    He struggles to forgive.
    He shouts to his family (to others is simulated).
    He loses his temper easily.
    Thinks he knows how to fix the problems of others and says so.
    It is very talkative.
    Is dominant and rigid.
    No root of bitterness

    How this fruit ripen?

    Keep an intimate relationship with Jesus.
    Spend time alone with him is much more close to him, the more similar to him, is his love and gentleness in you.
    What do you say anything against anyone?.
    Take your thoughts captive to Christ.
    Learn to love others and have compassion for them.
    The meekness and gentleness, softens the hardest hearts.
    Compassion is a vaccine against cruelty.
    Apologize to who is offended God.
    Seek to be filled with the Spirit.

  3. Jacqueline-198 July 5, 2012

    I was unemployed almost two years and during that time I didn’t actively pursue my search for someone because I didn’t want a prospective ‘partner’ to think I was ‘mooching’ off of him, I’m the type of woman that likes to ‘treat’ the gent as well and since I wasn’t in a position to do so, I had preferred not to have dated.

  4. William-607613 July 7, 2012

    It’s long been a part of the American psyche that we find fulfillment in work. It’s also long been a part of those with traditional views of marriage that the woman have the option (even if she does not take advantage of it) of staying home to raise the children in a marriage. I think even the women here would agree that the psychological burden of being unemployed or underemployed is far greater on a man than a woman. A few years ago I was between jobs for seven months; I could not imagine participating in any of these sites or singles events during that time.

  5. Angela-559424 July 7, 2012

    I personally put work first before dating because I will not be able to do many things if I do not work but I can still do many things without a guy friend by my side.

    Call me workaholic?

  6. Monica-429294 July 7, 2012

    Hi everyone, I’m new to this blog stuff, lol. Why is it everyone I think I like I click on and read his profile and he can’t relocate, there is so many of them who can’t relocate. Most of them are ones that looked at my profile, so I look at them, I like what I see until I get to that part.

    • Karen-854278 July 10, 2012

      Monica, I think when people fill out profiles – or at least I know with myself – we tend to put down what is true in our lives at the moment. Most people feel strongly about whether they would want to relocate or not, so it can be disappointing, however I think the “right” person for us, over time or after getting to know them, can possibly help sway our direction. I think if you see someone you’re interested in getting to know, there’s no harm in sending a note. If they respond, wonderful … see if a friendship develops. I wouldn’t put too much hope at first as to whether they (or you) would relocate, but I think if real feelings develop, the possibility might be there. You never know. Good luck!

  7. Karen-854278 July 10, 2012

    Well, this is certainly understandable…. if you’re unemployed in this day and age, trying to find a job (and particularly the right job for your skills) can be an extremely time-consuming effort. You’re focused on getting your life back on track, and it may leave little room for concentrating on starting a romance, which is unfortunate, but true.

    I do think however, that sometimes the same approach with finding a job should be applied when starting a friendship/love relationship — boldness or taking a chance should be considered. If you think there’s a great job out there that you may be a good fit for – wouldn’t take a chance and apply for it? When I first joined this site, I came across a profile for an extremely attractive man, I was just drawn to what he said, he look, etc. I liked what I read, but I was too shy to send a note. Now, he’s no longer on the website and I’m thinking “drat! … why didn’t I at least send a “smile” … nothing to lose” So, I guess my lesson learned is “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” To all who are seeking a job AND a relationship, stay positive, keep upbeat and take that chance!

  8. Carlos-876737 July 11, 2012

    I think this applies to the whole world, not just to the US. I used to date a girl, who was not a US american, and her whole efforts were geared towards getting married, but not with me, but with the idea of marriage. That gave her this special status that is visibly seen with the “one Ring”. This ring of power works in a very calculating fashion, it seems, for while I was dating her I had an accident and became depressed, for I was in a pitiful state. During that time she told me she wouldn’t visit me at the hospital unless she were my wife. I found later on someone else proposed to her and she then married him. I had to do therapy for 2 years, with exercise and other type of therapy. I’m in a relatively good shape now, cycling as I did before, writing science fiction as a way to answer unanswered riddles. While what happened to me doesn’t exactly relate to being unemployed it is the same principle: when we are worried about rings and bills and six packs and academics, we see the other person as an object to achieve our own agenda, rather than a person with his/her black and white. I mean where does it stop? Should one wait to date when all the constelations are aligned? In school it is too early bc you’re not 18 and need to finish school. In highschool the same. In college the same. When you work there isn’t time to date.

    I think there is always a way, and shuting yourself from the world can be detrimental to your work performance. One always gets the advice of pursuing charities, friends and family. The problem is when all of them are more interested in other things rather than in your company, or in helping you out. When you are in trouble, those that profess their true love to you are the ones that can hurt you the most. So it is not that black and white. Therefore I agree with this article in almost every point. I’m sorry for overextending myself in my response. I’ve just pondered on this issue ever since that happened to me and is something I want to discuss further. Thank you for your patience :0)

    Sincerely,
    Carlos

    • Karen-854278 July 11, 2012

      Carlos, I think you make some very valid points in your comment, thanks for sharing. If we wait for everything to “be perfect” in our worlds, surely we’ll be waiting forever, for who lives a life of perfect circumstances, right? However, I do think with the unemployment situation it’s a little bit different … a job, or at least the ability to support ourselves, is such a big part of our lives (and necessity) and when someone’s unemployed (been there) it can weight heavily on our minds. When we’re in a state of focus on getting another job, or of anxiety (common feeling) I think it detracts from us truly being able to ease into and enjoy starting a relationship. But, I’m sure it’s different for everyone.

      Sorry to read about your unfortunate experience with your former girlfriend. It sounds as though she was more focused on obtaining a husband in the legal sense, rather than a partner. Good luck to you, hope you find a wonderful partner.

  9. Ron-26907 July 11, 2012

    Hello
    A coworker of mine who recently became a Manager of the Telephony Team is looking for a new Contractor with C# Dot Net Programmer and hands on Telephony Experience. He is looking for AVAYA Experience

    The team is new and he is the lone ranger. If anyone is interested or if you know some who is looking, here is some additional info.

    http://www.careerbuilder.com/JobSeeker/Jobs/JobDetails.aspx?APath=2.31.0.0.0&job_did=JHM3QD65V7KCX3VW8JM&IPath=ILKGV0B

  10. Adriana-793765 July 12, 2012

    great article.. i actually felt uncomfortable to date during my under-employment time.. thinking i would be viewed negatively. thanks for sharing

  11. Dave-868059 July 15, 2012

    GREAT Article overall, Catherine.
    Carlos I like your account regarding that girlfriend of yours and agree with Karen’s insight. That lady sounds like she may just have been in a hurry to solidify the legal benefits that may have arisen from a marriage to you. As far as being unemployed or underemployed, it’s a situation faced by humanity itself especially in the Western world, not just the US. Generally speaking I believe it is more detrimental to men in most cultures if they’re out of work or not a well-off work-wise according to their qualifications when in the dating game. Perhaps more ladies can share their sentiments as to how attractive a man’s profile is to them if the above is the case? In a very materialistic world where society usually still holds the tradition of the man as provider in the family, though there are many examples to the contrary with women earning more and even stay-at-home husbands etc., how many ladies would even contact an otherwise attractive though un-or underemployed guy? Jacqueline’s point is really interesting as well, coming from the stance female stance and wanting to be able to treat her date and perhaps less able if she had no work or a job that went way under the level of her qualifications. As Catholics, Christians what’s it all say about our values versus those of the ‘world’? I’d think getting to know the person first no matter what would be ideal as a believer in Christ, though it obviously doesn’t always seem to be the case in reality. We should have a higher standard especially since those members here are supposed to be our brothers and sisters in Christ. “In all things, charity”. Lastly, these people’s situations shall not remain like this forever. Some may move on from the site and meantime God can bless them with even better positions than before and a potential profile could then become enviable! What then for those who would have sidelined them before? Missed out ‘BIG TIME’?

  12. Emily-495747 July 16, 2012

    Since I became an “adult re-entry student” I have given up any thoughts about dating for the duration. I may scan this site when I receive an email regarding a recent “match” or notice that someone has viewed my profile; however, I never follow up. I feel that I am not in a place to offer myself completely as I am devoting all my time and energy in pursuit of my degree and future employment. I believe that it is unfair to not be able to devote the time and attention necessary to develop a relationship with someone and doubly unfair to place the main burden on the other party. Am I wrong to feel this way? I don’t believe so, as most of the profiles I read are of men seeking women who “have something to offer,” are “independent,” “self sufficient,” and/or financially secure” etc. etc. etc.

    • Karen-854278 July 18, 2012

      Emily, I don’t think your thinking is necessarily “wrong” … I think (emphasis on the word “think”) that when people use the key-words “independent” “self-sufficient” in their profiles, they are not looking for people in terms of wealth or monetary achievement, but may be using those terms to indicate that they are not capable or willing to take on another person’s financial weight. For example, maybe a man doesn’t necessarily care about what a woman earns, providing she can at least support herself in basic ways … he may have enough money to live comfortably, but not to completely support another person.

      Dave makes some very good insights in his post. To answer one of his questions regarding whether a woman would date a man who is unemployed, here’s how I honestly feel: If this were posed to me years back, in a very comfortable economic climate where jobs were available and readily accessed, I would have thought that someone who is unemployed may be exhibiting other characteristics such a laziness, etc. Now, in this present day and age, unemployment rarely has to do with that — it is a very difficult job market, particularly for those of us who are older. I don’t think it’s fair to judge a person on his/her status, they can indeed be trying very hard to secure another position, but circumstances in the country/world are “squeezing them out.” Doesn’t mean they aren’t a wonderful and worthwhile person to get to know.

      Unfortunately, our ability to “hold our own” to have a financial stream coming in does impact our confidence levels, for many people. I think it’s always better to get a sense of the “whole” person and not just focus on one aspect. If people didn’t seek out mates because we were ashamed or embarrassed about a certain aspect in our lives, we’d probably all be alone.

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