Time for a DIDO relationship spring clean

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Hi! I'm Sarah Long. I arrived in Australia from the UK in early 2010 and met my Mr Miner soon after. We're based in Sydney and he does drive-in, drive-out (or DIDO) to Orange in country NSW. I came out here as part of a six-month backpacking trip around the world, and never went home!

Sometimes with this mining way of life, you’ve just got settled in a routine, everything seems to be bobbing along quite nicely ... and then, bam! Something comes along to make you reconsider everything all over again.

After an uneventful but restful Christmas, we both went back to work to find we had some choices to make. On the same day Mr Miner found out that changes might be happening at the mine, I was offered a promotion in Sydney.

As you can imagine, this led to some serious discussion that we hadn’t expected to have at this point in time, which made us both realise that as well as settling into a routine, we had become a bit complacent in our relationship.

We'd previously had so many challenges in our relationship (due to constantly living apart and my visa application etc) that we really had to work to be together. But over the past year, not only had we gained a routine in the sense of a roster, we had also become routine in the way we communicated and the time we spent together.

Never mind making decisions about our jobs, we needed to make a few decisions about our relationship. A few changes, a spring clean if you will ... (OK, I know it’s not spring, but I’m from the northern hemisphere so please humour me here!)

Four steps to spring clean your relationship

  1. Communication. I like to think of this stage as the deep clean, where you give it all a good scrub and air everything out. Yes, you’ve heard it all before, communication is the key to a good relationship. But it’s not just psycho-babble, we may have been talking nearly every day and seeing each other more than ever, but we’d stopped talking about the important things. It feels a bit cheesy to sit down and have the 'where is this relationship going?' conversation. It’s one of those things you shouldn’t have to do in a perfect world, like not having to ask whether you’re boyfriend/girlfriend yet. Completely cringe-worthy? Yes. But it’s even more awkward if you don’t actually ask the question.
  2. Make a change. OK, stay with me on the 'spring cleaning' analogy. You’ve cleaned the house, the hard work’s done, but it’s time to get rid of the stuff holding you back – like having a garage sale. We both realised that we needed to make some changes if we wanted to be heading in the same direction.
    Interestingly I was talking to a group of girlfriends about this and what I wanted Mr Miner to do, when one asked what I was going to change. It’s very easy to point out the faults in your partner, but much harder to be honest with yourself and identify your own faults.  It’s time I stop being a hoarder and get rid of the bad habits.
  3. Try harder. This is the renovation stage. The house is looking good, but to make it look great that wall could do with painting. We’ve talked, we’ve worked out what we’re going to change, but there are still things we’ve been meaning to do that just never happen. For example, I am going to try harder to give Mr Miner more space when he’s not at work (possibly by going to Bunnings!) rather than cancelling all my plans just because he’s home. In turn he’s going to try to be more communicative and let me know when he wants to do his own thing so that I can plan ahead and not be disappointed.
  4. Reassess. This is the final part to the dodgy spring clean analogy, I promise! The house is clean and it’s looking great, but it’s not like you’re never going to have to clean it again. It’s all well and good to make these plans and promise to change, but soon enough there will be piles of laundry, dirty dishes in the sink and a stack of bills piled in the corner. In the same way I know that at some point we’ll find ourselves falling into the old routine and having the same arguments and we’ll have to reassess.

But for now at least, we have new, bigger decisions to make … and possibly a house to clean!

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