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Any advice from the guys who have been married a while.


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  • Any advice from the guys who have been married a while.

    I worked a call where the child was a victim and it was pretty rough to work. On a side note, it was the first call I got out the shoot, and my night ended with watching one of our tac teams kick the door to his apt and take him into custody. I needed to vent, call had me pretty upset. You deal with badness on a daily basis at work but not just plain evil done to innocent victims, not in my area anyway. I vented to the wife, and she got upset. I didn't give gory details just general info about the call. Far less than you would get from the police report. Maybe slightly more than the news but barely. Basically she said she never wants to hear about the really bad stuff (even if I leave out the details), just routine stuff or the weird / funny things I deal with. In the time I've been on this is the first incident I've really ever felt the need to vent so it's not a daily occurance. I understand her response somewhat but it's frustrating to me as well. If this is my partner in life, the person there to love and support me and vice versa how is it I can't share something that is bothering me? I listen to all of the drama's and stresses of her job when she needs to vent. She works in an office so it's not the same as the situation I expressed to her but generally speaking, I love my job, I look forward to work. She hates hers, there are alot of days where she come home and has to vent for 30 min. Should I just deal with it and not talk about stuff like that? I know that calls like these aren't that common for me to handle first hand but at the same time I have at least 24 more years til retirement and at most 38. What do you guys think? I realize everyones spouse is different but some feedback would be appreciated here. I'm 27, wife and I have been married for 2 years next month and together for almost 6 years.
    "Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimum food or water, in austere conditions, day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon. He doesn't worry about what workout to do---his rucksack weighs what it weighs, and he runs until the enemy stops chasing him. The True Believer doesn't care 'how hard it is'; he knows he either wins or he dies. He doesn't go home at 1700; he is home. He knows only the 'Cause.' Now, who wants to quit?"

  • #2
    I have a few LE buddies that work for different agencies. It's not uncommon for us to be calling each other at weird hours to talk about stuff that's bothering us. We never discuss stuff that will jeopardize our jobs or a case, just generally speaking more about our feelings and how it made us feel. A couple of these buddies have been friends from before I was in LE. I'm no longer married, but this "network" came about one day when I had a very bad call and my wife at the time thought it would be wise to snoop through my work bag (she was looking for "evidence" that I was cheating on her). Rather than find stuff that would incriminate me, she found my notebook and read just enough of my notes to make herself pretty ill. Add that to her looking at a couple of my case photos, and she was seeing her psychiatrist first thing the next morning.

    The job sometimes entails some pretty rough stuff. Not everyone can handle it. As LEO we find ways to cope with the stress and having to see and experience some stuff that I wouldn't wish upon my worse enemy. If I've had a bad day, but not quite bad enough to have the need to talk to anyone, I'll grab my fishing gear and hit the lake for a few hours. Sitting at the edge of the water with a good cigar on a calm evening gives me an opportunity to clear my head and evaluate what happened. Sort of my very own personal "After Action Review".

    I would suggest that you find a few buddies you can talk to (not necessarily LE, but folks who can handle the gore that we have to deal with). By having several people you can talk to, it will be more likely that you will have someone to talk to that's not "busy" when the need arises.

    Sometimes a good talk with the agency Chaplain helps. I chat with our Chaplain from time to time just to make sure that my head is in the right place and my "moral compass" is still working.

    Good luck my friend, hang in there.
    Getting shot hurts! Don't under estimate the power of live ammo. A .22LR can kill you! I personally feel that it's best to avoid being shot by any caliber. Your vest may stop the bullet, but you'll still get a nice bruise or other injury to remember the experience.


    • #3
      Here's my advice.. Express to your wife the funny things about the job.. never express the sad or scarey things on the job.. Here's why.. You express the bad/sad/horrible things on the job and how you express it, you might be looked at her by a cold heartless person.. you might laugh at something that she see's it not laughable! you might say it in a way that she could or would see it different then how you see it.. you are different on the job then you are at home.. Do not ever become what you are at work at home. I have seen marriages/relationships fail because the person on the job turned there life into there home life.. I agree with HI629.. talk to someone outside the job, mentor, chaplain/pastor/priest or anyone who can help you deal with the evil in the world.. trust me.. I would love to talk to my spouse about what ive seen/dealt/encountered etc, but then again if I do.. could that change him loving me?? could that change him worrying more about me while i am at work?? put the mask on at work and remove the mask when you go home..


      • #4
        Originally posted by hobbsie711 View Post
        Basically she said she never wants to hear about the really bad stuff (even if I leave out the details), just routine stuff or the weird / funny things I deal with. .................................................. .............. I realize everyones spouse is different but some feedback would be appreciated here.
        She told you what she wants to be told and you should respect her wishes.

        Given some time she will probably relax her stance.

        I know you have a need to decompress also but it looks like you are going to have to use co-workers or other friends for that.

        I would sit down and have a talk with her at some point to give your side of the situation

        While this organization is geared toward Officer deaths-------------------you can find some info about other forms of coping
        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS


        • #5
          I'm not a guy, but I'm a LEO wife, so I'll suggest another tactic.

          Talk to your wife about the possibility of expressing your FEELINGS on the really bad stuff. She might be able to connect better with that. The info on the call and the way it made you feel (why you need to vent) are not the same thing. She might not want or be able to stand hearing the info, but she may be able to understand or listen to the feelings or thoughts it evoked in you. It might require more thinking on your part to describe and put a name to why it agitated you: "It made me sad because I thought..." or "I felt so frustrated when..." or whatever.

          Just a suggestion. Haven't tried this myself as I don't mind detailed info, but I can see where it would bother some women.


          • #6
            very true Reiland.. and it can also bother men too.. I have learned bring home funny stories.. some not so good bad ones i have told my husband, but then to see the look on his face before he opens his mouth, makes me think before i say.. today, i had a bad or awful day.. I know for a fact that my husband worries, same with my family.. that's why they do not ask me.. its giving me a choice to tell them if i really need to.. every relationship is different out there of how they handle it.. here's one for you.. my girlfriend is a social worker, she works with children who haven been sexual abused from a touch to the most nasty disgusting sick perverted abuse to a baby/child/teenager.. her husbands reaction " your choice of your career, I want to know nothing about your day or you will see me in jail killing all the people who have done this to kids". that's something she respects from him.. do they have a good marriage despite that one thing he ask's and she respects, yes.. so, hopefully you see it all lies with in how you and your wife talk, respect, understand, etc.. me personally.. i pick what to say then opening a can of emotions on both sides of the conversation..


            • #7
              I think Iowa is correct, that since she was clear about what she needs, you need to respect that. However, you are very wise to realize your own need to vent stuff that shouldn't be carried around indefinitely.

              Co-workers can be an invaluable source of support, particularly since they may have been right there beside you through the call, or otherwise know the environment. Watch out for the role of alcohol in such sessions, though-- you can get into trouble if it becomes a coping tool.

              Chaplains, EAP, or other counseling sorts can be a help.

              Journaling can give you a way to get it out of your system and a place to leave it.

              Prayer can be a way to offer up the stuff that is still sticking in your craw at the end of the shift.

              I think it was good advice above, that though your wife doesn't want to know what you saw and heard, she probably does want and need to know how it made you feel, and what you need. So, you might consider saying something like, "I had a rough call tonight, involving a child. I'll be alright, but I want to go sit in our child's room and watch him sleep. I'll be out in a bit, and then we can have supper." Something along those lines lets her know what is going on with you, what you need, without overloading her circuits. In time, she'll learn how to be a true support to you, and she may grow into sharing more of it with you.

              Incidentally, I've been married fifteen years. I do not tell my hubby all the gory details, but he is a true support to me, and he does know when something is heavy on my heart, and does what he can to help me carry it.
              We do not all come to religion over the wandering years,
              but sooner or later we all get to meet God. -- Edward Conlon


              • #8
                All of the above is great advice. I'll just add my .02: I've been married 8 yrs and I (we) had the added difficulty of being married a couple years before I started LE work; the difficulty being we both had to adapt to my particular changed perception of reality that's bound to happen after you have been on the job after a while. I am very fortunate in that my wife also was going through her own 'growing pains' adapting to a law-related occupation she had to spend some time going to school for and this gave us some common ground. We both had to be flexible though and I had learn how to handle "my issues." The key is LEARNING how to handle 'issues.' Learn from other's mistakes: I've met a lot of divorced cops; cops that cheated and cops that were cheated on. I've met a lot of alcoholics; that's how they 'learned' to deal with their issues. However, I've seen numerous cops that are able to cope effectively and have a happy and healthy home life.

                I'm trying not to re-state what's already been said; Try to respect her wishes. Communication is key. I'm not sure how long you've been with your wife, but at first it was hard to communicate to mine the feelings and emotions and thoughts that accompany the work. Every once in a while I would be reading an article on Policeone or that did a good job of describing certain feelings and I would email it to her with a note saying something like, "...this guy did a good job of describing some thoughts I was having the other day and just wanted to share them with you...", and the like. When I had a rough day, I would come home and tell her: I've had a very rough day and I'm not in a good mood--i love you, but i need a while to just sit here. Along the way she learned that i needed to vent but it was something I couldn't force on her.

                Lastly, you have to focus on you, not spend all of your time just hoping your wife 'comes around.' Working out helps me-- A LOT ( I used to do martial arts before the kiddo came along...physical work helps clear and focus the mind.) Hobbies help A LOT. Having friends OUTSIDE of LE helps A LOT. Find someone to talk to--fellow cop for the cop stuff, and if your having marriage difficulty talk to someone that knows how to successfully navigate the matrimonial minefield; not some crusty jaded bachelor who jacked up his last marriage and "hates marriage." IN ALL THINGS Be smart about who you listen to. Remember, every day is a new day. Hurt, Heal and Move On. Good luck.


                • #9
                  I was married a long time (16 years) before law enforcement. We're doing better now than ever before. LE is not a normal job. Don't talk to her about work, find someone else to talk to.


                  • #10
                    I do not share with my wife about any bad things that I saw or had to deal with. I just tell her it was rough and just quitely retreat into my man cave or just go out to the range and vent at clay targets.
                    Sometimes, it is just better to keep my mouth shut and just digest on my own and vent on something that doesn't have any feelings. It's just me I guess.
                    Last edited by M1garand; 04-05-2011, 11:36 PM.


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