Mining wives reveal how to keep the sex drive alive

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By MiningFM's regular contributor Brooke Martin

If your partner does FIFO or DIDO, how do you keep the spark alive? For some it's easy - it just works without a hitch. But for others, it’s tough to keep the connections strong when you're coming and going like ships in the night. To give you some ideas on how to stay loved up, let's see how other mining couples work through it...

Tess* from Queensland quite bluntly says her marriage flows much better when her husband works FIFO, four weeks on and two weeks off.  “This is because the distance between us for a whole month sparks the lust all over again when he returns home for a couple of weeks,” she said. They speak on Skype every other day (if daily is not possible) and she keeps him informed on everything that is happening at home and with the kids.  “I send him emails constantly throughout the day as well, even if it’s only a quick note about the car registration coming up soon, just so he feels included in our daily lives.” Tess said.

Rachel* says she is still in love with her husband after 10 years. He does a DIDO roster, five days on and two days off, and they have two kids. She too uses modern technology such as Skype, Facetime and says that the distance between them has never been a problem. But she’s seen plenty of mining couples who don't handle the distance and rosters too well.  “I think if you really want your marriage to work and keep the sex fresh and the spark alive, you will do whatever you can to keep it,” she said. 

Tess and Rachel work hard at maintaining an intimate connection with their husbands and a result still have healthy love lives. Sometimes though, even the strongest, seemingly happiest couples come undone because of the extra stresses of FIFO/DIDO. It would be wrong to suggest otherwise. I personally know of a number of mining couples whose relationships have ended because of one partner's need for sex and intimacy while the other is away (whether it be miner hubby or stay-at-home girlfriend/wife). I have no idea if it's more common in mining than other industries - but surely the extreme rosters and long periods of separation can't help.

So what can we do to keep the love alive? Here are a few suggestions from long-term mining wives:

  • Have a relationship plan: know where you're heading, have a light at the end of the tunnel! Goals, targets and things you want to accomplish together are very important in keeping the connection.
  • Use modern technology to communicate: when you’re away from your partner, you need all the help you can get to stay in touch and reduce the distance. Email, Skype, Viber, Facetime, texting, webcam, take photos of yourself and email to your hubby. 
  • Talk... but listen too: share your feelings, thoughts, peeves on what happened in your day etc.  Men tend to show that they care by rolling up their sleeves and trying to fix their partner’s problems, but this is often misread as an attempt to rush a boring topic along and not discuss it.  It’s not, it’s just how blokes handle things!
  • Have a free day: you might not agree with this one, but have a day or two where you don’t communicate with your partner at all.  It might be a good way to test the strength of your relationship at times and you will miss each other intensely.
  • Be honest: tell your partner what you’re up to during the days and nights while he’s away. Maybe not every little thing you had to eat that day (although some of us in fact do that!) but be honest about who you’re with and what you’re doing.
  • Prevent jealousy: let’s face it, we’re all human. We wonder about the new secretary in our hubby’s office up on site, and he wonders about the new male Grade 2 school teacher that all your friends keep harping on about (you know, the Brad Pitt lookalike?) Sometimes it’s up to us to keep our partner’s minds from wondering while we’re apart and keep trust in the picture.
  • Don’t lose faith: how many times have you heard the following... “I’ve been there, it doesn’t work, FIFO and DIDO relationships just lead to marriage bust-ups and unhappy marriages.” It can work, it all depends on the individuals, how positive you are and how much work you're willing to put into your relationship. 

The spark can be kept alive, no matter how long the swing or distance between mining couples. If you make the most of modern technology and have a really strong desire to make your relationship work, you will succeed. I’ve heard some great stories from friends spicing up their relationships using Skype... not PG rated! But I think that’s a story for another day... 

* Tess and Rachel are real people but their names have been changed to ensure anonymity.

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