“You’re away too much”
“You work too much”
“You never have time for me”
“You’re too much for me”
Such are common ends to a potential or ongoing relationship and characteristics of oilfield dating. If you take the number of women I’ve dated and divide by the number of months I’ve been in the field, I go through on average one woman every 2-3 months.
And it usually all begins with the man being away from home. You would think women honour a working ambitious guy, but in reality many cannot handle one and live with the convenience of an easier one with little direction in life and heart.
I was raised to aim for only 1 thing- to climb the social ladder; to be the best, and everything else was only secondary, and through my experiences both in academia and out in the field, they only reinforced this attitude. It helped me overcome the emotional struggles as I realized the better I became, the more there would be out there for me, and the fewer men that could be as good as myself.
The high turnover and less amount of time in life also changes your mentality towards women, especially reducing the amount of patience one has. Previously I used to go on dates without kissing or holding hands; now I rarely will and if there is no chemistry, we usually won’t be seeing each other a second time.
When I was younger, I used to always value my future most beyond all- and never gave love much thought. A direct quote from a blog post I wrote when I was 18:
I don’t want to get in love, I just want to get in that M3.
Throughout my sour, short-lived dating experiences, they only reinforced this idea. When I first started working on the rigs, I just kept my eyes on the prize- to chase the oil money, and while all the other students were busy getting into debt, exams, and bad relationships running each other in the ground, I was to advance continuously. I was just this young guy driving his big pickup around going to the gym in my spare time with a dream up high in his head. By the time the others have figured themselves out, I’d have reached a point so far that they could only dream of even touching. Similarly when I got into trucking, I still fanaticized this idea, and found myself frequently trying to make financial projections to calculate when this dream would come true.
I remember working in one temporary part-time job, I used to get hit on by the girls there- one who would ask me for rides in my BMW, another play with my hair, and another who used to spend some time with me outside work. This was back then at $100/barrel oil when my dream still seemed realistic without the experience of work inconsistency (that even persisted before the collapse in oil) that made “the big money” only a pipe dream. But I didn’t think of them or other women too much. I had some bad dates where I didn’t hear from them again, but it didn’t matter- I just deleted them from my phone and didn’t think of them again. I just wanted to get my Porsche, home, and completed education by the time I was 23. I wanted to be ahead of everyone else. I wanted to grow my body to the best looking ever. I wanted a large diversified portfolio of investments by the time others were just getting themselves sorted out on their 2 feet.
However, with the years passing and more people entering and leaving my life, I have found it increasingly difficult to discipline myself with this mindset. I used to never think about women I previously dated, but now I find myself doing occasionally. When I’m in town on my days off, I find myself getting lonely sometimes. I find myself going on dating sites on my phone. I start thinking whether I’ll end up as the oilfield stereotype of a older man broken by child support and alimony payments and a cheating ex-wife.
There is a beautiful pain that comes with the gaze into a pretty pair of eyes and the warming touch of her hands, and the knowing that they’re eyes you may never see again. Yet, the endurance of this such pain over years is what partly funds a Ferrari.
Now the Ferrari- there’s the other source of my misery, as in 2013 I made a bet- to discontinue my venture in my studies and the white collar world in favour to making fast money in the oilfield, invest it, be ahead of everyone by my 30s, and then use that money to be financially established and comfortable and doing something that normally wouldn’t be possible- having my investment portfolio and business of my dreams. The downside to this bet is I’m dependent on raising enough money to do that, as I am sacrificing love, social life, and sanity, and time that could be otherwise spent gaining experience and skills towards a more sustainable lifestyle. The fall in oil prices has already crippled the outlook, but there is still hope.
In short, my decisions have made my life an “all in or nothing” scenario. Either I make it big, or I perish broken and alone.