The heartbreaking message glared harshly in all it’s heaviness, heartache, and uncertainty. Sent from somewhere on the other side of the world, I sensed the stranger’s desperation. I inhaled sharply as the words hit so hard. Although I wasn’t the one dealing with a suddenly rocky love story; this stung like the nasty effects of a sugary-hangover. A little like love, the morning after a fun night out has the potential to leave one sick and swearing that they will never drink ‘Potion #9’ again. There are no warning labels when you start kicking-back love. There are no dating apps that advise— “Love Responsibly.”

“I read what you wrote about aviation and relationships,” this stranger on the other side of the world continued. “I was looking for answers. I didn’t know that I would have to choose between being a flight attendant and being in love.” This is not exactly what she said, but the essential points tore at everything I believe to be true about love and the lifestyle that I choose— that we choose. It’s the lifestyle of being a flight attendant, pilot, or frequent traveler. The lifestyle that is perceived as being “gone all of the time.” The lifestyle that some think they understand but most will never unless they live it for themselves.

The fact that the person who [insert air quotation here] “loves” her and yet is saying, “Choose me over your dreams. How dare you leave me? What am I supposed to do?” makes me want to scream through my phone that these ultimatums and threats are NOT love!!!! This is NOT what love looks like, acts like or truly was ever meant to exist as. I realize that love is a choice, but true love will never force you to compromise your personal freedom (and that’s not just a #flightattendanttruth)

It’s not flight attendant life that makes love so hard. Some will love you— honestly and fully— but may never be able to fully accept what you do for your career. You need to understand something: Aviation does NOT ruin relationships but try jealousy, dishonesty, cheating, lack of communication, lack of trust, and not prioritizing your partner. Unfortunately, these elements exist in our society overall and not only in aviation. Be a person with the character who loves better. Let’s upgrade the way we love and our reputations as flight attendants and pilots.

One of the biggest indicators I have seen as to why relationships fail in aviation is a lack of respect and support for the person’s job. The person who loves you doesn’t have to love what you do for work, but they must be supportive. Never should one cut you down for what you love or for what you want to do with your life.

Responsible or not, we always love again. We always hope and search and pray for a person to understand the crazy in ourselves and the crazy of our jobs. Maybe I know nothing about love and aviation. Maybe you shouldn’t trust what I say because I’m hopelessly optimistic and very much believe in love. And I believe more than anything in Flight Attendant Life. How can I not? This is the job that made me fall in love with the world, fall in love with a Creator of The Universe who has my best interest in mind, and fall in love with the woman I am and am hoping to become. How magical is that?

I know you may love him or love her and really want the relationship to work, but don’t quit your job simply because you think that is why your relationship is struggling. It could be, but it also could be something else. Your job could be what is helping you grow into a love that is beyond your wildest dreams. Just saying…

I just don’t want you to wake up one day and realize how you said no to everything right in your life because you were secretly worried you would always be walking through airport terminals alone and slam-clicking hotel room doors solo. I know the lifestyle can be lonely and isolating. I know dating is tough. I know that the schedules can kick your butt sometimes. But it’s not your fucking job! The right person will never make that an issue. People change careers, lose jobs, or decide on new pursuits. Go do your dreams and if that means, flight attendant life— embrace the entire experience.

With almost a decade worth of aviation heartbreak accessorizing my personality like a pilot’s epaulettes adding to a uniform, I’ve lived the challenges and beauties that the job adds to my relationships. It sucks at times. I’ve wondered if love could ever be real in aviation— and yes, it can. It will be. Just know which sacrifices are best to make and which ones aren’t. Go and love your person and love your job and if your person just doesn’t get it, re-evaluate. It’s not worth throwing away one love for another when you don’t need to do that.

Gotta run. I’m late to a flight attendant recurrent. I’m gonna go love this career one more year…at least:)

About the Author

Hello, I’m K. J. Watts, but my friends call me Kara. I fell into the sky and have worked as International cabin crew, on private jets as a corporate flight attendant, and earned an FAA Private Pilot Certificate. Over a decade ago, I started this blog, which developed into a love for writing and a debut memoir based on Flight Attendant Life. A California native, I now live in Sydney, Australia, where I enjoy spending time with my husband, writing, and surfing.

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