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Emma Hadley

Feeling isolated and lonely in Perth

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Posted (edited)

I moved to Perth just over two years ago and just wondered how people go with being away from friends and family etc. I have a good life here, I have a job, amazing work colleagues who I see outside of work and consider friends, other friends, a good network and a lovely life style. I've joined various Meetups and have become a yes person to try and make new friends. However, I find myself struggling because although I have a good network of lovely friends, they're just not my BEST friends from back home. I know these kinds of friendships do take time but sometimes I just feel so lonely and feel as though something is missing from my life. My fiancé works FIFO and I struggle with this a lot. I have made my own life here in Perth but still find it hard with him being away and feeling isolated. Sometimes I feel so homesick I feel as though I want to move home but I know deep down that I don't really want that. I even went to see a counsellor yesterday to try and chat through my feelings as I feel I am starting to resent my fiancé for bringing me to Perth and then 'leaving me to go and work away'. I just wondered how people overcome these feelings of isolation and loneliness? I keep busy, I have hobbies as well as doing things for myself, like going for walks alone, but also with friends sometimes as well. I feel like I've run at opportunities with my arms open to meet people and make friends but still feel this overwhelming sense of loneliness. I feel like I do belong in Perth and feel like it is my home now. That was clear when the counsellor asked what I saw myself doing in twelve months time. When I finished describing what I hoped my life would look like, he asked where it was I saw all that happening.. The UK or Australia? I of course had envisioned the whole thing in Perth so that was a good sign for me. I don't want to move home but find it so incredibly hard being away. I imagine people do feel the same, just wondering how you deal with it? 

Side note: we have a cat and he really is my companion, so nice not to feel so lonely in the house, it's amazing how pets can do wonders for your mental health. 

Thanks so much for any advice. 

Edited by Emma Hadley

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I felt 'people sick' for a little while when we moved, I hadn't had a massive social network in the UK, but as you say, friends whose relationship with me/us had developed over time.  Well, done for going to see a counsellor - it can help put things into perspective and it seems that it's done that for you in some respects.

I think one of the problems for you is that your partner is FIFO - you don't mention what the swing is, but I know from friends that this can be difficult and they've described almost having 2 lives - one when their husband is away and the other when they're back.  They've all said that their partner being back causes some difficulties as they've developed more routines.

It sounds like you've developed a good friendship network - perhaps look at developing some of those relationships a little more - doing couple things when your partner is back with a few of them … in time, some of them may become your best friends.  What makes best friends tends to be the history we share.  Additionally, invite some of your friends over for a holiday.

 


I just want PIO to be a happy place where people are nice to each other and unicorns poop rainbows

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Thanks Ali, 'people sick' is such a good way of describing the feeling! You're so right about feeling like you have two lives when your partner is a FIFO worker. The counsellor said the same thing yesterday actually. When he does come back, I do feel like it disrupts my routine and he solely wants to see me, which is fair enough but we have friends who would love to see him when he's home too! And you're right again when you say that our best friends are the history we share. I guess I should just allow over time for those friendships to develop into stronger bonds. One rule I am trying to live by lately is to be kind to myself and I think it applies here in that I'm doing all I can and it may just take a little time. It's not all going to fall into place overnight. 

You and the counsellor have helped me to hopefully see things from a different perspective. Thank you! 

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Perth is isolated.  I’ve never understood the attraction,’when moving to an already isolated country.  If your partner is a FIFO worker then I guess a move East is out?

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1 hour ago, Bulya said:

Perth is isolated.  I’ve never understood the attraction,’when moving to an already isolated country.  If your partner is a FIFO worker then I guess a move East is out?

Some of us who live here don't find it isolated at all.  Just because you don't understand the attraction, doesn't mean that there isn't one.  You've picked up on key words without reading the context - the OP doesn't want to 'move east' and has said they like their life here, their isolation isn't geographical but emotional.

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I just want PIO to be a happy place where people are nice to each other and unicorns poop rainbows

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2 hours ago, Emma Hadley said:

Thanks Ali, 'people sick' is such a good way of describing the feeling! You're so right about feeling like you have two lives when your partner is a FIFO worker. The counsellor said the same thing yesterday actually. When he does come back, I do feel like it disrupts my routine and he solely wants to see me, which is fair enough but we have friends who would love to see him when he's home too! And you're right again when you say that our best friends are the history we share. I guess I should just allow over time for those friendships to develop into stronger bonds. One rule I am trying to live by lately is to be kind to myself and I think it applies here in that I'm doing all I can and it may just take a little time. It's not all going to fall into place overnight. 

You and the counsellor have helped me to hopefully see things from a different perspective. Thank you! 

No problem - drop me a line any time if you want to sound things out.


I just want PIO to be a happy place where people are nice to each other and unicorns poop rainbows

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Well, it'll either get better or it won't I guess. It sounds like you're doing all  the right things and its good that you've taken yourself off to see a counselor but in my experience you'll probably never have those connections that you had "back home" - friendships formed over times of developmental angst stand the test of time better I think. It might help if you don't consciously try and replace those mates with new "best" ones but just resign yourself to having acquaintances and if perchance one of them happens to stick as a friend then you've won but otherwise pride yourself on your independence and self sufficiency.  

The thing to watch out for though is what do you do if it never fails into place? If after all the "lovely lifestyle" you're still empty inside? At what point do you say enough! And move on.

Don't let yourself go  past  that point of no return so that you find yourself continually empty and resentful - it can happen I assure you. For a couple of decades my head told me that Australia was home and like everyone else I spouted the usual platitudes "great place to bring up kids", "lovely lifestyle", "good jobs", "great opportunities" - all the usual ones that keep getting trotted out - but my stupid heart never got with the plan so that after 32 years in Australia I was clinically depressed with exogenous depression because I was in the wrong place amid the wrong people and no amount of papering over the cracks was going to make it better . If you'd have asked me back at the beginning (40 years ago at the end of this month eek!) I would never in a million years have imagined that happening. So, my one caution would be not to make any irrevocable decisions (I don't know if children feature in your future but they're  the number 1 irrevocable) until you're 100% sure that Australia is where you want to grow old and die because once you  have them (kids!) you will be trapped and nothing feeds that feeling of empty displacement like being trapped where you don't belong.

Look after yourself!!! Good luck.

 

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Emma, do you think it's Perth or the FIFO working that it the main issue? Clearly, if you guys as a couple move 10k miles away, then he is working away all the time, it isn't going to be easy. I couldn't do it.

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23 hours ago, Bulya said:

Perth is isolated.  I’ve never understood the attraction,’when moving to an already isolated country.  If your partner is a FIFO worker then I guess a move East is out?

She could move East and feel exactly the same in any City with her hubby working FIFO. Perth is not the problem.

Loneliest I've ever felt was working in London Mon - Fri whilst we lived in Manchester. Company put me in nice digs in Teddington and paid for everything but hardly anyone spoke or had a chat down there. My workmates retreated back to their shared house to watch videos. Their money went on rent. I went to Teddington lock pub most nights just to pass the time.

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5 hours ago, Paul1Perth said:

She could move East and feel exactly the same in any City with her hubby working FIFO. Perth is not the problem.

Loneliest I've ever felt was working in London Mon - Fri whilst we lived in Manchester. Company put me in nice digs in Teddington and paid for everything but hardly anyone spoke or had a chat down there. My workmates retreated back to their shared house to watch videos. Their money went on rent. I went to Teddington lock pub most nights just to pass the time.

I can think of worse places to pass the time, but as you say it is no fun being away all week every week.

 

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PR (100) granted 12 Nov 2018, validation Trip Feb 2019, planning to move to Perth Sep-Oct 2019!

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18 hours ago, Jon the Hat said:

I can think of worse places to pass the time, but as you say it is no fun being away all week every week.

 

Yep,Teddington lock pub was nice. They played a lot of Pink Floyd and the beer garden was great. Would have been a lot nicer if I had a drinking buddy.

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Worked in fifo,for 3 and a half years ,and don’t wish this on my worst enemy, it’ was very hard for my wife and me to, it wouldn’t be as hard if you were born here I guess in Perth with lots of family members and friends around you, to help the other half cope ,but if you are a new migrant with no family or a hand full of friends yes it can be totally  mind blowing, and very lonely for wife,me personally wouldn’t do this again I would rather pack up and go home to  doing fifo ever again, money’s not everything, family and being with my kids is my better option even though I’m skint lol  but hope everything turns out good for u godbless

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9 hours ago, Kevo said:

Worked in fifo,for 3 and a half years ,and don’t wish this on my worst enemy, it’ was very hard for my wife and me to, it wouldn’t be as hard if you were born here I guess in Perth with lots of family members and friends around you, to help the other half cope ,but if you are a new migrant with no family or a hand full of friends yes it can be totally  mind blowing, and very lonely for wife,me personally wouldn’t do this again I would rather pack up and go home to  doing fifo ever again, money’s not everything, family and being with my kids is my better option even though I’m skint lol  but hope everything turns out good for u godbless

We lived in Perth for about 3 years.  A recession hit so we moved to Sydney and never looked back.  Husband wasn't fifo in Perth so guess that made a difference.  We were happy there and our two sons were born in Perth.  Every city in Australia is different.  We now lead a quiet, content life in Tasmania since we retired.

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I wouldn't sign up for FIFO either; I see little enough of my family now with a 3 hour round trip commute.  I am looking for a <30 minute commute!


PR (100) granted 12 Nov 2018, validation Trip Feb 2019, planning to move to Perth Sep-Oct 2019!

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I don't think relationships with Perth people are necessarily shallow, although many people experience that.

Maybe more to you not having history with them.

In the UK most of my friendships are superficial. My best friend is my wife, and I haven't had a best friend since leaving Perth.

Do you mix mainly with Australians or expat Brits?

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On 08/05/2019 at 17:35, newjez said:

In Perth?

Yes.


PR (100) granted 12 Nov 2018, validation Trip Feb 2019, planning to move to Perth Sep-Oct 2019!

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19 hours ago, newjez said:

Perth is getting busier.

Yes indeed, certainly busier than when I was there last.  I am looking at Applecross / Ardross / Mount Pleasant - Bus and train into the City underground in about 25 mins.  Plus a bit of walking either end.  To be honest halving my 1hr 30m bus, train commute into central london would be an result, but I like the idea of being able to cycle into work as well.


PR (100) granted 12 Nov 2018, validation Trip Feb 2019, planning to move to Perth Sep-Oct 2019!

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37 minutes ago, Jon the Hat said:

Yes indeed, certainly busier than when I was there last.  I am looking at Applecross / Ardross / Mount Pleasant - Bus and train into the City underground in about 25 mins.  Plus a bit of walking either end.  To be honest halving my 1hr 30m bus, train commute into central london would be an result, but I like the idea of being able to cycle into work as well.

If you can afford applecross it's a nice area. Bike paths along the river. You could probably ride it as fast as any other mode of transport.

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10 minutes ago, newjez said:

If you can afford applecross it's a nice area. Bike paths along the river. You could probably ride it as fast as any other mode of transport.

My wife is actually from Applecross and went to the primary school,  it is bloody expensive though, so we will be in a smaller property if we do stay there.  Gets a bit cheaper in Mount Pleasant, Ardross etc.


PR (100) granted 12 Nov 2018, validation Trip Feb 2019, planning to move to Perth Sep-Oct 2019!

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