The top three issues in mining relationships … and how to overcome them

By psychologist Angie Willcocks

There’s no such thing as a perfect couple or a perfect relationship. All relationships have ups and downs, and in relationships where one partner flies or drives in and out for work, the ups and downs can feel extreme. I know that many FIFO couples love the buzz of seeing each other again after time apart. I’ve heard many couples say that the high of the re-connection makes it all worthwhile. There’s no doubt in my mind that couples like these, who actually enjoy FIFO and all it brings, are those who understand how to manage the tricky parts of the lifestyle. So what are those tricky issues to negotiate? Well, in my opinion they are: communication, how time is spent and sex. I’ve compiled this list of do’s and don’ts from conversations with couples who love FIFO, as well as those who struggle with it.

1. Communication

DO:

DON'T:

And finally, remember that good communication does not mean endless talking about all your problems or difficulties. Good communication is a daily task in a relationship: little things like saying thank you, making a cup of tea, remembering to ask how things are for your partner and being aware of your own relationship behaviours.

2. How time is spent

Lots of FIFO couples argue about how each person spends their time. There are many variations on this: the home partner getting annoyed with how shift change is spent; or how much time is (not) spent with family when he’s home; the away partner annoyed with how often the partner at home is going out; or how much time she spends with her family when he’s at home. There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this, but it’s worth remembering that arguments about how time is spent usually come down to differing priorities.

DO:

DON'T:

3. Sex and intimacy

It’s an issue in many relationships, and sex and intimacy can definitely be affected by FIFO and DIDO. The pressure to squeeze all the loving into a week or so, and differing libidos (common in all long-term relationships) can leave one or both partners feeling disappointed, dissatisfied and disconnected.

DO:

DON'T:

There are my tips for keeping your relationship healthy and happy. Good luck!
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