Dear Penina,

I am an attractive, Ivy League-educated professional in my thirties. I’m also looking to get married and raise a family. Unfortunately, my company downsized last year and I lost my job. I’m able to pay for rent and groceries with unemployment benefits, but that’s about it. I have been unable to find a job, despite the fact that I have been actively searching for almost a year. Whenever I meet a woman and there seems to be mutual interest, she cools off as soon as she finds out that I am out of work. How can I date seriously for marriage if I don’t know when I will find another job?

Sincerely,
Josh

Dear Josh,

I am sorry that you are experiencing such difficulty with your employment search. Times are tough and the fact that the economy is in dire straits does not do much to help you feel confident about dating for the purpose of marriage. That being said, it’s great that you are actively seeking a life partner and are thinking about starting a family.

While many people are suffering from the uncertainty and stress that long-term unemployment creates, men often have the added burden of being the sole breadwinner in a family. Unfortunately, there are many single mothers who must bear this tremendous responsibility as well but it most often falls upon the man of the house, assuming there is one, to provide primary financial support.

Financial stability is generally a priority for women who are looking to get married. When couples marry at a younger age, they are usually more flexible. Couples in their early twenties are often still in school or at the beginning stages of their careers. By the time a woman is in her thirties, however, she might be less willing to explore the unknown when it comes to financial stability. This phenomenon is likely what you have been encountering when dating during your job search.

More women than not will be hesitant to embark upon a serious relationship with a man who is unemployed, especially one who has been out of work for more than a few months. But you only need one – the right one. If you have been out of work for nearly a year, haven’t sent a single resume, attended one interview or done anything but collect your unemployment check and channel surf on your sofa, that’s a problem. It’s another thing entirely if you have been actively searching for work in your field and are open to other possibilities in order to secure a position that’s right for you. If you are genuinely uncomfortable with being unemployed but can still maintain a positive, proactive attitude, that will go a long way to impress the right person.

Your current employment status should be viewed as a temporary bump in the road.

If a woman is not interested in getting to know you better because of your current employment status, move on. The woman who is right for you should be looking for mutual attraction, shared life goals and good character traits. Assuming that you are clear on your life goals, continuously working on refining your character traits and open to meeting a woman with whom you have chemistry and share common ground, your current employment status should be viewed as a temporary bump in the road. There is no such thing as total certainty with respect to employment, or anything at all.

If someone does his job in a professional manner, with integrity and optimal effort, it does not automatically ensure success, or long-term stability, in every work environment. It does indicate that the person is still likely a valuable employee in another situation. A man might be perceived as a real catch because he has a great job, only to lose it a few months down the road. His value as a human being should not be determined by external circumstances beyond his control.

It’s important to work on the things that you do have control over while looking for a job. I suggest making a list of your needs and wants to make sure you know what you are looking for in a potential spouse. You want to know what you are shopping for before you even drive to the mall. Needs would relate to things that you absolutely can’t compromise on such as physical attraction, common life goals and character traits. Wants might include things that you would prefer but could live without such as specific physical characteristics, similar family background and a certain level of education.

If you are a growth-oriented person it will show and that will help to attract the ideal career opportunity and the perfect woman for you. What is most important is your attitude to a temporary setback, not the fact that you are experiencing one in the first place. Focus on doing the internal work necessary to make yourself the best possible employee and the best possible husband.

Both potential employers and spouses react favorably to seeing the best possible you. Difficult life circumstances are inevitable. However, we can control how we react to those situations. Focus on your goals while projecting a positive, proactive attitude. Wishing you the right job and the right woman, at the right time!