Deferring Marriage and a Family to fly professionally

Been waiting years to say this:

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I've hesitated to make this post for awhile, but I'm at a real crossroads with life decisions. I am what some might consider to be a recent college graduate and have settled into a career/job that I really enjoy and I'm happy with. I've also actively been working at earning my flight ratings to pursue a career move in the next couple of years flying professionally, as it's always been something I've wanted to do. Long story short, I met a girl... oh boy I know... during my tenure of college and we have been dating for a couple of years now. She is very well in the know about the potential for my career change soon and seems to understand my goals in life. She is however, along with her family, beginning to put the heat on for engagement and marriage. I am mature enough to understand, that once engagement and marriage occurs, life suddenly starts getting in the way and things that were once a priority, seem to shift until those priorities are in the rearview mirror. She said earlier on in our relationship that she wanted to have children rather soon after getting married as her biological clock is ticking, which i fully get, but that is yet another reason the flying aspirations tend to get pushed aside and those life goals from before don't end up happening. I've told her quite a few times that I at least want to finish my programs with the flight school before getting engaged, as I simply cannot balance a full time job, flight lessons, planning a wedding and hobbies etc., without becoming stressed out with a plate that's too full. I feel like that's reasonable. Recently she's asked me whether or not I'll jump on a flying job as soon as the opportunity arises, or if i'll wait a bit, as she'd like to have some time after the wedding to live just the two of us before I start to be gone and living the pilot lifestyle. I told her that I would probably jump on an opportunity as soon as i get one.

Anyway, she's a good girl, but there are some things that I'm not sure about. She's been working a very low income job ($36k annually) and while she has tried to apply for other jobs, she doesn't seem to be terribly motivated to find better, basically where if someone comes knocking on her door, she'll answer it. This kind of bugs me, and in my opinion, she needs to be working on certifications or applying for jobs or going back to school or doing something to advance herself professionally. Ultimately, I am not sure how that lifestyle will work with her long term, even though she says it'll be fine. I understand that sacrifices have to be made living the lifestyle of a professional pilot. Im curious how many of you deferred getting married and having a family to fly? Honestly, I'm just not sure that I'm ready to be tied down right now, and if she's unwilling to wait, then maybe she just isnt the right one...?
I'm late to this post and haven't had a chance to read all the prior posts, so some of what I say my be duplicative. You sound like you're in your early to mid 20s, which is very young. You have so much life ahead of you. And if your girlfriend is the same age, then she also has a lot of life ahead of her and plenty of years to have kids. It is much more common now to get married and have kids in your 30s. I live in NYC and it's basically unheard of to get married and have kids before you are 30. This is common for big cities, which is where you could easily be as a pilot. You may feel like you have figured yourself out at your young age and that you know what you want for the rest of your life, but statistics and experience show that you will change and you will feel much differently about life and what you want in your 30s and 40s. It sounds like you may have some doubts about her as it is. You should carefully consider those doubts and don't feel pressured (by yourself or her) to get married and start a family this young. I'm very glad I waited until my later 30s to get married and have kids. I'm in my early 40s now and am very thankful that I didn't get married young (I almost did), miss out on so much life that cannot be experienced with a demanding home life, and frankly, have to deal with a divorce, because the girl I was madly in love with in my early to mid-20s is not someone that would have made me happy long term. I only learned that through experience.

I think you've realized that if you get married and start having kids right now, you have a high probability of having to give up your dream. Wives and kids take a lot of time, presence, and money. Things that you will not have in your early aviation career. Once you are more established in your career, you will still be plenty young enough to think about starting a family. Don't live with regret for the rest of your life by giving up on your dream.

Speaking of regret, the timing of seeing this post is so coincidental. I was just looking at my grandpa's log book from the late 40s. He used his GI money for flight lessons and was working on his commercial pilots license. I like to look at his log book from time to time because I know it documents some of his favorite hours of his life. He had 183 hours in his last log book entry. Nine months later my dad was born. He never flew again. He said he couldn't afford a family and flying. Not a day went by that he didn't think about planes and flying (and, I'm sure, what could have been). I got my love of aviation and desire to be a pilot from him. And I'm glad that through careful planning and patience I was not forced, like him, to choose between a family and what I wanted to do with my life.
 
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