Girlfriend won’t look for a job

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

We relocated together to California as I got a great job, and she said she could work from anywhere with her job as it is commission based. In the last 3 years, she has not been able to contribute to the expenses of anything. She does cook every night for my 2 sons, does the shopping and some lite cleaning. I have asked and told her to get a job, and she will look for a week, and then give up. We have had to move 4 times, I lost my car, my credit it shot, I live in a small apartment now, and she is working for her commission job, but not making any money! She just won’t look for a job. Now her sister moved in with us on a temporary note, and now she is going to have to have her sister move in with us because her sister is sick and can no longer take care of herself. My kids don’t like her, they think she is a free loader, and my parent’s have talked with me a lot about my financial situation. I make a really good living, but I have absolutely nothing to show for it, and I am broke. My 2 kids: one is now in college, and the other moved in with him to finish high school out of state, our home town. My expenses are very overwhelming now, and I have talked with her about getting a job so she can help and take care of her sister. She spends most of her day working on this commission job, and not looking for real work….help.

A: I’m not sure what kind of help you’re looking for. There must be something really, really sweet about your partner to keep you hanging in. You can’t complain about her not getting a job when you’ve so consistently picked up the slack and let her maintain her fiction that she is working on commission. Rather than try to make her be different, you need to look at what you can do differently.

What concerns me most is that you’ve given up having your own son living with you and have accepted the sick sister into the household with no change in the financial arrangements. From your son’s point of view, he’s been replaced by the sister of someone he doesn’t even like. This is likely to have far-reaching consequences to your relationship with him. Is the relationship with the girlfriend really worth that?

Given what little I know, I’d suggest you take a huge step back. Move out. Establish separate households. Date your girlfriend if you like but don’t support her. Reestablish your relationship on the basis of more equality. She will probably accuse you of being horrible and try to make you feel guilty. If you need to feel guilty (which I don’t think you do but apparently it’s a tactic that works with you), feel terrible for underestimating her ability to be a fully functioning adult and for putting her before your own kids. Then please try to be kinder to yourself and do what you need to do to make some important dhanges.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Sep 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Girlfriend won’t look for a job. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/09/29/girlfriend-wont-look-for-a-job/