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Home > General > Can a professional pilot have a happy family?
Can a professional pilot have a happy family?
Professional Pilots - General
Tuesday, 02 December 2008 14:39

Hi Captain Lim, 

A great salute to you captain for maintaining this very informative website. 

Captain, can pilots have family? I have heard rumors that pilots have a high rate of divorce cases? Is a pilot's job that busy such that it interrupts one's personal life? 

I once had a neighbor who was a Malaysian-Singaporean and worked for Singapore Airlines. He was a captain. He often travels from Johor Bahru to Changi Airport almost every day. Amazingly, his wife was a flight attendant in Singapore Airlines too. They even had children. But, after 15 years of marriage, they broke up and divorced. I heard that busy schedule kept them apart for most of the time and they misunderstood each other. 

Now, I am aspiring to become an airline pilot. The problem is, can I have family? If 'no' is my answer, I am sure my mother would rage on me because she is a little bit of the 'village' type woman. 

So, Captain Lim - I wonder how a professional pilot like you can maintain a happy life, being truthful and have a family?

Can pilots have family? If they can, when should it be? 

Best Regards,  

Kelvin

Hi Kelvin, 

Read a related answer to a query where I wrote on 20th October 2005, in “Is it true that you won't be able to stay faithful if you are a pilot?” 

 Okay, perhaps I can elaborate some more to what was already written. As you would have read (assuming you had gone through most of my FAQ), I generally paint a good life of a professional pilot. Maybe I was more biased towards this view because I have been lucky to be blessed with a happy family throughout my flying career.  

Now, I will throw some more lights on the general perception of the pilots’ family issue. Yes, many views are expressed. To me, it takes many kind of people to make this world. Some are quite happy to live and know how to tackle the perceived extra-matrimonial issues whilst other pilots’ wives constantly fear the infidelity problem. My answer in the past was that if there is genuine trust on both parties, then you can expect a happy family in that relationship.  

Some say, the flying job destroys the marriage. To an extent, it may be true if your future partner is not warned of the expectation of what an airline job entails. It is also important that she must be independent and understanding. For instance, tell her beforehand that there may be times when you are going to miss some family important events.

Further, she's got to trust you and not suspect that you're going to sleep with every flight attendant you work with. It's hard for most but an understanding woman will make it easier.  

What some wives say of the frequent absence of the pilot from the family? “Well, when he is home for three or four days at a stretch, they are really nice and pretty much make up for the time when he has to be away. The trips away keep things passionate between us!”   

There are however, some frustrations and joys that come with the lifestyle but people never seem to see why plans for time together cannot be made a month or two in advance. They have plenty of notice and can perhaps plan to get off to Paris for shopping in the weekend once in a while!   

What a pilot can do to make life better for the family? Well, if you don’t have any kids yet, bring your wife along with you on long stay overnights as much as possible. Encourage her to use travel benefits to see her friends and family while you away. Let her experience first hand how wonderful and glamorous it is to be an airline pilot’s wife. Keep her happy and encourage her to enjoy the benefits of the airline lifestyle (shopping in Rome, New York, London, etc).

If the job is a purely negative thing in her eyes, then it can affect a happy family.  Another point, always keep in touch. If both have webcams on your laptops, it can make a lot of difference as it allows you all to see each others faces at the end of the day. I used to carry my laptop with me on all my long flights.  

I know its tough sometimes to get back from a long trip and want to do your own things but you really need to make sure you take some time and spend it with your wife. You just have to set appropriate expectations for her right from the start. If one of you can't live with that then that is another obstacle to a happy family.   

So can you have happy family when you become a pilot? Sure you can if your relationship with your partner is strong.

When will it be? Well, when you have enlightened her of the joy, expectations and tribulations of being married to a pilot.

 

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Marriage and pilots
Very good read, Captain Lim.
I also believe that pilots should have a happy family. They could travel, make good money, and have a respectable profession. The difficult part, in my opinion, is when a pilot has just received his pilot license and looks for his first job. These are difficult times because the pay is very low for new pilots.
Mark Bascug , 23 Aug, 2011
I think ur advice...
Ur advice is misleading to say the least! I hv been married to a pilot for 17years- trust was/is never an issue in my case. It's the fact that the wife/mother is home nightly with the kids doing everything while the pilot is seeing the world . Do I sound resentful- good because I am. Single ladies! Do not marry a pilot! You will spend many lonely nights in ur bed! It's hard to hv couple friends bc ur pilot is away and u will always be the 3rd wheel. Let's not forget the kids! It's like being a divorced dad and the kids resent the fact that their dad is gone all the time and misses more than half the events in their life. Do I even need to mention holiday! Being married to a pilot is the biggest mistake of my life-I never wanted to be a single parent and I basically am.
Married to a pilot , 04 Feb, 2012
all pilots chea , Low-rated comment [Show]
you will always feel lonely!
Hi I am not married to a Pilot but always wanted to be one and still do wish to be a pilot. I am married to a my best friend for 7 years with a normal life with husband leaves the house at 9:30 am and returns home from 7:30 pm to 11:30 pm and mostly with office work to finished from home. so even I have spent many night alone. i had a promising career which i gave for our son, does it upsets me? oh hell YES. but its just a sense of responsibility, one of us had to slow down to look after our baby and obviously its not going to be the Husband. Still i am happy because i except it as part of life. husband/wife sleeping with other females/male is possible in any profession not just aviation. its a choice the individual makes. I would always want to have respect for my husband and expect the same from him. And the fact that i have more control over family makes me feel stronger and happy to good extent.
Sarita , 29 Mar, 2012
A much ordinary life like everyone else
Hi, i hv been married to a pilot for 12 yrs. Before the kids came, yes..the wife does worry abt what her hubby is doing overseas. Once the kids came, i barely hv time to worry abt what that might not happen...eg infidelity. Most of my hubby's friends are decent family men, tho in earlier days they liked the attention given to them when girls found out that they are pilots. But u see, the level-headed guys know why these girls like them, as compared to why their wives like them (assuming their wives had met them before they became pilots). When kids come along, the pilots basically stay grounded. They know they come home to lovely kids and wife, and not many men will want to throw that away.

Yes, it is true that pilots' wives super-women (especially those without extended family to help out). We are left so often on our own that we become very independent and efficient smilies/smiley.gif It does feel like single parenting...say many wives. A lot of wives give up their jobs to be the stable force in the kids' lives. A future pilot's wife must be prepared for this and not feel resentful later on, for giving her career, financial standing and become a mere housewife. Actually we are not mere housewives bcos we raise good children, handle the entire family portfolio from the kitchen, kids to the family investments. We also act as PAs to the men. And because of such supportive wives, the men cannot afford to lose this and in turn, be better than best husbands. It works out well for both. It's funny how one goes into a piloting job (or marrying a pilot) thinking it is just another glamour job, and gets transformed into a totally new creature...usually a better one. smilies/smiley.gif
Ginger , 07 Apr, 2012
Wives complain to much
Its not just the woman that stay home mind you! I'm a pilot who gave up a career of being an airline pilot and adopted two kids from Korea. My wife is the breadwinner and I'm the one at home. Quit thinking its just woman. Also, Many men out there to also have wives who are pilots. It takes two to cheat you know. And get off the lie that its only aviation that people cheat. Open your eyes
G , 15 Feb, 2013
Good Overview of Pilot's personal life
Hi captain,
Very Good Info about a pilot's personal life and you said it right "JUST set the right Expectation" at the beginning which would be a milestone in bringing trust in the relationship, infidelity is a matter of concern but you can't point it to only pilots i mean there are business executive air hostesses and so forth who are on trio for 15-20 days. Partner should realize the nature of the job and thus once that is clear then life is simply easy and smooth.

And yes when you have kids and lovely wife waiting for to come back then who d hell would want to ditch those important people in your life ............i guess only an IDIOT would ditch a pretty family. Yes its also about prioritizing things in life which will make it easier
Relationship is a mutual understanding if u have it will last for eternity and if not then it may be similar to the the way Britney Spears had for 24 hrs ........lol .
If you wish to be a Pilot and you have the bug in you of flying then i have a piece of advice for you visit: http://www.qroacker.com/let-me-fly
Vikram Sharma , 21 Mar, 2013
Pilot's Wife
To add to this... I have been a Pilot's wife for over 21 years. The most important matter is that women as well as men need to understand that communication is the key. There is no time to sit and wait for him to call the repair man.... Tighten up and get it together. His(r) career affords one to be home., whether it is a housewife, career woman, etc. Our daughters are 18 and 24 and I must say when he is away.. He is torn up. He has increased guilt when he was unable to be home! Our daughters are self-sufficient and now I look around and say to myself "REALLY". I am almost finished with my degree and I have hobbies, I volunteer, and I have been afforded the opportunity to work or not work.. I am not trying to bash anyone., I am merely saying that while being at home is very challenging.. realize that your apouse is under intense stress too and needs support when he leaves the home and my advice to women or men who's spouse is a pilot, that you provide them a "TO DO LIST". It does work and please do you can to go on a trip with them! I use to yell, complain, and make him feel terrible with guilt, but I found out after I went on a couple of trips when we were first married.,,,, I was so doggone tired doing 4 legs and a short layover, then a red eye... I had so much gas.. (LOL). But really that is just a bit of humor.. I learned to appreciate him the more. TRY THIS: Prepare a sandwich or lunch for him bwfore he leaves on his trip and place a cute note inside regardng how much you apreciate him, even if you don't too, and see what a impression it makes on him.. You have complained and so on... Try something different. I promise you, you will feel better. Keep me posted.. If I can encourage anyone please notidy me @ This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it '> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it GOD BLESS
Reesea Smith , 03 Apr, 2013
ms
i was once gg out with an intern pilot. he disappeared aft a while and then askd me out agn aftr 2 yrs. now he is flying full time, prolly 30 yrs old. im quite confused cos i really like him. but he is agn pulling a false appearance aft being in contact for a month. do these pilots get bored easily n jump frm girl to girl?
noob , 07 Jun, 2013
male centric viewpoint
In your response, Cpt Lim, youre assuming that the pilot is male. Youre also assuming that the wife's only preoccupation would be missing her spouse and worries about infidelity. As a wife of an airline pilot - to me the biggest challenge - is having 2 demanding careers in the house, while taking care of two kids with a partner who is barely home. When both kids were young, they would literally get depressed with every trip my husband took. Every time I would have to work late nights, I would wonder how to accomplish this without someone to care for the kids. Ditto for when the kids were too sick to go to school. In short, the non flying spouse (whether female or male) has to be a single parent (for the most part) and unless the spouse is flying for a big airline, the non flying spouse will also have to be the primary breadwinner.
jm , 15 Aug, 2013
missing the point
Infidelity is NOT the huge issue. The huge issue is that you get married to have a life partner, to have someone to raise the children with and when you go through crisis's alone time after time and you are having to be a single parent when you are married, it is very difficult to not get resentful. When you are a pilot and have children, you are asking your spouse to make a huge sacrifice while you are not making that sacrifice. You are still living the same lifestyle. You are putting an incredible burden on someone else. Being alone and dealing with a sick child, being sick yourself and having to take care of children, not having the reassurance that another adult will be home at some point during the day, when things like drains being clogged and issues with the house and car breaking down and everything that goes 'wrong' in daily life has to be dealt with alone, it is all very difficult in a way that you can't understand until you've been there. I know I sound negative and that people say "this is what you signed up for". However, you don't know how hard it is until you are doing it. If you are a pilot and want a family, I would suggest really thinking about it, and making sure that the woman you are marrying understands as much as possible what this means when you have children, and it would help if you could live somewhere that she had a strong strong support system.
pilot'swife , 03 Sep, 2013
...
Is pilot a good job and busy? I just want to know what's an airline pilot look like...?is there a good salary and I'm deaf and I'm wearing the cochlear implant.So is there a special education to improve my hearing before I become a pilot?can I be a pilot at age of 18 and 19?
Mosaab , 03 Mar, 2014
It's tough!
The pilot carries on with what they love - flying. The partner, carriers on with EVERYTHING else - except any time for themselves. I love my husband - but there are many times that if I could go back in time, I would say no to the first date.
Karen , 19 Apr, 2014
Help.Me.
Hi! My name is Gretchen, Im 21 years old and I have been in love with aviation since I was a little girl. I want to be a pilot. Thats not the problem, my boyfriend is in med school because he wants to be a doctor. He doesnt want me to be a pilot because he believes that we will never be together and that he is scared that something bad could happen to me, and the thought of "his wife being 30,000 feet" scared the life out of him and he "cant live like that" because he will have q "bad performance" on his career as a doctor because of what I want. Im only 21 years old with no children and with my whole life ahead of me and Im so confused about this! Its not fair that I have to give up on my dreams because of that.
Gretchen , 15 Jun, 2014

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