Relationships, Marriage, Firefighter - CRACKYL MAGAZINE
By Victoria Gilbert

While being vulnerable emotionally can be as nerve-wracking as an emergency scenario, it is mandatory to stay close with your other half.

The news is scary. The constant Hollywood movie headlines seem like fiction, not real-life. So, what does a pandemic mean for the relationships of firefighters?

We still need to eat, exercise, save members of our community from possible death by catastrophe, raise our children, pay our bills and, oh yes, after a long hot shower, make love; and now more than ever, we can, and we should.

A global crisis means more panic, more stress and possibly, more fires and more emergencies with new threats. In our lifetime, a pandemic has not been a reality; the last time the world was hit with a global virus was in 1918, with the Spanish flu. 

Fear accompanies a pandemic. If you feel it, that’s not being weak-minded, that’s being reasonable. It’s the way you think and how you communicate that will protect and bolster your relationship at home.

“The majority of the service providers are male and we just [email protected]#*!!g suck at talking about emotions,” admits Nick Halmasy, a registered psychotherapist who spent 10 years as a firefighter.  

If you were thinking of breaking up at this time, don’t do it. 

The majority of the time whenever we’re looking at relationships and wanting to end or not end them, we have to look at what is going on around us because of stress,” says Halmasy.

When the world goes sideways, so potentially does the love-life of a firefighter. Maybe it’s been sideways at home for a good long while, but you haven’t had the heart or the energy to do anything about it.

“You want to protect your family; you don’t go home and talk to them about a bad day and I think that’s the wrong message,” affirms Halmasy.

With increased stress, firefighters may want to slip further within themselves to avoid dealing with their fears. “Stripping the first responder title away, you still have a human being on the bottom that’s trying to navigate (the COVID-19 pandemic) and being exposed to it directly,” emphasizes Halmasy.

More likely than not, partners of firefighters have been through emotional rollercoasters with their mate in the past. Even if they aren’t smelling smoke and worse firsthand, being empathetic is par for the course for those in love with a firefighter.  

Guys just don’t know how to talk to their partner at all. They come home, crack a beer and watch TV,” says Halmasy. “We are saturated in this culture of masculinity and all of those pieces. The idea of communication of emotional experience is this big faux-pas in the majority of the services, and that communication piece is what we tend to miss at home.”

While being vulnerable emotionally can be as nerve-wracking as an emergency scenario, it is mandatory to stay close with your other half. With the world navigating through uncharted waters, now is the time to break down established mental barricades and open up to your partner on a deeper level. 

 “If I can open that door up and you can understand as my partner that I’m just really stressed right now and I don’t have the coping skills, opening those conversations up so my partner can be more lenient or forgiving when I’m short, rather than taking it personally,” advises Halmasy.

The trick is to let your mate inside. 

 “Keeping that communication stream open and being vulnerable with your partner in times like these is super beneficial,” he says. 

It is also important firefighters understand what they are feeling before they can communicate how they are feeling to their partners. Difficult and dangerous scenarios are harder to process, and firefighters should tell their partners when they need time to deal with what they’ve gone through. 

Being able to say; ‘listen, I can’t talk right now and this is why. Give me 20 minutes and I’ll come back to it” Halmasy says is a hard conversation to have, especially when your partner is worried, or you are constantly fighting. But, talking about not talking is all part of constructive communication. 

The biggest bonus of opening up these communication lines is you might find your relationship strengthened and not weakened.

So, crack open a beer for you and one for her, flip off the TV and all its noise and news and have a candid conversation with the person you’ve chosen to share your life with. 

The stronger the couple, the stronger the individual.

Photo By iStock Images