Successful marriages require hard work in the best of circumstances. Navigating the stress of shale development in your backyard or neighborhood is too much for many couples. Several I know have not made it.
Those living in fracking sacrifice zones are not the only ones with fractured relationships. The worker’s marriages and relationships also suffer.
A Life That Can Fracture a Relationship
By JOE STEWART
Published: July 11, 2013
Sooner or later, the weeks away from home become too much and the man and woman spit words of fire and tears run down their faces. Sometimes this is the last time the man goes into the oil field, and sometimes it is the last time he goes home. But usually it is somewhere in the middle. None of it adds up as easily as it should.
The article written by a former oilfield worker provides a glimpse into that life–the danger and loneliness.
We have a lot of safety meetings and still this job is many times more dangerous than the average of all industry. We have 80-ton cranes and a mile of hoses pushing grease, water and methanol. There are 2,500 pounds of iron swinging in the air, and explosives being lowered into wells on three miles of cable.
For 14 hours he has done nothing but lift heavy things and run in circles. For 10 days in a row he has thought of pressure control, and detonators and hammers, and also of her, but not of the world she is in or the things that make up her day.
NAME OF FRIEND, I know you’ll understand this one. We have been discussing the divorce rate in our neighborhood, and among friends who live close to drill sites. I will probably miss one or two, but, on our street of just over 35 homes since the onset of drilling we have had the FAMILY, FAMILY-2, FAMILY-3, FAMILY-4, FAMILY-5, FAMILY-6, FAMILY-7, and one FAMILY-8 I can’t remember their name. Not on NAME OF STREET, I know the FAMILY-9 directly across from the NAME OF FACILITY site, and the FAMILY-10. Some of these divorces are ongoing. Many of these are my friends and have been married for years. I know that we have all kinds of other pressures in life, but the psychological challenges added to everyday life, make staying married in the patch even harder. One thing I’ve noticed is the agitation, and how easy it is to become irritated during exposure. As a woman, I tend to become overly emotional during exposure, for no reason whatsoever. It’s a Jekyll and Hyde life never knowing what emotion will show up. It’s a wonder any of us can stay married!
And this was the response from the friend:
The divorce rate has got to be higher. The stress is unbelievable and the combo of chemical exposure just adds to the mix. Very sad.
We know cancer is the leading cause of death in two of the most heavily drilled Barnett Shale counties. It will be interesting to see if someone researches the divorce rates.
I don’t know what category to assign to this post.