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Marriage and Law Enforcement = Oil + Water??


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  • Marriage and Law Enforcement = Oil + Water??

    First, I'm not married, but I am a police officer. All throughout the academy, it seemed like every instructor that we had (all LEO's) was either divorced or into his second or third marriage. I know this occupation is stressful and if you aren't in it, you don't really understand what goes on. But is it THAT difficult to maintain a stable marriage and a successful LE career? Another thing I notice is the amount of infedelity that I see throughout this profession, I know there are lots of people in other professions that cheat, but it seems like it's the "norm" in police work. I had one male officer tell me "you know how it is" in other words, don't be surprised about what I see, every officer does it. Just wondering how you guys feel about this. And please don't be offended if I stepped on a toe or two

    [ 08-16-2001: Message edited by: Summer Rain ]

  • #2
    I don't know about it being the "norm", but I agree that the percentage of infidelity and divorce is much higher in the law enforcement profession. I think that it's because of the type of person drawn to law enforcement. As a general rule, we're "adrenaline junkies" who thrive on action, and get bored quickly. Plus, we're used to solving conflicts in 30 minutes or less with a report or an arrest . . . bam, move on to the next call. When our relationships start to leave the "honeymoon phase" and slow down, we look for something to spice it up, which for some, I would guess, involves an affair. When WE begin having arguments and fights, we discover that they cannot be solved with the stroke of a pen, it's frustrating and just adds to the problem.
    Payday is even sweeter when you know you've earned it


    • #3
      Well personally I was divorced before I got into LE, but I have seen much of what you are talking about. I also have seem it in other jobs I have worked. I don't think it is really the job, but people tend to pay more attention to officers. I guess they have to realize that officers are human just like everyone else. I am not sticking up for the actions by any means, but beleive me the situations I have seen with officers are nothing compared to a place I have worked out side of LE.

      [ 08-16-2001: Message edited by: Crystal ]


      • #4
        Do you think it makes a difference if the person has been married for a long time and the relationship is more stable? The ones who have gone thru the more tragic losses and struggles seem to me, to last longer due to more maturity.
        "To each his own"


        • #5
          Depends on the people in the marriage. Some can't take the rotating shifts, over-time, call outs on days off, time away from the family......yada, yada, yada. If you have a spouse that can handle and except those things you'll have found a good one.


          • #6
            After about 5 years in, my first wife couldn't handle my generally grumpy nature and mood swings, the hours, so on and so forth. But the thing she said she couldn't handle was that I didn't talk to her about work. Then when I started to open up to her, she got scared and insisted I give it up. Things generally declined from there. My second wife, though, is an absolute gem. She has such inner strength and intelligence that she knows what to do for me to make it easier on me. And I respond to that. I am truly lucky that she understands what I do and why I do it. I would find it hard to ever see the job driving a wedge between us.


            • #7
              In my opinion its hard to stay married when you are a LEO. Cause we are spending much time with work then our family. Well...i am not married and not thinking in about 5 years but who knows...ya know its love...Anyways i think the main thing is understanding each other and respect. Husband or wife must understand the situation, help the other one and MUST show respect to him/her and the job. Cause our job is very hard job to do and it needs lots of respect beside the one who is working on it. Well...hmmm...i dunno
              "A good cop stays a rookie at heart, excited by every shift."
              Stay Safe, @NeoCop


              • #8
                If there is a tendency for cops to cheat or to get divorced, I think it has more to do with the type of personality that tends to go into law enforcement.

                I have noticed basically two types of cops when it comes to marriage and family; the type that will get divorced and remarried, and the type that seems more emotionally mature and devoted.

                Some of the cops on here I think will have seen the same things. You can just about spot it on a rookie when they come in the door. "That guy is gonna wind up divorced." or "That guy is gonna be alright."

                This job takes alot more devotion than most other jobs and some wives have a hard time understanding it and therefore may tend to resent it. But then again, some wives are more accepting of it.

                Some cops pay more attention to their job than thier marriage which contributes greatly to the problem.

                This work can be stressful which tends to make you want to go home to peace and quiet and stability which is not always possible. It is also an unreasonable expectation. I'll also be the first to say that it is not some much the "work" that makes you grind your teeth at night. Most cops I know can wade hip deep in scrotes all day and love it. What makes turns you into a stress ball is the BS that we put up with from other cops. Political backstabbing, infighting, beaurcratic BS....that's what makes you want to break things.

                There are alot more jobs that are more stressful than police work in general and that demand more time. I don't buy this, "It's the job." That's a "cop out" (pun intended).

                I was a cop before I got married, but when I did get married, my wife became a much higher priority than my job. Now that I have a family, that is my first responsiblity.

                Some cops make the mistake of loving their job which is the textbook example of a co-dependant relationship. "the job" CANNOT love you back. When you retire, they will ask for their uniforms back and there will be some new guy doing your job.

                I'd rather devote my emotional energy to a loving relationship where I will get more return on my investment. My wife and child do love me, and will return my love. They cannot be replaced in my life as I cannot be replaced in theirs.

                So to answer your question, NO, police work and marriage are not oil and water. But anytime you place something as a higher priority over your family realtionships, you're gonna get back exactly what you put into it.

                [ 08-18-2001: Message edited by: Sparky ]


                • #9
                  I think the infidelity rate and divorce rate is higher for alot of different reasons. yes i agree there is a certain type personality drawn to law enforcement, that is one reason. i was married to a police officer and went thru the infidelity/divorce thing. his personality was not the type i would think normally drawn to LE as he was very insecure. i've heard women say how "cocky" men are cheaters, well insecure men can be also, because any attention from a woman is exciting. and we all know that alot of women are drawn to the "uniform" and the excitement/power of the job itself, that's a fact. there arent a whole lotta professions with groupies ya know!

                  yes the shifts are hard on a marriage, and the moods are, and the things an officer has to go thru. i saw my husband come home and get physically ill a few times, change his shirt, and go back out to work. i saw him come home and cry, wash his face, and head back out. and for a long time he didnt talk about most of it. that's hard on both people. eventually he did open up, but the other problems were still there. and it was probably too late to save the marriage.

                  with his insecurities, he also felt the pressure to go out with the guys alot...bars, shift parties, etc. after i knew about the first affair, everytime he went out there was a battle because then there was no trust. he just didnt have the guts to say no to the other officers because he was always afraid he wouldnt get promoted, etc.

                  i think IF the officer is also a good person, with good values and wants to have his family intact; has the ability to say NO, and live his/her life in the best way for their own happiness and the family's, THEN the marriage could have a chance.

                  [ 08-18-2001: Message edited by: jellybean40 ]
                  "You did what you knew how to do...and when you knew better, you did better." ~~Maya Angelou


                  • #10
                    Marry a SOCIAL WORKER! The hours and on call are about the same. My wife really understands the overtime, shift changes, etc... When you remove kids, work sexual abuse cases, etc... you tend to know about the stress level your spouse is dealing with!

                    Marriage is no easy task anyway. It's just harder with all of the stress involved with this job! Morals make the difference in whether one cheats or does'nt cheat!


                    • #11
                      I am interested in the way it is for female officers. First, Ones who got married after becoming an officer and then the ones who were already married for years before they became officers. I have been married for 12 years and i think my marriage will survive but i am worried too that it might not because LE is so demanding a job. Neither of us has been with anybody else, not even as boyfriend or girlfriend. I think we have a bond but i also worry that my ambition and his tendency to not have any will cause problems on those days i will get called to work when scheduled off.
                      "To each his own"


                      • #12
                        Bumping for Frogman


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