As we all know, each long-distance relationship is unique and has its own challenges and benefits. The lifestyle that comes with being married to a pilot may not enter the minds of most when it comes to LDRs, but when a woman (or man – women can be pilots, too!) says her vows at the altar, she is signing up for a life-long, long-distance relationship.
Devon Poe and her husband, Steve, have been married for three years. Steve has been a pilot for 15 years and currently flies for NetJets. He works overseas for six weeks at a time and then comes home for four weeks.
“It can be very hard,” says Devon. “We can’t talk on the phone, and [we] have to rely on texting and Skype, which can be very difficult overseas as the connections tend to be fickle!”
Devon must manage three teenagers and all of the household duties while her pilot is away, but for this she did have training.
“I think because I had been a single mom prior to us getting together, the transition was easier for me,” she explains. “I had been used to doing [those things] before.”
Challenges also arise when Steve is home, as everyone must adjust to having an extra person in the house.
“When he comes home after being gone so long . . . [it] can sometimes lead to disagreements and arguments,” Devon says. “I’m guilty of thinking, ‘It’s only a few weeks more and then you can go back to doing it this way.’ It sounds terrible, but it works sometimes.”
Devon and Steve do try to make the most of their time together, she says. One thing they enjoy doing together is travelling, which is a definite perk of being a pilot’s wife as she gets flight benefits.
For other couples in long-distance relationships Devon has this advice, “Make sure you have a good base of trust and respect for one another. I hear too many wives that seem to snoop and set rules for their husbands.” She also says to focus on the here-and-now when you are together instead of thinking only on the negative.
Pilots’ wives (and husbands) are a special breed within the LDR community. Though pilots are not away from home as long as some other LDR couples are apart, the profession will keep couples separated for days/weeks at a time as long as the pilot continues to fly, which could very well be until he is old and gray as it is usually a job of passion.
For LDR couples who plan to close the distance within a few months or years of being together, they should look to pilot families for inspiration.