Would You Date Someone Who is Unemployed?

by TTMK on July 12, 2012 · 27 comments

My answer is clear: Yes, I would have done that.

Dating someone who is unemployed is clearly not for everyone. A recent article in Moneyland shares that there are many people out there who clearly won’t date somebody who is unemployed. Both genders had a percentage of people who fit that line of thinking.

What I found interesting is that while both women and men had some people with that opinion, far more women felt that way.  It’s noted, in data they sourced elsewhere, that three-quarters of women weren’t likely to date an unemployed man, while just one-third of men would not data an unemployed woman.

Clearly, the data seems to suggest that a date’s employment status matters more to women than it does to men.

This brings to mind 2 questions:

1) Why does a person being unemployed make he or she undesirable as a date?

In this day and age, plenty of smart, hard-working people are at one point or another out of work.  There have been corporate layoffs aplenty, and many smart college graduates, MBAs, and lawyers – among others – who have had issues finding jobs.  Some people might be unemployed for an extended period of time, and some for a short period of time. Either way, that status doesn’t necessarily reflect laziness.

Separately, even if somebody wasn’t overly intense about his or her career, does it make the person a bad date? Or, more importantly, poor marriage material? Someone may be incredibly nice, of high moral character, attractive, honest, and possessing many other important attributes. Does the ability and/or willingness to become wealthy matter so much? Or, is it more of a fear that the person is irresponsible simply because of employment status?

2) Why is a potential date being unemployed a bigger deal for women?

There is the age-old notion that we are hard-wired biologically to seek certain qualities in our partners.  For example, that men desire women who are beautiful and can bear children, while women want to be protected and provided resources.  While that may be true on some level, is it really this clear in day-to-day life in the 21st century?

Recently, I had a somewhat controversial post on gold diggers that might have brought out some strong opinions.  Is the notion that a person should be employed an understandable requirement in dating? Is this even more understandable for a woman dating?

With respect to both questions, I tend to think that the answers might have a mix of reasons specific to the individual, as well as some general reasons attributable to gender.  Personally, for example, I don’t think it would really matter to me if a person was employed at the time, as long as I knew that the person was not a freeloader or looking to have somebody else be solely responsible for providing for her in every way.  As far as why it matters more to women if somebody is employed, I think it’s socialization as well as maybe some primal need to know that while she bears children, the man will be able to help provide resources to take care of them.

Or, maybe the whole caveman/cavewoman thing is a bunch of bunk. Who knows? 🙂

My Questions for You:

Would you care if a potential date was unemployed?

Why do you think it matters to people, to the extent that they wouldn’t date somebody not currently employed?

Why do you think employment situation matters more to women that it does to men?

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Smart Military Money July 12, 2012 at 8:45 am

I’ve never written off a woman for one characteristic. Usually, it’s several turn offs that lead me to losing interest. That being said, I wouldn’t mind getting to know a woman if she was unemployed. For one, her employment status isn’t everything. What if she’s a grad or Ph.D student who simply cannot fit a job into her schedule? And what if her one “flaw” is that she has yet to find a job that would make her and her employer happy? I’m not a fan of settling, especially for a job.

Plus the unemployment rate is high enough that I expect to meet unemployed people in my social circles. As you mentioned, layoffs happen and budgets get cut. It’s a bummer, but it’s a reality that we have to accept.

People who wouldn’t date an unemployed person probably see it as a personality flaw. Like you said, laziness comes to mind. But that’s not fair. When you’re looking for work–and I’m not saying all unemployed people are–it’s a full-time job. People just don’t want to roll the dice on somebody who needs a job. It’s unfortunate that money plays such a big role in some people’s romantic lives.

-Christian L.


TTMK July 12, 2012 at 10:16 pm

SMM – I think you take a wise, holistic view of this type of scenario. Layoffs and such do happen, and many people out of work are far from lazy. Rather, many of them are looking full time. I think that people who just assume somebody – male or female – is lazy due to being unemployed, and not worth rolling the dice on, is not looking at what’s truly important. Now, if somebody truly is lazy or irresponsible, that’s different.


Daisy July 12, 2012 at 8:49 am

I would, but it depends on the timing. If most people in that field are having trouble finding work, then it’s less of a big deal, but if that person is just being lazy, it’s a deal breaker.

It’s not so much the title of unemployment that bugs me, but what they are doing about it, and with their time off. If they are sleeping in, playing video games, etc, then NO. I’m not lazy and I don’t want a lazy partner. If they are pounding the pavement trying to find a job, working hard on side projects or what have you, then it’s fine.

It’s not so much being unemployed but the fact that I’m a firm believer and practicer of hard work and need somebody to also reflect my values.


TTMK July 12, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Daisy – having shared values and being on the same page is logical. That includes the desire to work hard!


Meghan July 12, 2012 at 10:11 am

I have and still would date someone who was unemployed.

For me, it’s less about the money than it’s about the mindset the person is in. If they’re sitting on their ass collecting a government cheque and doing nothing on purpose, there’s no way. They clearly don’t want to build a life, they want to stay stagnant and get whatever they can get. If they’re out of work to start a business or freelance or they’re temporarily trying to find work, I have no problems with that. Transition periods happen, it’s part of life.


TTMK July 12, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Meghan – seems like for many, the situation is less important the attitude. Is it the attitude, or the potential destination?


Michelle July 12, 2012 at 10:11 am

I think it all depends on why they are unemployed. Is it something they did wrong? Are they currently looking or being lazy?


TTMK July 12, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Michelle – I see a trend, laziness is a no-go!


iwtkangaroo July 12, 2012 at 11:21 am

Great post. It would really depend on the circumstances. To me it’s not really about whether they’re employed or not… it’s their attitude about their circumstances. If I’m on a date with someone who just shared that he’s out of work and honestly excited to get back out there and is already looking for great opportunities then I wouldn’t knock him for that. If I’m on a date with a guy who’s out of work and seems unmotivated, dependent etc. then I couldn’t see it working. I think when you own where you are, take control of your life and move in the direction you want (regardless of where your starting point is), that’s commendable… and date-able. 🙂


TTMK July 12, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Makes sense, and seems to be a frequent point of view. I wonder if the roles were reversed, if the view would be the same?


Kathleen @ Frugal Portland July 12, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I got laid off after dating someone for less than a month. I told him I wouldn’t blame him if he dumped me. He thought I was ridiculous and that my job didn’t have much bearing on our relationship.


TTMK July 12, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Kathleen – I’m glad he didn’t take a poor attitude. It seems like he took the fair approach, and the one that reflects common sense!


SB @ One Cent At A Time July 12, 2012 at 11:23 pm

Now my question to you is, would you leave your spouse if he/she is laid off?


TTMK July 13, 2012 at 9:06 pm

SB – that would be terrible if somebody left their spouse just because he/she was laid off.


SB @ One Cent At A Time July 15, 2012 at 8:56 pm

isn’t that similar to your topic?


Bridget July 14, 2012 at 11:12 am

I wouldn’t.


TTMK July 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Direct response, lol. Can you elaborate?


Andrea @SoOverDebt July 14, 2012 at 8:29 pm

For me, it really depends on what “unemployed” means. If a guy lost his job 6 months ago and has been unable to find something else, I wouldn’t write him off. But if he’s CHRONICALLY unemployed, like hasn’t had a job for more than a few months EVER? Oh hell no.

Then again, it would kind of suck to have to pay for all the dates if the guy wasn’t prepared for unemployment…. So I don’t know. It’s not an immediate dealbreaker for me but it would depend on a lot of circumstances.


kelly@thehungryegghead July 15, 2012 at 9:47 pm

I agree with you. Chronically unemployed + inability to hold down a job signifys that there is something wrong with the guy. To me if he cannot hold down a job for any length of time how is he going to hold down marriage.

I would not date a guy if he was not prepared for unemployment. Not because I would be paying for date, but because that would be a huge red flag for me.


Sara March 31, 2017 at 11:56 am

While your first statement is valid, your second really shows a privileged mentality. Being unemployed and being unprepared for unemployment are two totally different things. There can be a wide number of reason someone might not be prepared for unemployment; maybe they had to pay their own way through school and have lots of debt that doesn’t leave them any disposable income, even when working. Maybe they have recently experienced a family or medical emergency that drained there resources. Quite a few people don’t have the family support that many take for granted, and that can put real strain on finances in a number of ways. It’s easy to say one should be prepared for unemployment, and overall that’s a wise step, IF it’s plausible. But it’s not always plausible at every point for every person. You’re speaking from a place of privilege. (And it’s ok to decide you only want to date people with the same level of privileged as you, but don’t put that out there as a general ‘red flag’ because for many people, that’s a reflection of a privileged mindset that doesn’t necessarily apply to them, and has little bearing on the relationship long term.)


LaTisha July 15, 2012 at 10:50 am

I have dated someone who was unemployed. I don’t think it matters that much when you are dating but once you decide to start combining finances then it would have an impact.


MakintheBacon$ August 1, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I dated someone who was employed and I was the one who was unemployed. I told him I was looking for work (which I obviously was). He seemed totally cool with it and insisted on paying for everything. When I quit my full-time job and bounced from one temporary job to the next, my bf was really supportive. To be honest, I’m not sure if I would date someone who was unemployed. I have no problems paying for things. But it would be nice to be treated here and there too.


Kelly G September 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm

My partner is unemployed, and has actually never had a job. We have one child and another on the way, and if I didn’t think he was out there looking for a job every second, he would be gone. I’ve dealt with his unemployment for several years, because we could survive on just my income, but when it was time for him to start seriously searching, he got in gear. The problem we’ve come across now is that he’s been looking for a full month, and nothing’s come up. He’s starting to become discouraged and slack off on the search a bit. I’ve offered to help, having searched for and successfully found several jobs within a month of looking before, but his pride won’t let me assist him. Men.
In any case, I fully support dating someone who’s unemployed if they are the right person for you. But if the time comes and they can’t step up, then they weren’t right for you to begin with.


TTMK September 7, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Kelly – sounds like a tough situation. I do applaud you for taking the approach that dating the right person takes precedence over his or her employment status.


Carrie October 15, 2012 at 10:49 am

I can understand the “red-flags,” or misgivings on dating someone who is unemployed because of the financial bind that person is in. Your bills do not care it they are paid via unemployment check or employer check- that’s how I isolate the financial part from the individual.

I’ve been working office temporary assignments, and receiving unemployment benefits for the past three years, and is a huge reason why I have not dated. I am well-loved by my friends and family- but I am so insecure about my lack of employment that it took a well-meaning friend four months to get me to take a step and create a dating profile. I am afraid of being rejected and judged based on my financial disrepair in dating, so I am slowly taking a step even though it scares me.

I am working right now- an office temp job and it pays so little, I don’t have much money to spend on dates or extra luxuries. People say to get a higher paying office gig to get stable- but that leads more more pigeon-hole’s and lack of progress. I’d rather jump into a new horizon of opportunity than hit wall after wall.

I’m also a writer who is building a portfolio from scratch, a blogger, and trying to start a freelance copywriting service. In addition to this, I am shifting the pigeon-hole of Receptionst/Admin jobs for this field. I am applying for non-profit jobs because I’m deeply passionate about leaving the oil&gas industry and working for a more humanitarian role. Sprout into PR with that non-profit would be a powerful spring-board.


Dennis Teel August 14, 2013 at 9:26 am

I’ve never seen so many people that have money as their number one priority.That’s pathetic.Only in America.Eurpeans aren’t ageist OR so hooked on the money mate as Americans.And i’m an American btw,born and raised in Dallas Texas.I’m disabled via a sleep disorder and as most of you have proven,women here in America are all about the attitude .ie, confirm that he makes a comfortable living ,THEN consider falling in love (afterward).It’s more of a business arrangement than anything.I’m totally disabled,due to a sleep disorder called delayed sleep phase disorder syndrome.While i’m self educated regarding computers and psychology I can’t actively provide either as an occupation,but the knowledge exists.I’m also an ordained Minister and have a degree in Christian Religion.Women that HAVE BEEN attracted to me enough to date me abruptly change their minds when I mention disability and unemployment and the fact I make less than $12000 annually.I don’t hold it against women in general but I just think it’s a shame that women don’t want to even get to know someone merely based on the fact ‘he’ doesn’t work or is umemployed and that they prioritize a man’s worth as a mate or even just a boyfriend on whether he is employed or not.It’s a shame.


eric May 9, 2014 at 2:53 am

The real problem with most claiming they cant find a job is absurb.Mother always said 100 dollars per week is better than 0…… With a terrible economy take minimum wage job & do yourpart to provide. Thats all God expects if your wife pays the rent & you pay th grocery& electricb


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