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As part of its ongoing series on job insecurity, Alternet recently examined whether or not couples can weather the challenges of extended unemployment. It’s a particularly timely discussion, given the instability of the job market and the ever-lengthening periods of joblessness many Americans face. If you’ve ever been laid off, you may know how intensely it can affect every area of your life. Even if you’re single and have no one to support but yourself, the financial pressures can feel insurmountable, as can the frequent moments of questioning your viability as an employee, the marketability of your skill set. It can deeply shake the foundation of your self-esteem and self-worth.

If one or both parties in a relationship are nursing those independent wounds, imagine how gravely their union could be affected. Alternet’s Lynn Paramore eloquently lays out the central conflict:

Our bodies –and our hearts — were not made to cope with long-term job insecurity. To fully open ourselves to the right person and let go physically, we need a measure of safety in our lives. But three consecutive years of unemployment over 8 percent – the worst such run since the Great Depression – is leaving us fearful and forlorn. Shredded social safety nets and weak bonds of community and kinship mean that there’s little to mute the intensity of anxiety that never seems to fade.

The old saying, “Romance without finance has no chance,” certainly has the ring of truth. But can couples sustain their trust in the other’s ability to regain employment long enough to weather the financial and emotional storm–even if those storms last well over a year?

What do you think?

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  • It is a big test in a relationship. It will show the true character of a person. I think mature people will overcome it and only young people who are not prepare for the situation will have problems.