A few days ago, TheFlightAttendant.com received a comment that pretty much broke our collective flight attendant heart. Read on, from “John Doe:”
This one sorta got me.
This job is not easy on relationships. In fact, it is effing brutal. It will stretch you to the limit until you feel as if every strand in your relationship is tearing in half. You will be fighting so hard to keep everything together … and then suddenly you are back on the road, again, not even sure if you really taped the pieces back together.
But you keep fighting. And working. And calling home. And having long talks, making sure that you are holding that person’s heart as close as you possibly can, even when you are hundreds or thousands of miles away.
Let me tell you something, John Doe. All your wife is thinking about is you.
She is scared to death of losing you. Not that you are the type to run out and cheat. She’s afraid of the distance, of coming home and not knowing what to talk about. She knows that you won’t necessarily want to hear about her new friends she just worked with, or the awesome pilots — yes, she will go out for drinks with the pilots, and no, a drunken black-out will not happen — or the amazing vacation-like places she goes without you.
Because she now has a life that is separate from yours. And it’s weird. And scary. And sad.
And she doesn’t know how to include you in it, and you don’t know how to be apart of it.
So what do you do?
You talk. You pick up the phone, and even though it hurts your heart, you ask her about her day, her trip, her crew, her pilots. And she will be quiet at first, but then you will hear the excitement that she is holding back, because she is afraid of hurting you. Afraid of admitting that her new, separate life gives her joy.
So as much as it hurts, encourage her to talk about her life on the road. Ask her about her crews, get to know names, realize that these new people in her life are also dealing with relationships back home. They are good people, for the most part, not the enemy.
It’s hard to hear about her new life over the phone. It’s hard to be excited about this exciting, separate place where your wife is mostly happy, but probably also a little scared.
So this is what you’re going to do, John Doe.
You are going to become a part of her new life. You are going to be involved, supportive, excited about it. Learn the airline industry lingo, have her show you how she bids for trips and ask her dorky questions about her manual, TSA, airport codes and everything in-between.
Take some time off work, and non-rev with her on a trip. Get to know her crews, the pilots she works with. Go grab drinks with everyone. Laugh. Smile. Love this amazing woman who is incredible enough to be able to travel the world — and get paid for it.
It’s going to take some work. It’s going to be a big adjustment. But if both of you are supportive of the change, both of you will thrive in this new relationship dynamic.
It’s going to be tough.
But ask yourself this: Is she worth it? Is your love worth it?
Then it looks like you’ve got your work cut out for you, John Doe.