So after two years together I have decided to take my relationship to the next level. My girlfriend has been with me through the ups and downs. She stood with me through rookie school and then through 9 months of applications, tests, and interviews. Now that I have been working in the station for the past 9 months, she wants me to quit! She says that she does not want to be alone at night and so on and so forth... Now I have been in the fire service for 6 years as a volunteer, I have been certified now for a year, and have been employed for 9 months. This is all I have ever wanted in life, and all I have worked for. I really don't know how to handle this. So i am asking some of you older, experienced career guys with all the wisdom that comes with your ranks to help me out. Any feedback is welcome.
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Thread: A Firemans Significant Other
10-11-2011, 01:28 AM #1
- Join Date
- Jun 2009
A Firemans Significant Other
10-11-2011, 02:43 AM #2
First bit of advice...rank doesn't always mean wisdom.
Next try meeting with some of the guys you work with and their spouses and talking about it or asking for the spouses input. At least that is a starting point.
But remember if it's a problem now, it will be a problem later. Don't just push this under the rug and hope she gets over it. This one must be dealt with head on.
Trucked."It's a living thing brian..."
10-11-2011, 03:44 AM #3rank doesn't always mean wisdom
This is a common problem for firefighters and police officers. The spouse feels left out or lonely.
This will not get any better unless you talk it out.
Lets say you give up your dream job. How long before you resent her for demanding that you quit? Will you ever get over that? Is your bond stronger to her than your job?
Ok, flip side... you don't quit... it won't be long before she resents you for it.
One of the leading causes of a marriage to fail is one or the other partner tries to change the other person into what they want them to be. That does not work my friend, unless you don't have a spine. I'm don't think this is the case.
I'm not telling you to lay down the law, but I am telling you to talk about this in depth real quick. As trucked suggested, have her go to your station to meet the guys and their spouses. (The spouses have their own club you know).
If she doesn't change her stance, then tell her you're sorry that you are no longer what she wants. You are a firefighter and she knew it going into the deal. It's not like you can find another job tomorrow. Things can be much worse... like no job, no money and no future. She won't like that any better.
You need to tell her it takes a special women to stand behind a firefighter. Is this her calling? She is already telling you she doesn't like it. So when you need support, understanding or a shoulder to cry on... it will not be there.
You should be prepared to go your own way on this issue. Sorry, but I rarely see this work out. If you cave to this, you will cave to everything she wants until you get a belly full. You most likely would not get a second chance as a career firefighter.
I hope you can beat the odds.HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL
10-11-2011, 05:20 AM #4
- Join Date
- May 2000
- Wheaton IL
Not an uncommon situation. Whatever you do, DON'T GET MARRIED to her. Unless she really understands and is OK with your job things will not get any better and it will end in divorce.
You want to be a fireman, you ARE a fireman, she is just your girlfriend, if she doesn't understand this it is over.
Sorry for the bad news but I have dozens of examples of guys that thought it would be OK. Children will only make it worst and someday. We have 10 guys out of 60 on our current roster who's wives couldn't handle the lifestyle of a fireman's wife. Plenty more who have retired. The story is the same in all of the departments around me.
I know that isn't what you want to hear, but it is far better to split now then get constant flack about work and EVERY overtime day, picnic, parade, open house, etc. If she said she wants you to work 9 to 5 and wants you to quit the fireservice now, no amount of talking will make it better. Give it enough time to make sure it wasn't just a bad week or month for her, but if that is how she truly feels in her heart then it is time to part ways
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news
10-11-2011, 07:37 AM #5
- Join Date
- Sep 2011
This can be a dealbreaker for a relationship. She needs to come around and look at the pluses to the days you're at work, and then get her own life on those days too.
On my days at home while hubby is working, we make our own plans, meet people for lunch or whatever, have people over, whatever. I have friends who have never met my hubby, because they fit into the "single mom" part of our life.
On the flip side, he fully enjoys when I'm working and he gets to sit around at night and not talk to anybody, choose whatever he wants to watch on TV, etc.
Seriously, though, dating is when you are figuring out if you're compatible with a person. If this persists, the answer to that question is apparently a no.
10-11-2011, 08:46 AM #6
- Join Date
- Jul 1999
- Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee
I am sorry but I have to join the group in saying that this is not a good situation. It takes a special person to be the spouse of a firefighter. One who understands how important this career is to us. One that understands that it is not just a job, but so much more to many of us. Of course there will be nights alone at times, but the trade off is so many more complete days at home. So many more hours together that other couples simply don't have.
My wife is a Med tech at a hospital and has worked either 7pm to 7am, or now 11pm to 7am the entire time I have known her. I work 24's on the California schedule. We find our schedules highly compatible and we may do things differently than many others but our days off together are fantastic. Whether we are home gardening, working on the house, playing with out cats and dogs, going out to eat, to the movies, shopping, or whatever, we make every second count. Frankly, I think our schedules allow us more time together than working a standard 9-5 job would. The nights we are apart are tough sometimes but she has her life and friends and I have my life and friends and it works out just fine.
I agree with everyone that says don't marry this woman until you resolve this and if you can't resolve it then your choices are few and most likely painful:
1) Break off the relationship. Make it clear this is who you are and who you always wanted to be and how unfair it is for her to demand you give up your dream.
2) Give up your dream and become a 9-5er somewhere at a job that isn't your dream. You want to define resentment? Here would be your chance. Your girlfriend seems kind of controlling...give in to this big one and and watch out.
Breaking up is never easy, but doing it now will spare you the pain of a divorce, as well as the expense.
I am always amazed at people that say they love someone and then want to change a huge, important part of what makes them who they are.
Good luck, I am afraid you will need some.
Last edited by FyredUp; 10-11-2011 at 09:02 AM.“The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.” Leo F. Buscaglia
This place gets weirder and weirder every day...
10-11-2011, 09:50 AM #7
- Join Date
- Aug 2003
I was already pulling shifts when I met my future Mrs. so she knew it was part of the deal. There's good advice here. Believe it or not, some significant others start to enjoy the time apart. Trust has to be there. You must take into consideration how much you have invested in your relationship vs. your career. Good Luck. Both have to be good for both to survive.
10-11-2011, 09:58 AM #8
I'm not a career guy, but in the 30+ plus years I've been in the business as a volunteer, I've seen the same thing happen - and both ways. We lost an excellent female firefighter to the same basic premise.
What's the rest of her social life look like?
Does she have friends she can hang out with? Girl's nights out?
Has she met any other firefighter's wives and girlfriends? A social outing or some one-on-one with WAGs from the station might be quite telling. She might come around, or you might hear back that it's a lost cause.
Don't give up your dream - which is also now your career - and for all of the reasons everyone has mentioned.Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.
Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.
10-11-2011, 10:38 AM #9
- Join Date
- Jun 2007
I agree, don't marry her. Myself and most guys I know have wives who LOVE it when we work nights..... and so do we ! My wife workd a day job so when I'm on nights we go 3 days without seeing each other , for us thats no big deal. One phone call after dinner is it .
During hunting season (couple months) i'm hardly home at all.
Been this way since ' 88 . But I married the RIGHT woman for me.
10-11-2011, 10:54 AM #10
Plain and simple......Fire her.
All the others are correct. Do you want to give up the career that you love, the career that will be putting bread and milk on the table and paying the mortgage, the career that you love- For a woman????
You want to work in an office from 9-5 for the rest of your life and go home to her??"Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."
10-11-2011, 11:35 AM #11
- Join Date
- Jun 2009
Thanks for the advice so far. It is very thought provoking, and gives me a starting point on dealing with this. I do hope I can make it work, but I know if it comes down to one or the other which will win. I am a third generation firefighter I can't walk away from this career plain and simple. I love what I do, it's more than my career it is who I am. Thanks for the thoughts so far hope to see more.
10-11-2011, 11:43 AM #12
If you quit the fire department..... You will hate yourself the rest of your life. Do not quit the dept. Going by what you say, THIS IS YOUR SHOT. If firefighting is what you were put on this earth by god to do, Then NEVER let it go.... not for anything.
Also if her being in your life is affecting your work life.... Then quit her.
I am sorry you are in these shoes my friend.
Last edited by L-Webb; 10-11-2011 at 11:47 AM.Bring enough hose.
10-11-2011, 11:44 AM #13IrishWifeFirehouse.com Guest
From a womens/wifes perspective.... yes, everyone else here is spot on.
My husband and I had been married for 7 years when he finally got his career FF job offer. He had never been a FF prior to that point, he was a miserable on the road union carpenter. He was gone more often than not, following work with his company where ever it went Mon-Fri. It sucked. It sucked for our relationship. It sucked for our children. But "thems the breaks," it was his job, how he made his living, and going without that job was OUT of the question.
Compared to that, his schedule now is awesome. 24 on, 48 off. I still get alone time where I can sit and read or play on the computer all night without him bugging me about something. The other 2 nights we get plenty of quality time in together. Then days like today (when I'm working a 10 hour shift), he's playing the stay-at-home parent role: getting the kids up and ready for school, packing lunches, putting ponytails in hair, doing household chores and errends, picking kids up, going to doctors appointments, then coming home and starting dinner. He likes it, and the kids love it. We would not change this schedule for ANYTHING!
Now obviously, I did not marry a FF, but I am married to one now. After all our years together, through the good, the bad, and the DAMN UGLY, I know his calling has always been to be a FF. I encouraged him to do it before we got married, and he blew it off. It took him many years to realize it. I would not change his happiness for anything. Happy husband/daddy means happy wife and kids. (And vice versa, happy wife means happy husband, etc). We are both at a point in our lives where we each are happy with our careers (stable ones too), and things have never been better for us. We have also never experienced such a sense of pride before, either.
My hub was on a fire that made the news yesterday, so I sat my 5 year old daughter down and we watched the video footage and we talked about how yes it's dangerous, but it's an important job. After I was done explaining, the wisdom of a 5 year old shined through, and she said "I'm so really proud of my daddy!" The pride I felt after hearing my 5 year old say that made me realize I know we are doing the right thing for our entire family.
Perhaps your gf is miserable with her own life outside the home. Misery loves company, afterall. Is her job fulfilling? Does she have friends to socialize with? Are there opportunities where you live for her to get out and occupy herself while you're gone (school/classes, volunteering, clubs, etc)? Yeah, nights away can really be the sucks, but we certainly feel it is worth it, especially considering how thigns could be (and were) MUCH worse! And yes, absofrigginlutely, I have become friends with other fire wives. Not so much the wives/GFs at the station my husband is at now (yet, at least), but the wives of his Academy buddies and I, we've all bonded.
Now, what do you mean you've taken things to the next level? You've proposed? You want to? You MUST attend some pre-marital counseling, if so. Yours is a job others would die to have! Can you really see yourself doing something else for the rest of your life? Would you hold it against her? Would you play the "well I quit my career because of you!" card any time you get into a fight? I hate to say it, but perhaps she just isn't cut out to be a fire wife. It's not easy, that's for sure, but nothing worth doing ever is. "The hard is what makes it great. If it were easy, everyone would do it." (Name that movie!)
If it comes down to it, and she gives you an ultimatum... well, I hope you realize that though you may love her, it's also important to love and value yourself.
10-11-2011, 12:59 PM #14
- Join Date
- Jun 2009
"The hard is what makes it great. If it were easy, everyone would do it." (Name that movie!)
Tom Hanks, A league of Their Own. At least I think thats what its from.
10-11-2011, 01:13 PM #15IrishWifeFirehouse.com Guest
You got it! Good luck with everything!
10-11-2011, 03:47 PM #16
Also, women may come and go...but unless you're an arsonist or pedophile your fire department family will always be there for you no matter what your problem is.
10-11-2011, 04:13 PM #17IrishWifeFirehouse.com Guest
Is the being alone at night thing her only issue? Is it because she gets lonely, or scared? If you haven't done so already, get her a dog, a gun (or can of mace, etc), or both!
10-11-2011, 04:20 PM #18
10-11-2011, 04:54 PM #19IrishWifeFirehouse.com Guest
10-11-2011, 07:40 PM #20
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