Family Man in the Oilfield

Family Man in the Oilfield

The family life in the oil patch is harder then you would think. The divorce rate is sky high amongst frackers and drillers, and there is no question as to why...
by Gypsy Lyn  |   Monday, September 09, 2013
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The family life in the oil patch is harder then you would think.  The divorce rate is sky high amongst frackers and drillers, and there is no question as to why.  Time takes its toll on families in the oil industry, since so many families spend a majority of their time apart.  To be a family man in the field takes a lot of cahunas, as some would say. In the argument that being a oil wife is the hardest job of all, I have to wonder where the family man places in the ranking of whose job is harder.

I have spent the past twelve years sending my husband off on hitch, never really knowing when he will return.  Every time praying that he does return. I have watched him pack his truck and wave as he leaves the driveway with a tear in his eye.  Of course, I follow his example and break down into an emotional mess, more or less, thinking of the tormented emotions that he feels when leaving.  It never seems to matter how far apart we are, or how often the hitches come, the transition between family and work never seems to ease. 

The family man in the oilfield misses everything.  Not just holidays and birthdays, he misses first steps, first soccer goals, and first dates.  He misses opportunities to visit grandparents, always knowing that every visit could be his last with their growing age.  The family man misses countless sermons at church, and numerous football parties with his buddies.  He is not around most nights to tuck in his babies, or dry his wives lonely tears, and on his hitch nights, he only longs to hold his wife and hear his children's calmed sleeping breath.  His heart is spent with his oldest boy, who is out throwing a touchdown in his hometown, yet his body is drilling holes in the earth a hundred miles away.  His days are occupied by a second family, one he loves dearly, yet is not the same... his brothers in oil.  To say he misses everything, is almost an understatement.

I am an oilfield wife, and I know how hard it is to keep a family and raise kids with my husband hundreds of miles away.  I understand when a woman complains of lonely sleepless nights and the trials of potty training alone.  However, in my heart of hearts, I am grateful for having the ability to be there for that first successful “tinkle in the toity.”  I am grateful that my husband works so hard to provide for our family, and that he sacrifices everything to make sure we get what we need.  Every time I have the opportunity to see my daughter go to a high school dance, attend a family reunion, or visit with my friends, I am grateful.  These are moments my husband doesn't have and that he can never get back.  So you have to ask the question, where does the family man sit on the scale of whose job is hardest?

Granted there is never a competition, and in a good oilfield marriage, both husband and wife can recognize the value of their counterpart.  We both make sacrafices for the ultimate goal of financial independence that comes from a hard earned living.  Recognizing the heartache, and putting value to the selflessness that each one makes, is a necessity to finding success as an oilfield family in the patch.

Recognizing the heartache, and putting value to the selflessness that each one makes, is a necessity to finding success...

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Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of RigHands. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.
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Allan Hansen | Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Absolutely spot on, with all you say. I work 200 miles of of the coast of Scotland in the North Sea, no one who works onshore knows what we go through, so we soldier on, and in the end it is all worth it. I love my job, my family know it, and i love them also, and miss them dearly, my faith keeps me at peace, life goes on and the money is good but the time off is the best - 2 on 3 off.
Cody Baker | Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Very true, lost my wife from being an oilman.......
Lynda | Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Well said! A different perspective.
Stephanie Huggins | Wednesday, September 11, 2013
I agree 100%!!! I love my frac hand husband w/ all my heart. I'm not going anywhere. Here to stay and take care of him as he does for us. He is the heart and soul of this family. Through thick and thin, we will be strong for our children and survive until the end.
Mushtaq | Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Very true. Great.
adam | Wednesday, September 11, 2013
I think this is the song coming from a small violin. We all make our own choices so deal with it. The man in this case chose the money in the oil field and in doing so chose to give up other things. The wife chose to marry him.

Everyone makes sacrifices and some out of our control, but this isn't a scenario that is out of their control. I'm guessing the high divorce rate is more related to the people that choose to spend money on foolish things and it causes grief at home - not the hours.
John Hodges | Wednesday, September 11, 2013
I just went through a devorice .I've been a roughneck for 20 years really thought my relationship with my wife was good.But walked through the door last days off a got slammed with a devorice.Now of course got to work 45 days just to get back on my feet.I just walked away .I can't blame her I guess .
Patrick Valdez | Wednesday, September 11, 2013
I live in Colorado and I fly to Alaska every 2 weeks,winters are brutal but I work my butt off for my family.I have come to realize In life, our time is our most valuable asset!We are men who sacrifice those priceless,precious moments so we can give our families a life they deserve through blood,sweat ,and tears!Keep them prayers coming,and keep those candles burning!
Lindsay Robbins | Thursday, September 12, 2013
I am an oilfield wife, and I couldn't have said it any better. Thank you.
Maria | Thursday, September 12, 2013
Beautiful and very true my father, my husband and my boys all work in the oilfield. My husband is working in ND right now and it's tough. He's missing firsts for his grandchildren now too.
Paula | Thursday, September 12, 2013
If there is that soul mate kinda love and commitment then working in the oil patch is a way of life that makes a family man who he is!! However, I can guarantee you right now there is no such thing!!I have worked pipelining, camp jobs etc and I have seen what men do!! All of them too!!Men are dogs. Sure they work hard and provide for their family when away for months but 90% of them end up having a beer, socializing and being unfaithful.
Paula | Thursday, September 12, 2013
Oh, and the other side of the coin is us women have to raise the kids alone...Be there and have the both parent responsibilities but..but..Having 2 grand a week to have our hair, nails, gym expenses, clothes paid for is a benefit. So, us gals know our men are having their fun but fuck it....We totally enjoy our kept lives...I personally love it!! I know the truth but don't give a shit!! Now post this truth about oil patch men and it is the truth!!
Christine | Thursday, September 12, 2013
I get how horrible it is to live apart, since my husband is in the Nat'l Guard and deployed to Iraq. The thing that I am disgusted by is that your husbands make 5 times what my husband made fighting for this country. The $$$ is why you all are willing to endure this. Your husbands can choose to get other jobs if wanted, but would get paid don't act like a martyr when you are doing it solely for the $. No one is benefited by the oil companies except those working for them...
Phil Roger | Saturday, September 14, 2013
Adam - you're an idiot!
Sirbruda | Saturday, September 14, 2013
So true, couldn't say it any better. I'm not a driller but I work in the oil field doing seismic work and I'm gone months at a time. So I feel everything you saying. Bless and respect for everyone in the oil field
Tricia | Monday, September 16, 2013
We are an oilfield family and couldn't be said any better. It's a hard life to live but you have to be strong and be there for one another.
mandy | Monday, September 16, 2013
My husband has been in the oilfield all his life. he has been with his present company around nine years, and I have been there from tongs, to motors, to derrick hand. He is presently drilling, and as a drillers wife i can say it is very rough on both sides of the marriage. I used to believe it was tougher on the wife, but as I got older I began to realize the husband has it worse. He not only looks out for his family at home he also has his oilfield family to look out for and keep safe.
Tabathe Harrison | Tuesday, September 17, 2013
I have just began to work offshore myself and on the second night I was gone I called my husband who also works offshore but was at home at the time and told him that I had a new found respect for him and what he has done for the last 35 years. I have been married to him only 6 yrs and it has been hard to see him go each time but the tables were turned this time and I think we both learned something. We both found it hard.
beth | Tuesday, September 17, 2013
I am a oilfeild wife i know how hard it is.....he misses so much with our daughter and it is so hard going through it alone but i have manged to do it. My husband leaves tomorrow and could be gone for almost 2 weeks and it is going to be so hard but i know i have family that will stand behind me and help me in my time of need....thank u for shareing this i understand what it takes to be a "oilfeild wife"
Miranda | Tuesday, September 17, 2013
I appreciate the sacrifice your husband has made for his country. But to say the only people who benefit are the oil companies and their employees? I guess you don't drive, ride a bus, fly in a plane etc. I'm assuming your Amish? And FYI your hubby needs oilmen to do his job too! I am not an oil wife btw.
Laura | Friday, September 20, 2013
Christine,are you aware the US military is the biggest consumer of oil in the world?Also these: and Kevlar that keeps your husband safe,the uniform he wears,the boots on his feet,the carbon fiber armor,jets,and humvees that shield him all made from oil and it's derivatives.Look up everything you use everyday made from oil and then tell me no one benefits from it!
Brian | Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Oh Christine......the things you do not know????? The things I would like to say....this site will not allow.
louis' polk | Wednesday, October 23, 2013
I've missed b-days,Christmas's, proms,B- All and f-ballbgames, anniversaries, and more. But I always make up for them. Only promises I made were I'd be other to watch my kids graduate and walk my daughters down the aisle(if they planned it for my days off)
I've been the guy Paula speaks of.......not proud of it, but now I'm just here to make the best living I can for my family.Men change so do women and women aren't innocent by any stretch(mine was) I've seen good men wrecked by a trifling woman
Ashraf Pasha | Sunday, October 27, 2013
Agreed. Thanks for sharing hearts touching truth. I am a geologist and work about 900kms from home and bad thing is have no schedule. Winter is always very hard in Alberta, Canada and risky as well. Money is something but not everything esp; when you have family with School going kids.
Jennifer | Sunday, December 01, 2013
I think the divorce rate may also have to do with how men in the oilfield spend there time when they are not working and out of town. I live in an oil town and know many men with a girl on the side. Not saying all, but a high rate of them do. I agree with the person saying its a choice to have the money over all these moments with there family. There are many jobs out there. Boo Hoo
Genie Stocks | Tuesday, December 03, 2013
I worked in the oil patch for almost 7 years as a medic. I was a single mother as well. It certainly was difficult to be away from my children so that I could provide for them (after all, the 9-5 jobs back home were not enough money to provide even the basics for them). It has been difficult as I have talked to the men and see how much they also missed their family. It is definitely tough on both sides of the fence.
Nnael | Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Im literally scared to get into a relationship with a man who works like this. All I hear is stories about men who cheat around on their wives because they drink to much and loose control.. or just dont care because its hard to prove.
Simon | Tuesday, December 03, 2013
We all are in charge of our destiny and how we choose to support ourselves. We ALL make sacrifices everyday to make ends meet, not just oilfield workers. Yes, oilfeild workers work hard, damn hard, but so do I, and Jack next to me, and Jill down the road. World's smallest violen is correct Adam.
Keeping you warm at night | Saturday, December 07, 2013
I'd say that anyone who disagrees with this and thinks its all for the money, it's a lifestyle choice and we're all dogs should shut their heat off at night and freeze to death!!!! Without us out there busting our balls you wouldn't have any of you're fancy luxuries that you have at home, fuel for your vehicles or, for the majority heat for your home or power. Next time you want to drop a comment just stop and think what my time away from my family provides for you!!!! Stay warm!!! ;)
jesse | Saturday, December 07, 2013
Adam.... your a dumb ass. You obviously dont have a family or even gainfull employment. R
Audrey | Sunday, December 08, 2013
I too am a oil field wife of 13 years, and my husband has been a Driller in Canada for more than 20 years. Our relationship is what I used to read about in Romance Novels. We believe it to be perfect. The 2 weeks away is very hard for both of us, but the one week at home.............Awesome!! To "Paula".....Perhaps if your husband came home to a happy, excited, loving wife and not a demanding crabby selfish wife ie;YOU, he would be truly faithful and loving and just damn happy to be home!!!
Dallas | Sunday, December 08, 2013
What I don't understand is why does it sound like every oil patch worker is 'away'. My husband is a rig manager and is home every night. There is the odd time it's slow around here and he goes away for a couple weeks. I am an oilfield wife and have been lied to, cheated on, and am living a dual parent. But as time goes on and men grow up, it gets better. I love how much passion he has for his job. Although I am letting him go to Oman to work overseas. I work full time, and I'm disabled, crazy?
Charmaine | Sunday, December 08, 2013
I don't believe this article intended to make anyone defensive. If my husband was a police officer, I would wonder when he was going to make it home. My husband is 10 hours away and I have no idea when he's coming home. And yes we do it for the money. We are expecting baby #7 and I homeschool our kids. It's the best way for us to afford the big family we love. It's not as easy as taking a lower paying job.
jamie | Sunday, December 08, 2013
Adam _ you seem to have it all figured out, its just that easy eh. Your a moron! Takes a real men to do what we do. You wouldnt know the half of it.
Wendy Johnson | Monday, December 09, 2013
Wow, this is so true. I'm not a oilfield wife but I have a cousin that was one. Horribly their marriage did not last and the children have gotten used to it. They are grown now and they totally understand the toll it takes on a family, they tried to keep the family together but at least they are all still friends and the kids love their dad. What a touching story this was, thank you
jami | Monday, December 09, 2013
I've been a single mom. I'm now an oilfield wife. I often joke that being an oilfield wife is just like being a single mom, only the pay is better. My husband doesn't go off-shore, but he is usually at least 150 miles away & on 12 hr shifts when he is gone. He has no set schedule. He's usually gone for about 30+ days at a time. I worked when we first got together, but with kids, dogs, a house & a yard to take care of all on my own, it was impossible to juggle. I thank God for facetime!
The Oilfield | Monday, December 09, 2013
Well folks, this is a well written piece. While the things she speaks of are true, there is something that we must all keep in mind- The men and women that protect the rights and freedoms of this great nation sacrifice on a much greater scale than the boys and girls of the oilfield…and for far less money. The oilfield is hard, the military is much, much harder. This is not a competition because in this great country, we need both- But choice is an option in the oilfield… not in the military!
ken vb | Monday, December 09, 2013
been there,done that, now stay home and surviive on 1/4 the oilpatch money, but home every night.
Lee | Monday, December 09, 2013
It gets in your blood and bones. It's a proud man's job and way of life. My life is a perfect example of the good and bad of it. The lucky ones come out of it as strong men with strong women at their side. The feeling with your crew that you do things that other men can't. When it's 30 above or below. When you know other men would walk away. When you are so sore and spent. That's what I've always loved and missed when I didn't have it.
Georgie | Tuesday, December 10, 2013
My dad worked in the oilfields all his life. I say hats off to all parties. It takes a special kind of person who can either be the person leaving or the parent that is staying home. When my dad came home he always made sure that he gave us quality time. It was hard on my mom being both parents when my dad was gone but she did a fantastic job in raising us 5 kids. The company that my dad worked for gave family men Christmas off and single men got New Years off. It worked great.
dennis bueckert | Tuesday, December 10, 2013
My nephew is a patch man in northern Alberta, and is about to become a first time daddy. I really hope he can be there to see the birth of his 1st born. His lady is an awesome gal and he is one of the best. I'm sure they are both strong enough to survive this life, what with the love and support of family and friends.
Pepper | Tuesday, December 10, 2013
To the naysayer, Adam. I say to you, you're not man enough for this kind of life and are probably jealous. I hear guys around here ask my husband for a job all the time but when he tells them the hours they say never mind because they don't want to work that hard. It's tough raising a large, blended family. It takes this kind of money and sacrifice to make it today. We don't always like it but it's what we have to do. Better than sitting on our laurels and waiting for the govt to take care of us
Linda McCaffrey | Tuesday, December 10, 2013
I totally agree with all of the above and just wish that my man would see things the same way. Best of luck and love to all of you couples that can make this work. I have been trying for 3 1/2 years but not sure that the other side of our picture is on the same page. God Bless you all and have a very Merry Christmas!
Martina | Wednesday, December 11, 2013
This blog and the comments make me sad. Why would so many couples choose money over family? I don't understand it. Isn't it better to be poor and be together? Is there no jobs available closer to home, albeit for less money? There are so many choices. Maybe for some there is no other choice?
My husband has been without work. But when I read through all this I am so glad he didn't accept the faraway position and that we waited and prayed for a job close by.
Arin | Thursday, December 12, 2013
For some men it runs in their blood. My husband worked there before I even met him. It came with the territory. Though he is far away and every statement above is true. It tests your marriage in more ways than you could ever think of!!! But I have to say, I could never see it ruining my marriage because at the end of that hitch I am so ready to have him in my arms!
Bartolo Guevara Jr | Friday, December 13, 2013
Shannon | Friday, December 13, 2013
Well said... Very well said...
Jeff Dooks | Sunday, June 15, 2014
Everyone has different situations.... But I'm a oilfield worker I left 7 years ago to of a hitch and I've just finally made it back for a visit. A lot of us workers have to travel to work to support our lives and family's. Reading this article made a lot of sense to me so you have to respect all members of family and friends of the oilfield worker.
Erin | Wednesday, June 18, 2014
So very true... My husband is divorced and missed all the growing up of his kids and regrets everyday in the patch... but the patch is what gave his kids cloths food and a house. My son-inlaw is in the patch.... he is gone 3-4 weeks at a time and has 2 boys that are 3 and 9... they miss him dearly and cry at night for him to come home. We have many friends that have made it or failed at the relationship family aspect of being in the patch.
Oilfield families are one of a kind ... tough!!
jazmin | Tuesday, December 16, 2014
I'm not married with an oil field worker. But I have sympathy for the wives. I do have a neighbor who works in the oil field. His away 3 weeks and off 3 weeks. I feel sorry for him. Thank god his single.
Goodyear az | Thursday, December 25, 2014
I have read all the comments here. One comments said "90% MOST THE MEN ARE UN FAITH FULL TO THERE WIVES DRINKING AND SOCIALIZING. What happens if they catch something from other women and give the bad stuff to the wife. That's not so good. Then, comments says she doesn't give a "s--t if her husband is unfaithful. I will be honest with all you wives who has husband in the oilfield. I say you women are strong. As long he doesn't bring any bad diseases when he gets home. God bless to all.
alli | Tuesday, March 14, 2017
I am in a similar position except we don't need that money to survive as I have a very good job. I work 50+ hours a week take care of the kids 14-9, 2 dogs, keep up the house, take kids to this practice that practice, feed and clothe them, pay all the bills, deal with car issues, contractors for house etc... I am not even allowed to talk to him about any issues because it upsets and stresses him out. He tells me my life is so easy I don't know what it is like.. help me
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