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any advice for a firefighter's girlfriend?

Hello out there. I'm in a committed relationship with an incredible man who just graduated from the academy and started his rookie year. He's worked really hard for his badge, and I'm so proud of what he's accomplished so far. We have a pretty solid foundaiton of communication, but we definately had to take it one day at a time to keep our relationship together throughout the academy. His idea of romance has understandabley turned into us sitting in bed and listening to him rattle off random equipment facts for his drills and tests. He's also becoming more rigid than usual. I'm learning that the probation year is actually much more difficult than the academy for a relationship to survive. Eeek.

Can other's who have made it through this period offer any advice? I'm not really connected to any other women who have experienced a relationship with a firefighter, and I'm realizing that it's an entirely different beast. What do we need to know to keep building on our foundation at this time?

This previous thread might give you some insight:

Captain Bob

Your strong show of support, understanding and pride that you have for your man, speaks volumes on what type of partner you are. Your expressed interest in wanting to maintain this support through tough times, shows your level of committment to your man.

Becoming a firefighter is a huge accomplishment for most people, since we really see this as a "calling" as opposed to a routine job. The competition to earn the badge is tremendous and the honor we feel to be able to to wear the badge and to serve others, is second to none.

Try to learn about the firefighting profession, take advantage of imersing yourself in the firefighting culture and consider yourself as part of a new, extended family. Continue to be supportive, understanding and unselfish as you appear to be and you both will benefit from completing probation together, as a team.

I hope that your man recognizes and appreciates your efforts.

"Behind every great man is a great(er) woman!"

Thanks for the positive feedback. I really appreciate it. You actually touched on another topic that I was reluctant to bring up on this forum (but what the heck...)which is the feeling that I'm not a part of a new extended "firefighter family" due to racial tensions in the department.

My boyfriend and I are a transracial couple, black and white, and he's already recieved some negative attention in the academy because of this. We are deeply enraged that this type of racism could jepordize his job in this day and age, but we both know better too. It's an issue that has never seriously affected us until now.

I don't want to do anything to bring undue attention to him during his probation period, or make this process any harder than it needs to be. As a result, we've agreed to to play the ugly game, and to keep our relationship very seperate from his work life. The guys at the station know that he has a girlfriend, but they don't know anything about me, and they will not meet me or encounter me.

We are hoping that once he is off probation, we won't have to worry about this issue anymore and I will be able to be a part of the fire dept family that you speak of. Does this sound realistic? Has anyone else experienced anything like this in the fire dept?

Sorry for the long responce, but I really appreciate the annonimity of this forum for obvious reasons.

This message was edited by new2fd on 2-22-06 @ 11:17 PM

Wow, you really do have a "full plate"! The fire service is a microcosm of society at large, including faults, weaknesses, predjudices, etc. Don't assume that because of a few "knuckleheads", that "everyone" feels the same about an issue. Do not let a few people's narrow-mindesness spoil the experience for you and your partner.

I think that it is a good idea to avoid any controversy while on probation, if at all possible. If you and your partner are strong enough to stick it out and "fly under the radar" for a year or so, your vision on issues will be much clearer at the end.

I don't know the location or size of your fire department, but it is my experience that people who are judgemental and unwilling to accept other's lifestyle choices, are few and far between and getting fewer by the day. Because firefighters live in close proximity to each other and depend on each other in critical situations, we must trust each other. that does not mean that we must like each other or choose to socialize with each other off duty.

as time passes, you will soon find out who your friends are and who are the folks that you'd choose not to have over for Thanksgiving Dinner. You can't force people to change and you probably would not want to, even if you could.

Stand your ground, keep your head up and maintain your dignity. If some people take issue with your relationship, that's their problem, not yours. I feel strongly that your feelings towards the fire service will improve as your man establishes himself and his reputation in a positive light. As I'm sure that you're aware, any blatant racism in any fire department is not acceptable or tolerated. People have the right to their own opinion, just not the right to express it when it may damage another person.We have an ubnwritten rule that "religion and politics" are off-limits in the firehouse as they are potentially sensitive issues and really nobody else's business.

Keep the faith, it's worth it!