Helping Your Partner through a Setback

There are many types of setbacks that can occur in our lives and when an event makes a drastic impact in our partner's life we want to do everything we can to help them through this difficult time.

Setbacks in life can come in many forms:

  • financial setbacks;
  • career setbacks;
  • health setbacks; and
  • personal setbacks that can all cause emotional turmoil in our lives.

As a caring and concerned partner, you should be aware of the issues your loved one is going through and be prepared to help them however you can.


Dealing with a Partner's Financial Setbacks

Whether you're in a relationship with shared assets or have your separate financial identities, a financial setback can impact both partners equally on paper and in person. Events like bankruptcy, business failure, and foreclosure are just a few types of financial setbacks that can distress your partner.

When finances become a burden in your relationship, it's important to understand your own connection to the problem. If your partner is worried about a joint financial issue such as an empty bank account you may need to sit down and talk with them about your mutual spending habits.

For cases where a financial setback is purely on the shoulders of your partner, you can always be there for them.

While you may not be a financial advisor, sometimes all your loved one needs is a sympathetic partner to listen to their concerns. You may also be able to direct them to other resources for professional help with their money problems.

Dealing with a Partner's Career Setbacks

Losing a job can be devastating on a person, especially if it puts them in immediate risk for a financial crisis as well. Job loss can lead to depression, anger, and sometimes even drastic cases of substance abuse and suicide. If unemployment becomes an issue for your partner you'll need to be supportive and sympathetic to avoid a worse case scenario.


Get involved with your partner's job search. Help them locate job resources and prepare for interviews as they seek new work. Offer to discuss the details of their termination and see if they want to talk about why they think they lost their job. You may be able to help them identify work mistakes they can learn to fix or avoid in future careers.

Dealing with a Partner's Health Setbacks

Personal health can be a very emotional matter when a serious diagnosis is made in your loved one's condition. Serious afflictions such as cancer, terminal illnesses, and permanent disabilities can all impact your partner's physical and mental health.

If your partner is facing a troubling health condition you need to be as supportive as possible. Help them learn about their diagnosis and be involved with their medical team when treatments are discussed. In many cases, just being there with them at the doctor's office can provide great comfort.

You may need to make sacrifices yourself when helping a partner through a health setback, but it's important to keep a positive attitude toward your situation. When an ill patient is surrounded by positivity it's more difficult for them to give in to depression, anger and frustration.

Dealing with a Partner's Personal Setbacks

We undergo many endeavors to better our lives, but there are often setbacks in any kind of self-improvement goal. Some of the most common personal setbacks your partner may face come when they attempt to make a major lifestyle change such as quitting smoking or drinking or losing weight.


If your partner is giving up drinking or smoking you should do as much as possible to help them avoid temptation. Consider stopping these habits yourself if you also partake in cigarettes or alcohol - this can help your special someone avoid relapsing. If he or she does resume the habit, be careful not to chastise, but rather remind that person of his or her goal and encourage a return to abstinence.

When your partner is focused on improving his health through a weight loss plan, you should support him all the way. This may mean taking up a diet or exercise plan yourself to show that you're willing to go through the process with him.

In the event of a setback in their weight loss plan, help them get right back on track and remind them of how much better they have been looking since they began the weight loss. Positive reinforcement is a great motivator!

General Tips for Helping Your Partner Deal with Any Setback

Setbacks in life are typically accompanied by feelings of depression, hopelessness, anger and frustration. As a loving companion, you want your partner to return to feeling happy and content as soon as possible, which means you need to be attentive to their emotional needs.

One of the key points in helping your partner through any type of setback is to listen. Let them express themselves to you about their fears, worries, and feelings. You may not have the answers, but you have the ability to just be there to listen and let them vent.


Feelings of worthlessness can be helped by reminding your partner of how special they are to you. Even little things like a loving note on the bathroom mirror or a small gift waiting for them when they return home from work can be a reminder that you love and care for them no matter what.

While you have great power in helping your loved one cope with most setbacks, in some cases it may be necessary for you to bring in additional support.

Gathering friends and family can help remind your partner of all the good you have in your lives and also provide more people for them to turn to for their emotional needs. You should also be prepared to seek professional help for more serious matters when your partner's health or safety is at risk after a life setback.


No matter what the situation, you are often the best person to help your partner through any sort of life setback. Don't shy away from this responsibility - with enough effort and patience you can work together to find a solution to nearly any problem.