2. Heightened negative emotion. The uncertainty of sustained living conditions is like a flame accelerant, feeding negative emotions to new heights. Tension mounts as the duration of unemployment increases. Accusations regarding the job search effort increases.
Stress builds as the saving account balance dwindles. How will the bills get paid next month? How will we put food on the table? Fear increases at the prospect of major life changes — losing the house or filing for bankruptcy.
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3. Broken societal expectations. Further exacerbating the situation is societal norms. He's the bread winner; he's supposed to take care of the family. But being unemployed, the spouse's mind frame begins to create an emotional poker game.
The couple starts to fight and jostle for control like two poker pros raising the bet. "You're home so why aren't you spending more time with me?" "Oh yeah, well why aren't you trying to help out the household and find work? Then one of the two goes all in and says, "I want a divorce"; the other can't fold or show too much weakness, so the response is, "Fine, sounds like a great idea to me."
Let's face it, if two people really loved each other nothing will come between them. The loss of a job is a relatively minor event. But as marital dissatisfaction increases, ways to create the end of a marriage increase. This leads to heightened negative emotions and broken societal expectations as supporting members of the broken marriage cast.
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As I reflect back on 2006, did my layoff cause my divorce? I don't think so. We were not happy. The layoff just accelerated the inevitable.