View Full Version : Why do so many Pilots Marriages end up on the Rocks?

Celtic Emerald
14th Nov 2002, 18:26
The topic came up recently among friends of mine & I quoted the usual 'Alot of pilots marraiges seem to break up' line. Now I am asking why & what could be done to stop this hamorraging.

I could see a number of reasons why it may be so: Possibly

1) The fact that there away from home alot.
1) The temptations when there lonely in faraway stopovers and the availability of attractive women.
3) Possibly the altitude ain't the only thing that has gone to the heads, is there ego causing problems? (lord knows you see enough of it on these pages).

To me the whole subject seems like a paradox, here is an occupation filled with loads of virile & in the main straight men, well travelled, intelligent, educated, with good jobs, high stautus, well paid, secure and with good propects. Normally women would die for a man like that so why is it that when so many women have them hooked they drop them hook, line & sinker.

Or is it something deeper? I realise that this may be a painful subject for some people & I am in no way trying to belittle it or them.

It would be interesting to hear from people on both sides of the equation because in the case that came up briefly with my friends an innocent party in all this, one of the children ended up getting deeply hurt.

I also think it's important to remember that alot of the situations & talents were given in life are a matter of luck not because we're the sun, moon & stars & think the world should revolve around us. That way of thinking should have stopped once the soother came out of the mouth. Where we're born, what family we're born into, whether we're of rich, poor, black, white, intelligent stock etc is purely a matter of luck as is many of the opportunites, genes, intelligence & talents that are passed onto us. Maybe if people kept this in perspective, their ego could be kept in check & they'd be alot happier in their relationships!


14th Nov 2002, 18:37
Bearing in mind that in the UK one in three marriages fail
I don't think that marriages to aircrew are in any way different in their success rates.

Anthony Carn
14th Nov 2002, 19:05
Flying for a living, be it long or short haul, plays havoc with ones life.

Jet lag (long haul) or frequent general tiredness (irregular hours/earlies/lates on short haul) leave one feeling half the person one normally is. Tempers are easily frayed. It is difficult to fit in with normal social/family/school hours. Personally, my digestive/disposal system suffers, too.

Being frequently away from home is bad for any relationship for the reasons you've already stated.

The job itself can be immensly stressful and frustrating. I find that the pressure cooker blows during my time off, because I can't afford, for safety's sake, to let it blow at work.

Love flying as such, but doing it as a job is as per the above.

Probably varies a lot from company to company, but only guessing.

Apologies to the wannabees, just being honest !

Bengt Engel
14th Nov 2002, 19:46
ever heard of AIDS?

Aviation Induced Divorce Syndrome....

14th Nov 2002, 19:56
I am married to an expat Captain, all the other wives I know are all married to long haul Captains. There are very few divorced/remarried couples. In fact everyone we know are happy and settled people. Only divorced people I know are ones who are not involved in aviation!

14th Nov 2002, 20:44
Distance makes the heart grow fonder.

Two lives are better than one.

Do female long haul pilots divorce at the same rate as their male collegues?

14th Nov 2002, 21:57
My wife of many many years only gets anti when I am on leave or serious short haul / simulator. I am sure she has a private line to rostering... But I enjoy long trips - I think

I takes all types I guess.


14th Nov 2002, 22:32
Celtic - You missed one!

Pilot away a lot = wife plays around!

14th Nov 2002, 22:48
So how many do end up in divorce?

50% of all marriages in NA end in divorce these days.

Pilot rate higher?

I can't remember my mum and dad ever having an argument between themselves.

15th Nov 2002, 00:02
It's a pretty sad indictment really on things in general. I guess these days, a lot of people want 'instant fixes' to problems, and when they're not forthcoming, they take divorce as the 'easy' solution...and lots of people these days focus on themselves and their own wants/needs rather than the relationship as a whole, and those of their partner. Of course, you might have married selfish b**tard who will never think of anyone other than themselves!! Maybe I'm being too simplistic.

CE, I don't think there is any one answer to any divorce. The long hours that pilots devote to their jobs is mirrored in many other occupations - eg medicine, and that includes the vagaries of shift work/on call also. Shift work does terrible things to people (you don't want to see me after a series of late/earlies, I can assure you!) So, I doubt it's limited to aviation. Someone needs to find the stats on divorce in general, and then look at it from an occupation point of view.

In the situation you quoted, CE, you only present one side also. There are always two sides.


Sultan Ismail
15th Nov 2002, 01:12
Successful people are in the minority, they consist of doctors, lawyers and pilots.

To achieve success you set a goal and take the steps to achieve it Throughout your career, there will always be goals, and the satisfaction of achieving them.

In a relationship, lust is uppermost, the reason you take a women out is because you want to [email protected] her. This may lead to marriage, and the so-called free [email protected], but time will take its toll, the object of your desire withers before your eyes, the lust is no longer there, where's the sense of achievemnt in [email protected] an old boot. The ralationship cannot maintain the challenge and sense of achievement obtained in one's professional career.

The higher up the ladder of success, the higher the divorce rate, when the lady leaves she takes the spoils, its worth the fight, the materialistic results of the successful mans career.

Not trying to be sexist, successful business women, including those in aviation will experience the same problems.

The mistake IMHO is that the successfulful spouse loses sight of the true priorities in life, maintaining a happy and secure home, whilst living in a secure, well paid and stimulating industry.

Been there, done that....

15th Nov 2002, 01:53
Successful people are in the minority, they consist of doctors, lawyers and pilots.


Please explain.


Kaptin M
15th Nov 2002, 09:02
Have to tend to agree with Blue Eagle, Celtic............don't always look to the pilot for the reason.
The cause of many marriage break-ups is IN FACT, the woman. :eek:

Men love to look at porn, ogle at short, short skirts, and sexy waistlines - maybe even "shoot off a round" as a pressure relief. But overall, men [in general] don't "fall in love" when they have 5ex.
Women [in general] DO!!

Like the family's pet dog, [most] men will ALWAYS return home to home, kids, and wife (in that order) after having "sniffed around" for a week or so, finding comfort in the 3 things he can proudly call "His".

But women HATE (other) women!

The scent or suspicion that "her man" has even been in the PRESENCE of another cat........sorry, women immediately raises ALL the heckles - inside & out - of her jealousy.

But enough from an obvious chauvanistic, male pig.

So many xxxxxxxxxx, and so little time :D

15th Nov 2002, 10:13
In my opinion it is the being apart a lot which is the cause of many breakups. Especially for the longhaul crew (frequent stopovers=being apart longer).
A marriage can take that if both parties make an effort. For the pilot it needs a good dose of sensitivity that leaving your partner behind should not actually come accross that way.
Also returning as if the world has not moved on for your partner as well and that she has has not been subjected to changing world around her is outright stupid. The pilot is not the only person who has seen and done things while you were not together. In some relationships he/she might have the most 'interesting' job but should not act as if the world revolves around him/her.
Actually, there are too many aspects to it than this forum can do justice.
Lets try and say it this way:
The job asks for flexibility in relationship from BOTH SIDES.
Once one side looses that out of sight, trouble starts.

Iwish it on no-one as getting back from that point (if that is what you want) is horribly difficult.

You want it when?
15th Nov 2002, 15:41
Oh ******, I thought I was successful, good job, loads of cash, nice wife and lovely family.

But no - I'm not a Doctor, or a Lawyer and nor am I a pilot. I think your rules for success need to be reviewed Sultan! :p

Anthony Carn
15th Nov 2002, 18:03
IFTB raises a very important point.

Because of the nature of a pilot's job, a relationship which is in trouble is considerably more difficult to rescue than in most other occupations.

15th Nov 2002, 19:11
Cran would you not agree that the opposite is also true though?
Being away for a while smoothes over the day to day niggling irritations?
You sort of forget why you were annoyed with eachother and are both able to start anew?
At least that's often the way it works for us here at 40Towers. :)

Wee Ali
16th Nov 2002, 17:25
Blimey, I'm a doctor AND a pilot..Lucky ol' me, eh??
Would also rather be hung by my toenails & shot than have anything to do with 'Holy Matrimony',quite frankly..
As a doctor I'm 3 times more likely to divorce anyway; having a flying qualification must increase this to about 6 times. As a female I have a 30% chance of being physically abused by my partner,a 60% chance of being cheated on & can expect to have to do 70% more housework should I marry. A positive way to live one's life? I don't bloody think so!
If I ever become so sad & desperate for social acceptability, I would like to be considered for euthanasia, thanks.
And if all interactions with the opposite sex are really no more than '[email protected]', totally disregarding all chemistry, affection, loyalty & human decency, then I'd rather be single for a thousand years !
While I've got my ranting hat on, am I the only person on the planet who is utterly sick to the back teeth of those who quote garbage tabloid anthropology & offensively stupid generalisations as a means of justifying selfish, damaging & amoral behaviour ?
We are not really THAT 'hormonal', 'instinctively driven' or any of that crap. We make the choice. If I've done naughty things with naughty boys in the past it's because I made a conscious cerebral decision to do so & that is it! Does no-one believe in having a conscience ,morals or intelligent reasoning these days ?? Maybe THAT'S why the divorce rate is the way it is.

16th Nov 2002, 17:48
Looking at some of the posts here, I think the reasons may be that men simply have a very strange take on the way women think.

We have to accept that we view the world from a very different view point from men but I certainly don't view it in the way some of you here may think I do.

Perhaps men and women were simply not meant to be monogamous that may explain the way many act.

Ultimately I agree with flaps , I think abscence makes the heartstrings grow fonder if you are in a good relationship. If you are not the relationship will fail anyway .

16th Nov 2002, 21:38
Wee Ali, you're wonderful! A bit of common sense from someone at last.

Some of you guys are living in Victorian times. Not all women want to marry successful men with money. Some of us make our own, thank you very much, and some of us would rather stay single. The one thing we won't do is put up with the **** some of our mothers and grandmothers did. What is so great about marriages staying together? In the past, many only did for financial reasons, or because divorce was so difficult. All that caused was misery. The increased divorce rate is a definite improvement on its alternatives.

So why don't some of you get real, get out more and meet some real women, and above all, drag yourselves into the 21st century. Because I can't believe the old-fashioned traditionalist crap I'm reading here. And I don't think I'm alone.

Rant over; when I calm down I might be able to explain the above in words of one syllable. Because I expect some of you need me to.

16th Nov 2002, 23:30
Have another look at it.
If 1 out of 3 marriages fail, doesn't that mean 2 out of 3 succeed?
Why do we always look for the negatives?

Wee Ali, love it.

drop bags bar
17th Nov 2002, 00:07
Not sure about anybody else's story but being very recently divorced I can tell you how mine ended up on the rocks. I'm a younger pilot was married for four years. I have always been a corporate pilot, lots of nights away three continents in seven days that sort of stuff. About a year back I left that line of work to fly for a charter opr on a small commuter.... thing is this aircraft came with a flight attendant, being a small company... me, the F/o and the F/A, a tight knit team. I've always been friends with my fellow pilot maybe comes from flying with the same guy for a year or more at a time, problem is this time one of the crew was a woman and quite stunning in fact.... honest never touched her but the wife immediatly suspected something was up... she would phone the hotel and the f/a would answer my phone, she'd then slam it down no wanting to hear that the F/o and the F/a were here and we were having a minibar party/ sharing a hotel movie etc. she immediatly suspected the worst, life at home became unbearable..... fire XYZ (the f/a) was the daily comment I'd get at home.... I'd reply "then you'd have a problem with the next one and so on". To cut what is already turning out to be a long story I moved out. A week later my ex-wife informs me she's pregnant, ok sucker for punishment I move back in.... it goes from bad to worse, now she's phoning ops. demanding to know who/ how/ what when I have actually been away etc..... the Dir Flight Ops goes crazy drags me in, I get the don't dip pen into company ink speach as does the F/A.... F/A's now besides herself, she's innocent..... weeks go by it gets worse by the day so I move out. End result marriage over, the F/A and I both get fired for "inappropriate behaviour".

The Sh*tty part is I'm the bad guy on the airfield for leaving my expectant wife and having an affair with a co-worker, when nothing ever happened. Why didn't I quit, I tried nothing else available to go to.

17th Nov 2002, 09:34
drop bags,

A sad story, and all too common from what I've seen, or variations on that theme anyway. I've often said that infidelity (real or imagined) is not the worst thing that can happen to a marriage; it's jealousy, deception, and distrust that cause breakups. If you're in close proximity to a reasonable looking member of the opposite sex in your work, especially if you spend nights away, the whole world ASSUMES you're having an affair with them. You might not be. And if you are? You could have a very good relationship/marriage where such things are accepted by your partner, so long as you go back to him/her. I know several people, at least two on PPRuNe, and one a very regular reader of this forum, who have marriages like that which have been working well for years. And I'm talking about both men and women, on both sides of the...er...infidelity divide, shall we call it. I also know of several breakups caused by one partner getting jealous, or being extremely hurt after finding out he/she was lied to and deceived. Marriage is not about finding someone to [email protected] regularly, or getting a high earning meal ticket, or assuming men are this and women are that and that half the human race fits into some traditionalist Freudian view that was never correct in the first place. It's about love and trust and honesty and so on. And if it isn't, then it's far better that the two people part, and get their own heads together, and grow up, before they try it again.

Grow up? Hmmm...and we're talking about people who fly big toys for a living. Maybe I just explained why so many pilots' marriages are on the rocks. :D ;) :rolleyes: :eek:

17th Nov 2002, 15:32
Sometimes when a person is away from home he/she needs to interact with other people for various reasons. Since an attractive person of the opposite sex is available, he/she tends to top the list of suitable contenders to spend time with. With normal control this is a flirtatious situation which benefits everyone and is actually quite healthy! However, when control breaks down due to alcohol, devil may care attitude or lack of respect for the other person as a temporary lively companion and changes to he/she becoming a sex object, then the problem starts. If at this stage your marriage is already on shaky ground or there is a lack of commitment at home, then one thing leads to another.

It is surprising how many people who in there professional lives exhibit self control and discipline, suddenly forego all that and ruin what they should actually cherish. The old saying that you can only hurt those who love you stands true here and the first person is the wife/husband.

Moral of the story is living it up is fine "within limits". Don't allow a few minutes (?) of pleasure to hurt somebody permanently.

Celtic Emerald
20th Nov 2002, 13:44
Thank you for your replies. Please don't think I couldn't be bothered replying but with the limited access I now have to the internet & the degree I've saddled myself with I've very limited time on-line.

The reason I started this thread was partly because of conversations I've had with pilots both off line & on line etc. Not all of them were on the side of their own, meaning the pilots, the comments were far from complimentary & a bit troubling.

Kaptin M thank you for your reply, made me giggle as usual but with a wife as beautiful as yours & from what I've heard as sweet personality I doubt you'd ever have the need to stray you randy divil ya ;)