I included the above picture to demonstrate the ways that one individual can be viewed stereotypically by a number of different people and perspectives. How we perceive others is subjective, that is to say that thoughts are not facts.
I often receive emails or blog comments, rants and pleas for help from pilot wives and especially girlfriends in the early stages of a ‘pilot relationship’ asking for my advice or opinion as if I somehow am a guru who holds the solution or truth about pilots… I am not, but I have been in most of their their shoes at some point, and I can offer some comfort I guess, because despite a few bumps in the road along the way, I am still very happy in my relationship.
Yesterday, I received a lovely comment from a new reader called Sinead that read:
O my God, am in love with this page! I have been reading it the past hour and have both laughed and cried! So strange seeing my own feelings and thoughts mirrored! Although my BF is far behind yours, he completed his CPL/ATPL in the U.S and is currently at home in Ireland doing his I.R … I really do hope that i can become more like you in accepting his work.. at times I’m fine and on top of the world.. and other times I am the most insecure person walking(and i’m not generally like that!) really really loved reading this though.. Thanks for the laughs!
Sinead – February 14, 2011 at 6:01 pm
I posted a reply to her under that entry, but thought that others might benefit from it too? So here is pretty much what my response to Sinead said:
I am so glad that you have gained something from reading my blog… There are a heck of a lot of posts to trawl back through as I have been writing for several years now, but if you use the little search box in the right hand margin, you might find posts that are relevant to what you want to read.
Believe me, acceptance is a pathway in this life and not a destination… I still have days where I definitely struggle with Bf’s job, so please don’t let me fool you into thinking I am the Buddha of Pilot’s wives and girlfriends! I think I have just gained a different perspective overall, especially over the past year, that has helped me to put my life with Bf into perspective a little bit more when I do have my ‘moments’.
I think that really only comes with time, experience and trust… For me personally, it has come through suffering 2 significant bereavements, having a strong focus on a new career pathway and actively immersing myself into a course on mindfulness. I have come to the conclusion, that in life, we all have choices. I chose to be with Bf, despite knowing what his chosen career was… He chose to be with me, and continues to do so. I believe that it is because he wants to be with me, because that is what he tells me. Ultimately I have a strength that I own, it is not only because of him that I am successful or happy (although he adds to that of course).
Trust is a major factor in any relationship, but particularly in a pilot one. Initially in a pilot relationship, trust often needs to be given to that pilot before it is properly earned, because without it-the relationship would be doomed… You need to listen to what your gut is telling you, and if your gut tells you that your pilot is a worthy partner-they probably are-so don’t fall victim to people who sow seeds of doubt in your mind (we all have those ‘friends’ who love to plant doubts founded on their own insecurities). However, I do also believe that this ‘given trust’ has to be backed up too-and actually earned over time, and not simply taken for granted by the pilot in the relationship… It is only the actions of the pilot that will substantiate whether you ‘backed the right horse’, not blind faith.
I think that the key to acceptance of his job is understanding what you actually fear, and why, and then working back though your own factors to crystallise whether these fears or doubts are worthy of allowing them to cause fear, doubt and uncertainty in your relationship… For example, is it a fear of flying, infidelity, safety, trust, separation anxiety, etc… Then asking yourself why you have those doubts (e.g is it because a friend implanted a suggestion like ‘dont you worry that…’, is it because of a fear you have always had, is it that you’re bringing baggage into this relationship from a prior one, has he actually given you reason to have concern, etc). From there you can actually move forward and decide whether the relationship is a keeper, and this should help you to know your own mind and to filter out the unhelpful background noise
Ultimately you cannot control everything… One of my favourite quotes by an enlightened author called Rick Hanson is
Recognize that most alarm signals are actually not signals at all: they’re just unpleasant noise, meaningless, like a car alarm that won’t stop blapping. Don’t react to alarms with alarm; don’t be alarmed that you’re alarmed. (Obviously, sort out the alarms worth noticing from the ones you can safely ignore.)
Accept that life will sometimes be, well, alarming. Bad things happen, there are uncertainties, planes do occasionally crash, nice people get hit by drunk drivers. We just have to live with the fact that we can’t dodge all the bullets. When you come to peace with this, you stop trying – out of alarm – to control the things you can’t.
My advice is not to over analyse why he loves you, just accept it when he tells you that he does, because if it were not true-he has the choice to be elsewhere… If you allow uncertainty, fear or doubt to eat you up, then you will probably cease to resemble the person he fell in love with in the first place.
I hope that this helps?