DEAR JANE: I landed my dream job as a flight attendant – but it’s completely DESTROYED my love life

Dear Jane,

I’ve been working as a flight attendant for a major airline for the last four years and it’s given me the incredible opportunity to visit to so many amazing places. 

Honestly, I can’t imagine a better job.

But, as with anything in life, with the ups have come the downs… most of which I can cope with. The crazy schedules, the meager pay, even the constant distance from my friends and family – none of those are terrible enough to make me want to reconsider what I’m doing.

The only thing that is proving really difficult is the impact that my job has had on my dating life.

About a year after I got the job, my boyfriend of six years broke up with me, saying he no longer felt like a priority and that he didn’t want a ‘part-time girlfriend’ who was never going to be around. While I now look back and realize that relationship was doomed from the start for a number of reasons, I’ve never really been able to get those complaints out of my mind.

I took some time to grieve that relationship and began dating again about two years ago. And it’s been a disaster.

Dear Jane, I scored my dream job as a fight attendant four years ago – but it’s completely destroyed my love life and I don’t know what to do 

I’ve used every single app you can think of, I’ve tried asking friends and family members to set me up on blind dates, and I’ve made an effort to form real-life connections whenever I get the opportunity to go out… but nothing seems to work.

Because of the nature of my job, trying to pin down a date or time to actually go out with someone is basically impossible, and whenever I do get the chance to meet someone in person, it feels like I’m immediately packed off on back-to-back trips that prevent me from seeing them for weeks.

I’m 32 years old, and I’m panicking that it’s getting too late for me, that I’m going to end up one of those lonely women who foolishly devoted everything to her job – only to find herself totally alone at the age of 50.

But if I quit my job, purely because it might help me to find someone… surely that’s a decision I’ll regret forever too?

The whole thing is making me start to resent my job; where I would have previously been overjoyed to be sent off on a trip somewhere far away, I now get a pit in my stomach, worrying about how long I’m going to be away and how much I’m going to miss when I’m there.

International best-selling author Jane Green offers sage advice on readers' most burning issues in her Dear Jane agony aunt column

International best-selling author Jane Green offers sage advice on readers’ most burning issues in her Dear Jane agony aunt column

How can I find a happy medium?


First Class Fool

Dear First Class Fool,

It sometimes feels rare these days to hear that someone loves their job as much as you do, so let me start by saying how lucky you are that you can’t imagine a better job.

What strikes me above all else whilst reading your letter is that you don’t seem to have the right work/life balance. 

Whatever our jobs, we get into trouble when we let that job take over the rest of our lives. Whether it’s the constant travel that comes with being a flight attendant, or sitting at home all evening working from our laptops, it is key that we find the right balance.

From what I understand, flight attendants do have a choice as to how much your work, by putting in a ‘bid’ every month for your work schedule. You decide where you want to go and how many hours you would like to work before putting in your request.

It seems to me that you do not have the balance right, and unless you commit to working less hours and visiting fewer places, it’s not just your romantic life that will suffer. All our relationships require work, whether they be friends, family, or romance.

And, you need to be fulfilled in life, not just in work, in order to attract someone new.

My best advice is to cut your hours, get a part-time job close to home if you need to supplement your income, and focus on your friends and family, and most importantly, on your own happiness. 

Whether this looks like taking up new activities or hobbies, starting classes, or volunteering, you need to create a life that is full down on the ground.

Dear Jane,

I’m a single mom to a 25-year-old who is struggling to find her way in the world – and I just don’t know how to give her the push she needs to become more independent.

My husband passed away very suddenly when my daughter was 15, and his death left us both devastated, but also brought us even closer together. 

We were lucky in that my late husband ensured we’d be very well taken care of for the rest of our lives, but it’s now starting to feel like that financial safety net is making my daughter even more reluctant to choose a path in life.

She chose not to go to college, which wasn’t a decision I fully understood but supported nonetheless, and I had hoped that she would instead find a job that fulfilled her. Or at the very least gave her some kind of purpose. 

But instead, she’s spent the past seven years or so taking on and then dropping odd jobs here and there, never really approaching anything with any enthusiasm or motivation.

She still lives at home, receives an allowance from me, and hasn’t ever had to take on any kind of adult responsibility. I know that’s partly my fault for supporting her all these years, but I now fear that I’ve destroyed her chance at a real life. 

I want to be as supportive as possible, and I’d hate for us to lose our close connection, but I also don’t want to be the reason for her total lack of responsibility.

Do you think there’s a way I can give her a nudge without cutting her off completely?


Overbearing or Overprotective

Dear Overbearing or Overprotective,

Dear Jane’s Sunday service

Unintended consequences are the results of an action that we take, an action that we presumed would have very different results. 

To all parents reading this, love is vital, but so is raising children who will make their own way in the world. 

You raise independent children by giving them responsibilities, whether that’s clearing the table, making their own bed, or doing household chores. 

Your children may grumble, but the results will be worth it.

Please, please hear me when I say, stop giving her an allowance immediately. I understand your guilt at your husband dying when she was so young, but you are doing her no favors whatsoever, as you are discovering.

I know how hard it is, but our job as parents is not just to love our children, but to raise them to go out into the world as independent, self-sufficient adults. It is time for your chick to fly the nest, and I encourage you to support her on her journey of independence.

This means you stop paying her this allowance. This will force her to get a job if she wants to continue enjoying her life. Once she has a job, I would then move the pendulum further by requesting rent. She is old enough to be taking responsibility for her life, and the longer you prevent that from happening by giving her everything she needs, the more you are clipping her wings.

A close connection is lovely, but you will soon find that you’re not only hindering her life, but your own. You have provided her with a more-than-adequate cushion, and removing the allowance is the first step to push her out into the world. Give her a time period for her to find a home of her own, and keep to it.

This is going to be hard for you, mama, but stick with it. Nothing is better than seeing your children flourish in the world on their own. It’s good for you, and most importantly, necessary for her.