7 Rules for Healthy Oilfield Relationships

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Thriving, not just surviving, in an oil field relationship

Being an Oilfield wife is not easy. It can be stressful dealing with the difficult schedules of our Oilfield Men.  The following are 7 rules that I believe are necessary to maintain a good relationship while dealing with the pressures of an oilfield marriage.

1. Do not resent your husband for leaving.  Ever.  It is not easy for him.  You are left alone with the all responsibilities, but it’s not like he’s leaving on vacation.  Neither of you have the “easy” job, you are both essentially taking one for the team — so you need to be a team.  Both jobs are equally hard and sacrificial (in different ways).  And the opposite is true, too.  He should never be resentful of you “getting” to stay home…..we know it’s no piece of cake!  If there is resentment on either side, as harsh as this sounds, I would recommend finding a different line of work.  The OF may not be for you. Resentment leads to broken marriages/relationships – and no job is worth that.

2. Accept your emotions. It is OK to be sad when he leaves, EVERY time he leaves.  You never need to act like it’s easy.  It will get easier.  It will become routine.  But it will always be hard, that never changes.  Give some extra cuddles to the kids (or pets, or  whatever your case may be) and just be sad together.

3. You are permitted to stay in your pjs and feed your kids graham crackers and peanut butter for dinner.  This is totally fine…..once (maybe twice) per hitch.  ‘Nuff said.

4. You are allowed to be relieved when your husband leaves.  This doesn’t mean you don’t love him!   It means you’re ready to watch to Downton Abbey instead of ESPN for a bit.  It means you are an independent woman and you’re ready to get back into your routine.   I always feel a little disorganized and behind just about the time my HOM goes back to work – it’s like the vacation is over, so it’s time to get back in gear.  Don’t feel guilty if you feel a slight relief when it’s time for your OFM to go back to work, because you will feel even more relieved when it’s time for him to come home again.  Guaranteed.

5.  Do not leave him out of your daily routine while he’s gone.  Whether it’s a video call, a game of words with friends, an email, or a quick text, you need to stay connected daily, no matter how busy you are. Keep him up to date on the little things – the daily details. My HOM works nights so it can be difficult to find a good time to talk to each other.  During an ideal day (when the internet is cooperating) we video Skype; on the worst days we text…. but we always make contact with each other whenever possible. He can’t go to bed until he’s heard from me to make sure the kids and I are safe. Video skyping (or face time) is a great way to stay in touch, it really helps when the kids can physically see dad while he ‘s gone.  He maintains his role as a part of our everyday life whether he’s here or not.

6.  Support each other.  This sounds obvious, but it’s all too easy take your problems out on one another.  It is going to be stressful when you have to deal with issues and you are not together.  The stress can take its toll, but instead of lashing out at each other or breaking each other down, you need to build each other up.  Stand united.  Remember that even during the difficult times you are working together for the greater good of your family.

7. Make time to unwind. I struggle with this, when things get busy it’s easy to forget about myself. But it’s important to get a pedicure,  take a nap, read a book, or just watch some TV.  Sometimes I completely veg out to FRIENDS re-runs for an hour after the kids are asleep just to give my brain a break. Paint a picture.  Take a walk.  Breathe.  Pray.  Pray for your OFM.  Pray together. Pray for each other.  It’s important to let your mind be still.  Make the time to quiet your thoughts everyday. Let the stress of one day melt away before facing another.

My relationship is not perfect, my HOM is not perfect, and I am far from perfect – but we make it work. Overall, things run smoothly when we both do our part and help each other wherever possible….even if all we can do is tell each other, “Thank you for working so hard” or “I’m proud of you” from 1,000 mi away.

I hope these rules will be helpful for you, too, as we all deal with the stresses the OF throws our way.

About jenna

Jenna has been an oilfield wife for over 12 years. Her Hot Oil Man husband started working in the oilfield a few months before they were married. The oilfield has lead them all the way from Northern CO to Alaska, where they've lived in the Matanuska Valley for 4 years. The family consists of their two children; a strong-willed daughter age 10, and a goofy son age 7. And of course what family would be complete without a couple of dogs and rabbits thrown in the mix. Jenna is a stay at home mom who doesn't “stay at home” much, and enjoys gardening, baking, reading, watching movies, four wheeling, hiking, fishing, and LOVES shopping. Since moving to the last frontier they have also started home schooling, which is another adventure all it’s own.

Comments

  1. Thx for posting this. I’ve been doing this since February, and while we are ok as a couple, it’s so much harder than I imagined. It’s nice to come here and see women I can relate to!

    • I appreciate the support from ROW, too. It’s nice to be surrounded by women that truly understand what each other is going through.

  2. Thank you for this!

    • Your welcome. I hope it was helpful.

      • It was and I will have to remember to read it everyday. Today is only day 3 of him being gone on his first hitch offshore. He’s worked in oil & gas all his life but this is the first for offshore. Of course my nerves are already shot. Lol. I know I’ll stay busy with our 4 boys and housework and my part time job but still…

  3. Needed to read this! We’re on day 10 of my husband’s first hitch. I was great up until yesterday, and have pretty much stayed in my PJs the last two days, frustrated that I’m here with the kids alone. Needed to read this, and I’ll get back on track tomorrow!

  4. I have been doing this for the past 7 yrs. First he worked 2wks on/2wks off, then 1mth on/1month of. But it was on a rig off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago where we live. Since march 2013, he has been working in Saudi Arabia where there is a 7 hour time difference. It has been hard at times but we’re coping, one day at a time.

    • People ask me how I deal with my husband being gone all the time. I’m not really sure how we do it, but we just do it. You just make it work, like you said one day at time!
      Sounds like you are making it work for you! Keep it up. 🙂

  5. brittward says:

    I love this post! We don’t have kids yet and he gets to come home every day but I work out of town full time 12 hour shifts at a hospital that is a 45 min one way trip, and going to nursing school. On a good day I get to kiss him good night as he leaves for work, sometimes I won’t see him for 3+ days since I end up being at work or school. It is hard, but we have been doing it for the past 3 years. It never fails I pray for days off and yes he gets them when It is my weekend rotation or my on call weekend. It takes a lot to be an oil field wife! I thought man I am lucky he gets to come home every night! But he is more tired and I see him way less than if he had 2 weeks on 2 weeks off, he works 7 days a week, his only days off are when the rig is down and that is if another rig doesn’t need him first. Some days I wish he would take an easier job with less hours even if it means less pay, but then I hear him say how much he loves what he does and I just have to say this too shall pass! I know one day I won’t be pulling 18 hour days and I’ll get to be home when he is home. Now if we could just get to those day! But we call, txt, snap chat, anything to just hear each other and see each other for a split second. I just am so glad I work night shift! I can take that 15 min break to talk to him while he is on lunch.

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