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the struggling fifo wife. The emotional yo-yo of my fifo household.

Community Member

He went back to work yesterday.

When I had work, I am normally too busy to feel this sapping, draining flatness that is dragging me down today... and has been since I was made redundant in august.

you see, I feel like I can't speak out to people about how him working away can take its toll. "Oh I am sure the money will help ease your pain", "don't complain, you have got it good"...... 

But I don't.  I am in a town 300 km from close family and friends. I have previously struggled with depression after years of trauma due to parental drug abuse,  the death of my step brother, and then the crushing pain of watching my mother slowly die for years... until she finally did 5 years ago. I pulled myself put from under the black dog about 2 years back, and have been reasonably happy since. But feeling this way again is just tearing me apart.

I know I should keep busy and active to stave off the bleakness, but this weighty sadness and lethargy settles on my shoulders week on week off... and I can't do anything besides the mere essentials...

I am fiercely financially independent,  and always pay my own way.. and not having an income is wearing me down. I have a job; but no work. I think that is compounding the stress/anxiety/depression weighing on me. 

I have been trying to quit smoking, to institute new routines in my home (never had one and don't know where to start!) Of exercise and healthy eating and productive use of my time.... I have tried therapists to help me learn to change and follow through on new goals.

But I think this fifo lifestyle is not helping. Every week when he leaves, I am flat and lethargic and overcome with sadness for a day or so. The constant changes emotionally is making it hard for me to try and be better, do better, live better.

And now we going to try for a family,  I am terrified I am going to end up like my mum. Terrified I don't have her around, terrified of doing this alone 6 months of the year. Stressed about money,  trying to learn to be a functional adult, trying to learn how to make positive long term lasting life style changes, and every week, I feel like I lose ground. 

 Any other fifo wives or people who can relate to my story, and who share your experiences and what helped you deal with a fifo husband,  and making positive changes for the long term? How did you or are you doing it? 

Note: moving not an option, nor is leaving my marriage. I need to work on me to make this work. 


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9 Replies 9

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi fifowife,

I have no idea what that sort of relationship must be like or the difficulties you face, especially when your partner is away. I do want to offer you some support, though.

I would disagree with you that moving or leaving are not options. An option is merely a choice or a possibility. They are obviously not choices you would prefer and that makes sense.

So you are left with your third option, working on yourself. You need to find what works for you in choosing and maintaining a routine in your home, coping with your loss of independence in the event you cannot find work and managing your life if you choose to start a family.

The one thing you wrote that really leapt out at me was, "But I think this fifo lifestyle is not helping." You are clearly intelligent, articulate and pretty objective from what you've written. It sounds like the fifo lifestyle is the problem. It is the thing that will hold you down even if you could address every single other issue you have mentioned. Your kryptonite.

May I suggest you discuss this with your husband? It seems like you have a choice to keep the fifo lifestyle or not. Whatever choice you make will obviously be preceded by the two of you discussing pro's and con's. You can do all the self improvement you want but if the real issue is that you do not cope when hubby is away, that is what needs attention.

Kind regards, John.

Community Member

Hi fifowife!

 alot of things you said struck me as all too familiar so I hope my post helps 

 i am a fifo worker from the east coast working in wa , I just moved from a 4/1 to a 3/1  (weeks on/week off) Im married with a 2 yr old boy , 

 calling home after a 12 hour shift I was always excited to talk to my wife but sometimes I didn't get her on the phone , I'd get a screaming mess , stressed to the max and tearing me a new one , so I'd let her go to bed (2 hours difference ) and I'd go to the gym pissed off that  she isn't greatfull for me working away , one day I was pestering her to let me buy something trivial and she burst out in tears and asked if we could spend the money on getting her help instead , I had absolutely no idea she was struggling and it shocked me  basically i try to be supportive but o had no idea I wasn't being so let him know if you can ! 

 i hate the attitude that miners families  should stop whinging I missed my sons first steps, my wife's birthday my birthday , Australia day and Easter this year alone and it was 47 degrees today , my wife wakes up at 5 everyday and has to do all the chores herself with no support and you still can't have a cuddle at the end of a bad day 

 fifo can't be a career , get an exit strategy or a goal , if you can still see the positive clearly you will be ok if not get out , any problems you have fifo will magnify , 


there has never been a real get rich scheme , FIFO is no different

Community Member

I feel your pain.

My fiancé isn't a fifo worker, but he does work interstate working on shops, in the last three months I have seen him two weeks and not together. 

I go into this state of moping until he comes back, it makes me feel like a horrible mother and even my job isn't enough to distract me. All I want to do is be with him. 

I constantly accuse him of cheating which I no he isn't but it's always on my mind. He said he will never change his job, it's all he knows. 

  I'm also in a new town moved into the home that he owns, I don't know anyone and  away from my support network, I really feel for the women that have to support there husbands being away,

Community Member

Hi Fifo wife

 i am new to doing this fifo thing and I completely feel what your going through. 

I feel like the first couple of swings were ok but now they are unbearable. My other half is gone for a month at a time, I get so anxious I get migraines for days I can't sleep and my moods are constantly down in the dumps. I have 2 children and worry how my mental state is affecting them but I feel completely isolated and alone. 

 I'm hoping as time goes on I get more used to the roster and I cope better with it because currently I'm a basket case. Angry one minute sobbing the next. It's a hard life of which you can't complain to others about because the standard answer is well you're getting paid well for it you knew what you were signing on for. 

 hope it gets better for you too. 


Hi FifoWife,

i was wondering how you're coping now?

I am also going through something similar, I am not a wife nor do we have children but we are in a serious relationship.

I feel like I have hit rock bottom, I have lost my job a few months ago- and spend most my time alone. I seek company of my family but it is not the same as having my partner there to give me emotional support or affection.

His 4-6 weeks on and 2 weeks off is his rotation based remotely in NSW and I am in Perth WA- I'm 34 his 36, when I met him he didn't do FIFO so we got to spend a lot of time together and fell in love.

It's been nearly 12 months since working in exploration and it's killing me slowly, I am now an emotional mess, with anxiety over our relationship- questioning our relationship.

I just wondered how you are coping now and are you still together?

So... i tried to respond... not knowing if anyone is still reading this thread.

But apparently theres a word count on how much you're allowed to hurt

But thank you for telling me im not crazy!

Fifo sux

Community Member
So I cant figure out how to start a new thread. So I'm just hoping someone is listening. Hubby is FIFO, I have been a songle mum a long time... circumstances of pregnancies were pretty crap to say the least. I waited til I was 42 to commit to someone... my cycle changed... we now have 3-4 shots a year at having a baby together... with a gap of 8 months between this shots. It's just not on the cards for me... sad face

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member
Dear HomeAlone,

I just saw your new post and wanted to help if I can.

I've only ever posted a new thread twice, so I'm not totally familiar, but I think this is it:

- see there are 3 tabs All Posts / New Posts /Your Threads (or something similar)

- go to All Posts

- choose a section, in your case maybe anxiety , relationships & family issues.

- once you choose the section, see near the top there is a "New Thread" button in maybe dark blue? Press that and then go for your life.