Supporting a partner through a difficult time can take many forms. No two relationships (nor situations) are equal, and the nuances of needs and wants can shift, especially after such a big life change. However, one consensus regarding relational support is that the best thing you can do is be present.
Practicing presence within a relationship means more than just being in the room. It means you are focused and listening when your partner makes a relationship bid. You show curiosity and care for your partner’s feelings. You ask questions and engage within your family dynamics. Presence is giving your full attention to your relationship and its values in the here and now. It’s ultimate empathy.
Remaining present also means avoiding assumptions. Take time to ask your partner what they need and if they know the best way you can help them. Getting laid off is typically an irregular occurrence and it’s difficult to know the next steps while trying to process feelings. Consent is a powerful tool — when you ask how you can best help your partner, you are also asking permission to do so. While you may think giving your partner “space” is important, it’s also an invaluable gesture to offer support — the kind they want. Many people don’t know how to ask for help, or even recognize what that looks like. Asking “how” you can help can alleviate the stress of navigating an unchartered path.