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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How to deal with partner working FIFO (mines)?

    Related Topic
    My partner and i (22) have been dating for 4 years. We basically do most things together but suddenly he got a job FIFO, working 2 weeks on 1 week off to make things worse though he has to stay up there for another week so he's going to be away for 3 weeks. This is his first time away which we only have been apart from each other for a few days. Even though it only has been 3 days, I'm finding it hard to cope, feeling lost, and not knowing what to do when I wake up. He said he's only going to be up there for at least a year or more but I just keep thinking how am i meant to do this? Its not meant to be this hard! I also don't have many friends and the friends i do have either don't have licenses or a job and i live at least an hour away from them.
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  • 1


    Heidi Smith


    As a psychologist Heidi has experience in relationship counselling, trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, anger management, depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. Heidi is also … View Profile

    Isolation can be hard. As humans we love to be connected to others, maintaining healthy relationships with friends, partners and family is very important for our wellbeing and happiness. Work out a way to keep in touch with your partner each day but be mindful of the additional strain he willl be under as he adjusts to long working hours. Many FIFO men I work with in couple counselling report being too tired to talk by the time they finish work, dinner and head to their room. There is often not much free time on a mine site if working day shifts. Night shifts might give you and your partner more time to connect if you are not employed. The most important thing to work out at the moment is a strategy to build your connections with people, whether that is joining a group online, joining a club nearby, the gym or calling your family regularly. Talking with a counsellor might also be helpful. Do you have one nearby? Many psychologists offer telephone counselling. 

  • Colin Longworth


    Is a Generalist Psychologist, who is able to provide counselling services under Medicare (with a GP referral) as well as Telehealth and Clinical Hypnotherapy. He … View Profile

    Sounds good that you are “reaching out” for help.


    How you deal with the changes related to your partner working FIFO will (I think) to some extent depend on your individual circumstances and that of your partner.


    For example, if you are working yourself this may be a bit of a “distraction”. If you are not, it might mean scheduling your day to ensure you have other tasks to do at particular times. It might mean developing a network of supportive friends via one of the FIFO related websites like  (I.e. meeting other people who may have gone through similar experiences.)


    It may also be worthwhile attending one of the information seminars about FIFO work and relationships held by Relationships Australia to get further ideas.  (See )


    Depending on the telecommunication options at the site, it may be possible to have a regular brief SMS exchange at the start or end of the partner’s shift. Or a brief Skype chat (again depending on the services available on-site and both you and your partner’s degree of comfort using electronic communication) as well as the practicalities of when the work day starts or finishes.


    At a more individual level, you might benefit from exploring with a professional (either in person or via a phone or Skype consultation) what if any underlying issues there may be, that appear to be creating these difficulties for you. 


    Hopefully the above information will be of some assistance.

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