One of the biggest issues in oilfield marriages (or at least in mine) is the continual adapting. The back and forth between single parent/dual parent, single parent/dual parent. It’s a huge cycle of being independent, then back to co-dependent, back to independent, back to co-dependent… It’s hard for both parents to know their positions when they’re constantly changing.
It’s hard for my Hot Oil Man to feel like he has a place when he comes home and everything is running smoothly. Without him. He doesn’t know where to fit in. As tough as I’m sure that is for him – and I feel for him, and I sympathize – I will not feel bad or apologize for doing my job well. It’s hard for me to maintain everything, but I do it. I take care of the house, yard, kids, meals, bills, school, pets, problems, etc. Everything. I do it all while he is gone, and yes I can feel angry sometimes when it seems like more than I can handle. But I always handle it. There’s no other choice! Every time I pull together and accomplish something I didn’t think I could do, I become a little more independent and self-reliant. I can’t help that. Because of it, my husband probably feels a little less needed each time he comes home.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel. While I’m sure this issue has caused many marriages to fail, I have faith ours won’t. We work together. We talk it out. We love each other. We are a team. We give each other space to figure it out. He lets me do things my way, and I try to involve him more when he’s here. He needs to make the effort to fit in, and I need to share the driver’s seat. It is a work-in-progress. We’re not perfect. We argue sometimes. But being aware of the situation is most beneficial. We could communicate better I’m sure, but we do alright. We are very open and honest with each other. Of course there’s room for improvement, but we’re committed and we know that we’re going to stick together even when the going gets tough.
Resentment can ruin marriages. I try not to resent my husband for not being here, and in turn he needs to not resent me for being self-sufficient. The most important thing I need to remember is – it’s hard for him to feel like he belongs when everything keeps going when he’s gone. He misses out on a lot of things while he’s at work. He needs to make the effort to pay attention and be involved even when he’s not physically here, and I need to proactively include him. The one thing he needs to work on the most is remembering I shoulder the entire weight of the world while he’s gone. I’m on my own. I rely on myself. I don’t do it by choice, but I have a system and everything gets done. I keep going. Life keeps going. He’s proud that I can handle it and that I’m strong. But because of that, I have become very independent and I don’t always “need” him.
That doesn’t mean I don’t want him.
Our family isn’t complete until the four of us are together, where we belong.
Even when it’s difficult.