Thursday, 6 October 2016

The Pros and Cons of Being a Rig Worker's Wife.

I'm sure most of you know, but I'm currently not in work. There's health reasons for this, and I'm working on those constantly, but that's just how it is right now. My husband is therefore the sole provider for us, working offshore in the oil industry since 2011, and while I'm very grateful for that there are some things about his job that are fairly irritating...

I'll start with the bad parts cause honestly a) it's who I am as a person and b) I'm ill and want to moan.

The Cons.

You can't plan anything in advance.
Blair's shift patterns used to be a lot more stable: two weeks on, two weeks off. In his new job, that's not the case. Unless he has holiday time he can use, I might as well kiss goodbye to that event I wanted to go to. Blair came home at half 9 on Tuesday night, and he had a flight back to work today at 12.30pm. He was home for less than two days. We also had tickets to a comedy show on Sunday that I'll now have to get rid of. This happens a lot; we miss out on a lot of gigs, birthdays, anniversaries and so forth because he can get called away at the last minute. To be honest even taking holiday isn't a guarantee - he's been asked to rearrange his time off to go on a job before. Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful that he is getting work (that oil crash was a real bummer) but it's just irritating that you never know when it's safe to plan things.

He can be gone for weeks at a time.
As I'm sure you're bored of hearing, I have really bad anxiety and find going out alone quite challenging. This isn't ideal when Blair can be gone for up to 21 days. It's also the fact that this is always going to be the case: with most long-distance relationships there's always an end goal of being together permanently. With us, we could have children (lol steady on) that I'd be bringing up alone most of the time. Hell, I could end up having to give birth on my own! It's quite an intimidating prospect for someone who needs a lot of stability and reassurance. Plus I just straight up miss him when he's away.

It's dangerous.
I try not to think about this because when I do it makes me want to lock him in the house and never let him go back to work. It's the career path he chose and he really enjoys it, but it's scary! For a while I felt like I couldn't go a week without hearing a story about another helicopter ditching into the North Sea (if the crash doesn't kill you, the freezing cold water will). He literally sits in a box in the middle of the ocean, constantly at risk of some sort of incident, accident or explosion. And as if that wasn't enough he's occasionally faced having to travel to dangerous places where the risk of kidnapping is so high for oil workers that he'd have an armoured guard from the minute he stepped off the plane. It's hard to sit at home and worry about someone you love being in harm's way, so I have to put it to the back of my mind. It's not fun.

The Pros.

Of course it's not all doom and gloom, in fact there are some really great things about being married to a rig worker...

He gets lots of time off.
When he's home, that's it. Apart from very occasional trips to the office in Aberdeen, he's basically on holiday. Until he gets his next phone call, we can do anything we'd like. This gives us loads of time to go on mini road-trips, or days out in the middle of the week. Obviously the oil price crash wasn't ideal, but it did mean that we had a lot (and I mean a lot, probably too much) of time together. I know that we both feel very lucky to have so much time to ourselves, and I hope we never take that for granted.

It's well paid.
This feels a bit crass to be talking about but it's true. We are in a very fortunate position in which his job can pay to keep a roof over our heads, and I am forever thankful for all the sacrifices he makes for me. Obviously when he is at work he has to give up a lot: he works 12 hour shifts for up to 3 weeks, he has limited luxuries out there (that sounds dramatic, sometimes there's a bloody sauna but you know what I mean!) and he's out there regardless of what goes on at home (no-one's got the £500k to be chartering him a helicopter if something goes wrong on land). So yeah, he gets a decent wage to make up for that. Having seen how many people were affected by that last oil price crash, I feel very aware of how lucky we've had it. 

It's never boring.
Everyone always says that it's crucial to a relationship to have separate interests and hobbies. If you spend too much time together you might get bored, resentful or annoyed with each other. Having a relationship where we spend a considerable amount of time apart is hard, but it also allows you breathing space. We always have stories to tell each other, I get time to sleep like a starfish in the bed alone, and it also gives us time to remember how much we like being a couple. I find that time apart really stops me from taking his presence in my life for granted, and it keeps things exciting - how many people can say they get butterflies when their partner of eight years comes home from work?

So there you have it, the best and worst things about being in a sort-of-long-distance relationship. What about you guys, does your or your partner's job affect your relationship? Let me know in the comments!
Also my husband and three other crazy people will be attempting to row the Atlantic (3000 miles!) for charity, starting in December next year - please follow their efforts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and support them if you can!

You can find the rest of my Blogtober series here. :)

1 comment

  1. A really insightful post, thank you for sharing :)

    Mel ★


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