Partner of a Pilot
The Candid Diary of an Airline Pilot’s Girlfriend

More about the good sides to a pilot relationship!

I was recently reading an entry by Plastic Pilot in which he listed me as one of 7 pilot wife/girlfriend blogs that he reads (I am flattered). I was intrigued by a comment made by JULIEN, that read:

Yes, blogs written by pilots’ wifes and girlfriends make for fascinating reading… makes you think twice about flying as a career option!

I was so intrigued, that I was compelled to ask why he made the comment, and he was gracious enough to answer… He wrote this:

Happy to answer. When I said “makes you think twice about flying as a career option”, this was not a comment on the girlfriends or wifes of pilots but rather on the family lifestyle that seems to come with having a professional pilot as a husband.

I’m referring to things such as long and frequent trips away, being jet-lagged and irritable when at home, missing special occasions with your partner and children, having a social schedule that does not match that of the general population, etc. There must be positive sides to it as well, but I have to say that the blogs mentioned above mostly picture the negative side of it.

If I took the decision today to (try to) become a professional pilot, this would mean a major change in lifestyle for my wife and myself (no kids yet) and would not translate into more money. If I was 18 and had just left high school I may decide otherwise, but I’m nearly double that age and have a 9-to-5 job that I like and that pays reasonably well. All other things being equal, I would of course prefer flying an airplane to flying a desk. But given where I am in life I would feel selfish making such a radical career change and inflicting the pilot lifestyle on my family. Hence the “makes me think twice” comment, which was a personal comment based on my circumstances and what I believe my life would look like if I made the change.

I’m looking forward to bloggers who are partners of a pilot to write more about the good sides of it. Apart from the lifestyle, what makes living with a pilot different than with a non-pilot? What do you find in your pilot partner that you did not find before in non-pilots?

So, Julien-this one’s is for you…

  1. My man LOVES what he does so much more than any other man I have ever met; and I just know he wouldn’t be as happy as he is flying in any other job.  I love, respect and admire his passion for what he does.
  2. He had to fight tooth and nail for his career. Beating many other applicants to secure his sponsorship training opportunity, and taking on massive debts to become qualified… His ambition, determination and drive to succeed is an attractive quality to me
  3. Despite the fact that Bf’s trips and time away could be viewed as a negative social impact; I have also come to value this time apart as ‘me time’.  In a ‘normal’ relationship, with a 9-5 guy; I would feel guilty about taking time out to indulge myself in pass-times that he hates, or spend hours chatting to my girlfriends… But I have a free run to indulge myself, watching rubbish on TV, spending hours on the phone or Internet (or in in the bath), or visit far away girlfriends for a few days at a time; without any guilt whatsoever.
  4. In a similar vein, when Bf is away, I can ditch the ‘Domestic Goddess’ routine and be as lazy and un-Goddess-like as I wish! 
  5. The randomness of his roster, also couldbe viewed as a negative aspect; because it can might mean that he misses a few important occasions, and it can mean he works weekends… But on the bright side, he can book-off the really important events like birthdays and anniversaries, as annual leave (which he gets a ton of by the way); and it means that if there is something we can do mid-week together-we avoid the usual queues, hustle-and-bustle and stress of fighting our way through the crowds at weekends!
  6. He gets A LOT more time-off than an average 9-5 guy.  Aside from more time together as a couple than most; in our situation at the moment, he can spend a LOT more time with our tiny daughter in her precious early years; AND we avoid childcare as a result (I am also lucky enough to have chosen a career that allows me to work flexibly around his roster).
  7. Tummy Butterflies – When Bf spends time away, it gives us the opportunity to miss one another.  This is actually one of the most healthy aspects of our relationship, as it helps re-affirm our love for one another constantly! As a result we do not take each other for granted, and are always excited to re-unite after a period of separation… It adds a little fizz to our relationship that keeps it fresh and exciting!
  8. The uniform (enough said)
  9. His career has opened the door to many opportunities for us to travel together to varied and sometimes exotic destinations, where we have made many happy and unforgettable memories that I will cherish forever.
  10. That feeling of extra safety when we’re flying… Not that I have ever been a nervous flyer; but there is something to be said for the comfort I feel knowing that I have my spare with me-if anything should happen to the pilot flying the plane!
  11. Discounted duty free shopping
  12. I know that Bf would never settle for second best, and that makes me feel great about myself too!
  13. Did I mention the uniform?! 😉

I’m sure that I could add to this list, and maybe I shall, just to remind myself on those down days that we all get from time-to-time… I’m sorry if my blog comes across as negative; but let me assure you that I am not a crazy, self-loathing woman who enjoys self-inflicting pain so much that she is in a masochistic relationship. I may bitch and whine on here occasionally, but I wouldn’t have my man any other way (well okay, maybe a little, but not to do with his flying) 😉

Seriously though, I love Bf more than I have the words to express. I have never known anyone else like him, and I’m sure that most pilot girlfriends and wives would say the same. I would rather be with my man for whatever percentage of time his career affords us together, with him as happy and fulfilled as his career makes him, than I would night from 5pm-9am with him less satisfied; because happiness is a two way emotion that infects the people around you! 

Anyone else have any that I missed? Feel free to add to the list in the comments section!


10 Responses to “More about the good sides to a pilot relationship!”

  1. Amen… Sometimes we do get bitchy on our respective blogs, but that is the nature of women. I’m with you that I wouldn’t have my husband any other way, because he is healthy and happy and fulfilled in a way that every “ground” job he’s had doesn’t make him. And relationships are much better when both people are happy. I love my free time too. And I love the reunion when he gets home 🙂

  2. Omg. I LOVE IT! I know that I would not have PilotMan any other way. I know he loves his career and I know he would HATE having a 9-5. He would get bored. And the whole thing about butterflies, well let’s just say he left last night, and already the txting has begun. It makes us excited, anxious, and I know you know it it feels when you kiss one another after a long trip. It’s so romantic, deep and full of passion. And as much as when he is gone why I question why in the hell I got in this situation, or I start feeling like he doesn’t care…that embrace when he gets home, is a wonderful reminder of just how much he cares. I have to hold on to that, or else none of us will make it. I love my free time too, especially since I have a kid to raise, and work where I am able to stay at home with my kid as well! You have to be able to miss one another, the absence does make the heart grow fonder. And as much as I want to bitch about “oh wa wa wa” I think we should have the right to vent some! But that is what is so great about the internet. We have all found support through this. And we all know what we are getting into. But it is nice to have support! GOOD BLOG!

  3. You could maybe sum most of that up with “each to their own”. Well plus “I LOVE uniforms” obviously :).

    I think there are as many things that make relationships tick in this world as there are relationships. I’m a little envious of your though.

    [ All My Comments at ]

  4. I would have to completely agree with your reasons. I love what my husband career choice is, sometimes it is challenging, but not in any other way other careers’ may be. The time apart strengthen are bonds, and the homecoming is one of the MANY blessings, of being married to a pilot.
    This lifestlye is not for everyone-It is only for the strong, independent , woman. But I could never imagine my life style any other way.My husband worked hard to accomplish his dream, he did what most men do not, he made a career out of his passion,he made his dream a reality, and did not settle for anything else- I don’t think of it as “his” career, I think of it as “our” accomplishment, we are more than a married couple, we are partners. For me there is more good than bad being married to a pilot, yes the blogs sometimes are negative, or may appear that way to an outsider, but it you are a pilots wife or girlfriend, you know underneath it all, they are written by some of the most passionate women you will ever meet, and in no way intends to make anyone believe, we are not 100% committed and in love with our pilot!

  5. Thanks for your agreement. Pilotswife, I agree on the ‘our achievement’ comment-well put!

  6. Oh, I too, agree with your list. And man, who can resist that uniform. When you have a happy husband who enjoys his job, I don’t find that he’s irritable when he comes home. Could I force him into a 9-5 job – probably. But I never would. He loves what he’s doing. And along with the bad, we reap many benefits to the good. In my husband’s case, he’s gone for a week or so but then he’s here for a week or so also. We could take a vacation without using his “vacation time”.

    I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  7. thanks so much for all your responses. I am currently dating a guy who is goin through the motions of becoming a pilot… and he has such a powerful passion to fly. i often have looked at the negatives of this career choice, and so it has been so refreshing to see their is highlights and bonuses to us partnering together in this. I agree with a lot of you.. I hate seeing him be bored in his 9-5 job and whenever he talks about flying and being in a jet or even a plane he lights up. You’ve given me more hope for sticking this through even when things have been difficult.

  8. I just wanted to thank you for your blog. I did an internet search to see if others have similar issues to those we experience with hubby as a pilot and found yours. While our situation is obviously different, it does remind me why I fell in love with my pilot in the first place.

    My hubby is a corporate pilot for a very, very, very, very wealthy man. He is at their beck and call, which means plans can never be made, even on special events. He is home more than he was when a charter pilot, yet, now he isn’t given time off as a rule, i.e. vacation, because the family believes he has enough time off. (His time off is spent catching up on sleep, running errands for their plane, and trying to fit in as a hubby/father would if he were a 9-5er. Funny, their family gets to make plans and have family vacations, but we cannot. We cannot afford last minute plane tickets and do not have the benefit of using their aircraft. In fact, we expense every single trip he flies for the family, and the charters in between! By the time the reimbursements come back in, we need it for the next trip. One month alone, cost us $7K, and in today’s credit crunch, the credit card company cut us off, saying it’s “unusual spending” and therefore, all of our extra money is used from one month to the next to cover expenses.

    Hubby being home and jet lagged is awful, because when he’s home we (I) would like it to be quality time, yet it’s not. We have a 9-5 lifestyle because of school and my job, so his being home doesn’t even fit into our lifestyle and sometimes he’s too tired to make it fit. Most times I now look forward for his departure for a few short days at a time, simply to breathe…. and can’t wait for his return so I can get the bills paid. Yeah, the sex is always good on a return home.

    In our few short years together (he’s a widower and I’m divorced) we have gotten to spend 2 weekends together, alone. Even our wedding/honeymoon was spent pleasing the little one and then heading home early because the family he flew changed plans at the last minute. Is he an awful man, nope, he’s just a pilot doing what he loves. He has trouble finding the balance between being a pilot and a hubby and father. I have had to think about my own needs and wonder whether they will ever be met, and believe that relationships are truly about compromise and companionship, so I guess I’m ok with it all. Have I settled, Yes. Why? Because I do love him and find that I love what he does for a living and would never ask him to change it. He loves flying the jet. He wishes he could fly the jet where it needs to go, then come home. He doesn’t even really enjoy the lengthy stays in some of the excotic places, most people would love to be, because he feels guilty he’s away and can’t participate in his family’s life. He wants to be a pilot, as simple as that.

    My two cents: These corporate jet owners need to realize that pilots are human beings and should be treated with the same respect as a 9-5er. Give him a corporate credit card so his family doesn’t have to wonder whether the bills will get paid this month or next and incur all of the late fees associated therewith. Give this man a vacation with his family!

    This is why I have reread your post….. it’s a great reminder of why I’m married to a pilot. Thank you.

    • Oh my goodness Red, that sounds bloody awful! Hopefully when the industry picks up again-he can look for something commercial-the airlines are so much more regulated that it sounds like a piece of cake by comparison!

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