Man’s chronic unemployment creates doubt for future

Published 8:24 am Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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DEAR ABBY: I’m a 32-year-old woman who has been with my boyfriend, my first and only partner, for 11 years. Overall, our relationship is healthy. He’s smart, kind, supportive, caring, loyal and funny. I can see us getting married and living a happy life together. 

The problem is, aside from a few short-term gigs, he hasn’t had a job for the last six years, when he left his office job to move with me for my career. I’ve done well. But although he has applied for all sorts of jobs — sales, admin, medical, police, government, fast food – no one has hired him. 

Last year, he developed a heart condition, and he can no longer perform physical labor. He also suffers from depression. So, I’ve been paying for nearly everything. I’m lucky not to have credit card debt, but at age 32, I have no retirement savings. My job barely covers living expenses for us and our pets. 

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I want to progress in life and have an equal partner. We’ve discussed marriage, and I think he’s “the one.” But how long should I hold out hope of him finding a job? Do I just keep on hoping, or do I consider ending things and breaking both our hearts? – BURDENED IN FLORIDA


DEAR BURDENED: Has it occurred to you that the reason the man you love has been unable to find employment all this time may be connected to his depression? It would benefit you both if he consulted a doctor and sought treatment for it. Free and low-cost counseling is available through the county, as well as through colleges and universities with departments of psychology. Please explore this before ending your relationship because it could be the solution to your problem.


DEAR ABBY: My sister has become very interested in Zen meditation. I’m afraid she has become obsessed with it. She spent a week at a special meditation workshop during which she said she meditated all day, every day to the point that her back hurt from sitting so much. She’s now saying she wants to become a Zen priest, which necessitates spending three months at a Zen center meditating constantly. 

My sister has a husband and two teenage daughters I think she’s neglecting. She earned a master’s degree in economics at a prestigious university but works only part time as a bookkeeper to allow more time for her Zen center. 

How can I politely persuade her to focus on her family and career, and let Zen meditation be her hobby rather than the focus of her life? – PRIORITIES IN THE WEST


DEAR PRIORITIES: Your sister is an adult, intelligent and capable of making her own decision about the path in life she chooses. Nowhere did you state that her husband and children disagree with it. I do not think your input on this subject, regardless of how “politely” you offer it, will be welcomed. Keep your opinion to yourself unless asked for it.


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