Couple satisfaction in partners of pilots – what did I find?

I recently finished my Masters dissertation titled Couple satisfaction in female partners of male shift working pilots. As some of you might know I am married to my best friend who is a pilot and I am proud to call myself a pilot wife. For my Master’s thesis I decided to study pilot wives and partners specifically and what impact their husband/ partner’s working schedule has on her couple satisfaction. This post is a short summary of the conclusions of my research to share with my fellow pilot wives and pilot partners.

My study had 276 participants who were all wives or partners of pilots. The ladies completed an online questionnaire that I created and I analysed and interpreted their responses to come to my conclusions.

I found that with increased age and relationship duration in the middle stages, couple satisfaction was lower. One reason for this could be that there are children to take care of and life’s demands get overwhelming to the participants. Couple satisfaction was also lower for participants who had children than for those participants without children. One reason for this could be that the ladies often have to take care of their children and take a lot of the domestic duties in the home on themselves due to the pilot’s schedule.

The number one negative aspect about being in a relationship with a pilot was his schedule. The other negative aspects that followed partially as result are loneliness, solo parenting, domestic duty overload and physical and psychological problems. Other negative aspects found by the less satisfied participants was lack of trust, pilot’s personality and financial and communication difficulties.

A good thing to highlight from the study is that most of the participants were reasonably happy with their relationship. Interestingly some participants experienced the pilot’s schedule as positive and cited him being home more often and having the opportunity to miss each other as positive aspects. The positive aspects of being in a relationship with a pilot was independence, travel opportunities, job fulfilment, the aviation lifestyle, excitement in the relationship, communication, personality of the pilot and lastly financial security.

I think the study gave meaningful results and that it will give the pilot wife and partner community a voice and my hope is to help them realise how fellow pilot wives or partners are experiencing their relationships.

Please comment below if you would like to know more about my study, or if you have any questions about it.

Till next time…

Published by Andri

My name is Andri and I am passionate about creating awareness, encouraging others and sharing techniques and coping strategies for various mental health issues.

4 thoughts on “Couple satisfaction in partners of pilots – what did I find?

  1. Interesting to read thanks 🙂

    I have been married to a pilot husband for just 3 years so am a newbie!

    I would agree that I see us having the opportunity to miss each other as a positive. I also value the fact that the time apart allows me a certain freedom to be my own person, send time with girlfriends etc that I maybe wouldn’t do as much if my husband was at home with me more.

    The thing I find the hardest are the weeks when our schedules clash & we don’t get to have any decent quality time together & I miss getting to spend all my previous weekends with my other half. Snuggly Sunday’s at home are not as much fun on your own!

    We do not have children. I can completely imagine that having children would make working around pilots shifts a lot more of a challenging factor in a relationship.

    Thanks for the read!


    1. Dear Donna,

      Thanks for your comment 🙂 and thank you for reading.

      Yes for sure. I also love being independent and having my alone time to watch the shows I like for example 😉

      However, when schedules clash it is not fun at all and I agree those weeks are the hardest on me too. Especially the weekends apart.
      We don’t have children yet either so it would be interesting for me to also see how it will affect us.

      Thanks for reading!


  2. I wonder if there’s any difference between wives who husbands were miltary pilots first and then transitioned to commercial?
    My guy served 22 years in the AF then eventually ended up at FedEx (5 yrs).
    Most miltary wives are well accustomed to the solo parenting, domestic duties, and generally being separated from their spouses, generally for much longer periods of time with the added addition on worry about combat deployments.

    So when my guy went commercial, well, it really wasn’t that much different and not much adjustment. Our kids have known no other life besides dad coming and going and, no doubt, after being married 24 years we’re all just used to this kind of lifestyle.


    1. Hi Missy,

      That would be very interesting to see for future research. I can imagine that after having your husband work as a military pilot the commercial airlines would have been easier to deal with. I think the amount of time that military families are separated from each other is a lot and a big sacrifice. I respect you for it.

      How the family is affected by long separations from one or both parents is also very interesting to me and has me thinking of future research.

      Thank you for your comment.


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