Q&A: I'm angry that my husband is quitting FIFO

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By psychologist Angie Willcocks

I am angry and disappointed about my husband resigning from a well-paid FIFO position in the mines as he can no longer be away from his family. The children and I have worked out a routine while he is away and I resent the fact that he is now taking a considerable cut to his pay and that he will be home all the time. I am upset and angry and not sure if I can live with him full time again, as he's been doing FIFO for quite a while. Selfish you may think. I disagree: to me it’s more about how we’ve become accustomed to living and having to change everything – I desperately need some advice.

Thanks for your email. I’m surprised to hear that your husband resigned from his job without some discussion with you. It is a big decision that will obviously impact on many different areas of your life, and I understand that you feel angry and disappointed.

Did you know that your partner was unhappy? Has this been going on for a while? Have you two tried to address the issues together as a couple? The main factor in making FIFO work for families is making sure that it works as well as possible for everyone in the family, and it doesn’t work well when one person is very unhappy.

I wish I had an easy answer for you, but there seem to be a number of different issues here – more than just the adjustment needed when a FIFO worker becomes residential.

I’m concerned, for example, that you say that you don’t know if you can live with your partner full time again.

I definitely recommend that you and your partner seek some relationship counselling as soon as possible to try to clarify what the issues are and problem solve them if possible. See www.raq.org.au for information on where to get help for relationships.

And finally, here's an article on the topic that might help:

To read other columns written by Angie Willcocks during her six years with Mining Family Matters, please click here. And remember that we offer a free email Q&A service with our psychologists, so just click here to ask a question about relationships, parenting or your career. All advice on Mining Family Matters is for general information only and should never be regarded as a substitute for professional health services or crisis services. To talk with a trained volunteer telephone counsellor at any time of the day or night, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. To contact the info line at beyondblue: national depression initiative, phone 1300 22 4636.

Angie Willcocks is a registered psychologist with a private practice in Adelaide – for details about Skype consultations please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. She’s an expert in tackling issues such as depression, anxiety, postnatal depression, child sleep routines and relationship difficulties. She has a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Psychology and a Masters of Counselling Psychology. She is also the co-author of The Sensible Sleep Solution: a guide to sleep in your baby’s first year, which can be ordered from her website www.angiewillcocks.com.