How offshore work affects couple relationships

Sometimes our jobs require us to work away from home for long periods of times. Some people, including oil rig workers and members of the Royal Navy, can spend weeks or months working offshore or abroad.

In the weeks or days leading up to the next offshore shift, the partner who is left behind can feel increasingly worried about how these long periods of separation will affect the relationship.

My army boyfriend will be deployed abroad in August. I'm afraid he might not come back, that he might come back not wanting me, or I just might not be able to wait for him at all.

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Both partners can get lonely during these times apart.

My boyfriend got lonely in the beginning and he still does. It’s easier for me as being offshore is so artificial that it doesn't seem like I'm away for long. We keep in touch with each other on a daily basis via online text messaging, and we Skype quite regularly. We met online so this method just feels natural for us.

Jenny, oil rig worker from Edinburgh

Reunions can be just as hard as parting. Being reunited can lead to arguments about how to spend the time together.

I spend two weeks offshore and two weeks at home. When I get back we argue a lot about how clean the house is. I don’t always want to get straight into housework after working solid for two weeks without a day off. But when I do start cleaning, my girlfriend complains because she says that I should be spending my time with her.

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Despite initial tensions, many couples manage to make the most of the time they have together.

When I get back home, we love going to dinner and movies. I drive him to and from University – we do pretty much everything together to maximise the time we have.

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