Fly In Fly Out Lifestyle – Suggestions for Keeping your Relationship alive

Fly In Fly Out Lifestyle – Suggestions for Keeping your Relationship alive

If you have just started a FIFO/DIDO lifestyle, here are some suggestions that will help keep your relationship as healthy as possible:

Suggestions for Keeping your Relationship alive

1. Have Specific Joint Goals. Discuss your commitment to the FIFO/DIDO decision and state and even write down your specific joint goals. Ensure that both of you can see the value in this decision and you both agree on the benefits and goals you will be gaining.

Consider whether it might work best for your family to undertake this type of work for a set period of time (eg two years) in order to achieve a specific financial goal ie deposit for a house, pay out the mortgage. It doesn’t suit everyone to continue this type of arrangement indefinitely.

2. Your Connection and Communication. This is vitally important, as your connection and communication is the lifeblood of your relationship. Discuss how you will keep the connection and communication going between you while you are away. This can be by phone, email, sending photos, agreeing to watch the same videos, or read the same books, writing notes and leaving them for each other. If at all possible, find a way to connect on a daily basis.

3. Talk about any problems early. Each time you are together, talk about what is working and what is not working for each of you, so that you can resolve any problems early, and they don’t build over time.

Acknowledge the difficulties the FIFO lifestyle presents for both of you. The at-home person may have to cope alone but the away person may be feeling distressed by their inability to comfort and support in times of crisis. Try as much as possible  not to lay blame on each other, as many of the problems are common to this lifestyle and need to be dealt with together as a couple.

4. Make your reunions enjoyable. When you haven’t seen your spouse for some time, let him/her see your enthusiasm for him/her.

5. Date Night. Plan a Date night during your time at home so that your partner knows you cherish him/her and your relationship.

6. Be considerate of each other in the little ways you know your partner likes, eg bring him a beer, or buy her some flowers or chocolates when you are at home together. Often these little things make a huge difference to feeling loved and special to your partner.

7. Bedroom nights. At least once a week when you are home together, make it an early night in bed, to just relax together, give each massages and loving touching and whatever else eventuates.

8. Your own time. Make sure you each get some time to yourself while you’re both together to be able to relax or do the things you like for yourself. A relationship has more fire if you have some freedom to also do your own thing.

9. Socialising. Be mindful not to book too many social or extended family activities during your time at home, as it can take away from your primary family time.

10. Jobs to do. Agree at the beginning of your time together on what jobs will be done this time, so that you both have the same expectations. Make it a realistic list that allows for these other important aspects of your time together as well.

11. Managing Jealousy. It is common to feel some jealously at times for either of you, as you are both spending more time interacting with others than with each other, while at the same time, still consider each other as your primary emotional partner. This can lead to fears about what might be going on when absent from each other. It is important to talk about your fears, as fears, rather than accusations, so that you and your partner can talk through these and you can be reassured.

12. Kids. Make sure you talk with them when Dad is away about how they are feeling, and that it is ok to miss him. It can also be helpful to ask what in particular they would like to do with Dad when next he is home, and accommodate some of these things when all together again. It is also important for Dad to spend some quality time with each of the kids, if at all possible, when he can.

13. Parenting. Even though it will be the Mum’s primary role in parenting in a FIFO lifestyle, discuss what is allowable, what are the rules, and what will be the discipline with the kids, so that it feels like a joint decision. Then, early once you are home again, have an update on kids and parenting issues, so Dad is up to speed as soon as he returns.

14. Keep yourself happy at home. If you are the one at home, make sure you make opportunities to get out and do things you enjoy too, including a hobby, so that your partner doesn’t feel like he is pressured to provide all the fun when he gets home.

 15. Continue to evaluate. Continue to evaluate whether this is still the best arrangement for the two of you and your kids if you have them. A lot will depend on the length of the swing and how well you are managing to communicate. Don’t be afraid to say “no more” if you feel you, your kids or your relationship is suffering too much. It is important to pro-actively choose this lifestyle together.

Let us help you to Keep your Relationship alive

For more specific help in resolving any problems you might have with adjusting to a FIFO or DIDO lifestyle, our Relationship Psychologists Australia wide are experienced with the challenges inherent in the FIFO lifestyle and can help with In-person or phone or Skype sessions.

We find Skype sessions are particularly popular with FIFO workers and their spouses, as you can access them from anywhere in Australia.

More on having rich relationships as well as a successful business in next weeks blog.

Keeping your Relationship alive

Julie Hart & Mary-Anne Wallace

FIFO and DIDO – How does it impact your relationship?

“Fly In Fly Out” and “Drive In Drive Out” has become a popular way of working in Australia, particularly in  the mining industry.

With a high income and financial freedom being the biggest advantage of these jobs, there are also challenges on the personal and the relationship front to such a lifestyle.

Let’s face it, with long periods away from your spouse and children, FIFO and DIDO can be difficult on your relationships.

While many say there are advantages of increased quality time with each other when you are all home together,(and often during the week, so you can avoid the crowds at the weekend), often other problems can be great, and do require an extra commitment to your relationship and your communication.

Common problems of FIFO and DIDO lifestyle:

For both of you and your relationship:

– Keeping the connection going between you both, despite very little communication while on the job

– Adjusting to being together again, after having such a different lifestyle while apart

– Managing your time when you are home together, and trying to “make up for” and squeeze so many things in

– Resisting urges to connect to other members of the opposite sex for companionship that can lead to more over time

 

For the FIFO/DIDO worker:

– Missing your family and also important family events while at work

– Managing your loneliness and depression while in the job

– Managing the common “black day” just as you leave to return to work

– Managing the pressure you may feel from family members to be there and interact when you come home tired

– Re-establishing your role and place at home when you are only there periodically

– Having to face “the list” of jobs to do when you arrive back home.

 

For the spouse:

– Having to function as a solo parent for long periods without help, and the exhaustion that comes with that

– Having to adapt to complete changes of routines, and sharing the power when your partner is home

– Managing anxiety and jealousy while your partner is away for long periods

 

For the children:

– Having to cope without seeing Dad for long periods

In particular, the first few months of a FIFO/DIDO lifestyle can be particularly difficult, as you both adjust to the new radically different arrangement.

How much communication is possible between you by phone and email does make a large difference.

Some suggestions to make FIFO and DIDO lifestyle easier

If you have just started a FIFO/DIDO lifestyle, I suggest that you do the following:

1. Discuss your commitment to the FIFO/DIDO decision and state and even write down your specific joint goals. Ensure that both of you can see the value in this decision and you both agree on the benefits and goals you will be gaining.

Consider whether it might work best for your family to undertake this type of work for a set period of time (eg two years) in order to achieve a specific financial goal ie  deposit for a house, pay out the mortgage. It doesn’t suit everyone to continue this type of arrangement indefinitely

2.   Discuss how you will keep the connection and communication going between you. This can be by phone, email, sending photos, agreeing to watch the same videos, or read the   same books, writing notes and leaving them for each other.

Acknowledge the difficulties it presents for both. The at-home person may have to cope alone but the away person may be feeling distressed by their inability to comfort and support in times of crisis.

3. Each time you are together, talk about what is working and what is not working for each of you, so that you can resolve any problems early, and they don’t build over time.

FIFO and DIDO lifestyle – Let us Help you

Continue to evaluate whether this is still the best arrangement for the two of you and your kids if you have them. A lot will depend on the length of the swing.

Most importantly…..don’t get seduced by the money. Yes, it is a financially rewarding lifestyle but is it one that really suits you? Don’t be afraid to say no if you feel you, your kids or your relationship is going to suffer, as no amount of money is worth being unhappy.

For more specific help in resolving any problems you might have with adjusting to a FIFO or DIDO lifestyle, our Relationship Psychologists Australia wide can help with In-person or phone or Skype sessions.

We find Skype sessions are particularly popular with FIFO workers and their spouses, as you can access them from anywhere in Australia.

More on what things can help when you are living the FIFO and DIDO lifestyle.

FIFO and DIDO lifestyle

Julie Hart and Maryann Wallace