How Do I Help Him Survive a Layoff?

Ask Demetria: There are no simple solutions to dealing with a boyfriend who's lost his job.


I didn’t believe her, especially because I believed in my guy. He started off optimistic and enthusiastic, picking up odd jobs, spending his lunch hour making calls to set up informational interviews and sending résumés. He started talking about going into business for himself. He put together a business plan and hired a lawyer to get it incorporated. Work trickled in; investors didn’t. That’s when he changed.

At one time, he was the type of guy who, if he was supposed to meet me somewhere, would show up early and wait. But then I started showing up on time, and I’d wait so long that I had to text to ask if he was still coming. Sometimes he was.

He had always been the responsible one in his crew, the designated driver. Then I ran into him at a party and had to leave my friends to drive him — and his friends — home because he was wasted. Oops! He told me once that he hadn’t smoked pot since college, which was five years prior, but on more than one occasion he showed up at my house — because we never went out anymore, not even to the park — with bloodshot eyes and reeking of marijuana and would respond only with “Huh?” and a giggle when I asked if he was high.

The final straw was when I threw a fancy rooftop birthday party, where he was, obviously, supposed to be my date. He texted me a half hour before it ended to say that he wasn’t coming — as if I hadn’t already figured that out.

I got it. He was depressed. He felt worthless, likely how your man feels right now. I’d felt about the same after I graduated with a master’s degree and couldn’t find a job for seven months. And I acted about the same way, sans the drugs. Many a good person tried to snap me out of it, but the only thing that worked was a job.

That’s also what other women have told me finally turned their frog back into a prince. Knowing what I’d been through and what it had taken for me, and remembering the initial advice I sought, I knew that there was nothing I could do to help my guy. And I wasn’t willing to be mistreated or taken for granted until he landed a new position, however long that was going to be.

I tell you all this so that you understand what you may be signing up for if you choose to stick it out. No one gave me details, just warnings. You sound as if you really want to make it. I hope you do, without too much wear and tear on you.

Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor to The Root, and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at

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