I too also tend to think of everyone in my husband's PD circle as suspect. His affair was with another officer and other officers new about it. I feel like being a police officer taught him how to lie, deceive and position the truth to suit him. He became a different person when he joined 3 years ago.
[This message edited by mplpmom at 9:09 PM, April 1st (Thursday)]
I don't think it's fair to blame his A on the job; yes, I'm sure he's a different person since he joined the force; I'm sure you are a different wife now that you are the wife of a PO (it's a 'job' that many women cannot handle); but I know plenty of LEOs who remained faithful to their spouses. Infidelity is rife in the world, not just with LEOs.
My stbx was both a PO and a CO; the prison where he now works is a sewer of infidelity but he didn't have to fall into the pit with the rest of them; the job did not cause him to cheat; he chose to do that. He always disparaged the cheaters that he worked with; now he's one of them; it's a flaw in his character, not a consequence of the job.
The thing to understand is that people who work in law enforcement (and similar professions) do have stressful jobs; and as others have mentioned, there are confidentiality issues. Although the duties may be different between corrections and police, there are similarities.
Many times, you have a partner or a team with whom you work closely. The group is usually a very tight-knit group. They have to be; these are the very people they count on. Your partner is the one you count on to save your life, if it comes to that. You have to build trust with your partner, and there are many ways to accomplish that. Joking around, practical jokes, stories about past incidents... it creates a very unique bond.
The environment is totally different in these fields. You are expected to put on a strong face for the public. Given the fact that many officers work 12-hour shifts, there sometimes is a need for a release before that time is up. Who do they turn to? Their partners, the people they trust. A lot of times we sit around and make off-colored jokes about situations, things that would not be accepted by the general population. It is one way to deal with the harshness of the job, to make it less serious. It's not that officers are totally insensitive, it's just one of the few ways they know how to deal with the stress. Your average officer will NOT pursue counseling. Most will deny their problems, say they are dealing just fine.
Sometimes when officers are involved in critical incidents, they do not get the help they need and things can spiral out of control. I think this is one opportunity a spouse can take to get the ball rolling on IC for an officer. Encourage them to go to the Critical Incident Stress Debriefing. Talk to them and encourage them at this time to get more help. The longer they wait, unfortunately, the less likely I think they will be to get that help.
Do not count on their superiors or their co-workers to hold them to any standard of responsibility to their families. It won't happen. Some of the higher-up people are on more of a power trip, KISA situation than the officers themselves. They are in a position of power, and some do abuse it.
If I can give any piece of advice to a spouse of an officer it would be this: BE PRESENT. Take some time to visit the station on a regular basis. Most law enforcement centers are very family-friendly, from what I've seen. You would be surprised how happy they are to see a different face once in a while. It also puts a face to the name for everyone your spouse works with. They will most likely bend over backwards to accept you and welcome you. I don't know how all jurisdictions work, but ours welcomes spouses to do ride-alongs with their officers now and again. They also let the dispatchers and jailers, etc., do the same. It's not like you have to do this every night....but a couple of times a year, go hang out with your officer and be seen. If you can't do this, then have lunch with them, or take them lunch if they are in corrections. Meet your officer for coffee, if they do this nightly. They are trying to get officers away from doing that, but some places still do. It could be said that this advice could go for any occupation, and that is true.
It is incredibly hard to maintain outside relationships once you are in law enforcement. Not many of your non-law enforcement friends want to spend the night hanging out on a Tuesday or Wednesday (the only nights you might have off). You miss weekend get-togethers, birthdays, Christmases, you name it. It's a different atmosphere. We generally turn to the people who understand. They are generally the people we work with.
When you work with the general public all day, day after day, it gets harder and harder to deal with your own problems. You don't want to go home and deal with more crap. Some officers do look for an escape from that. My solution was more one of isolating myself from others. I enjoy the quiet of my home, and don't really feel like going out and socializing all the time. I'm sure there is a happy medium, it's just hard to find it when you are stuffing your emotions.
As you can see, I don't really have the answers here. I just thought I would offer some insight and maybe help someone understand the environment you are dealing with a little better.
I agree with the poster who mentioned the book, "I Love a Cop." Read it.
He joined the corrections 10 years ago--12 years after he had to retire from the PD. The prison he now works in is a cesspool of infidelity and corruption but he jumped into his As with both eyes open--no one made him do it.
rottenkitty--I cannot visit him at work; it is not allowed, and he is not allowed a meal break. They have to eat on duty when the opportunity presents itself, which does not alway happen. He rarely socialized with his coworkers--he claimed that he had no respect for most of them. His downfall was his need for stroking, which he received from the nurses--he works in the prison hospital. He is a KISA. He has subsequently become involved with his supervisor (now former supervisor; she has changed shifts.)
He is broken, and it's not because of the jobs.
He swears his OW was transferred and I have no way of verifying this, other than asking her myself (which I WILL NOT do.) It causes me lots of sleepless nights, but since he is SO transparent about EVERYTHING, I have to believe him, but it's so hard.
I'd love to walk away
And pull myself out of the rain
But I cant leave without you
I'd love to live without
The constant fear and endless doubt
But I can't live without you
[This message edited by mplpmom at 9:07 PM, April 1st (Thursday)]
A WIDOW came to our S-Anon 12 step group (for partners of sex addicts) and found out her beloved PO husband of 25 years died of a heart attack while f-ing a stripper/prostitute... he'd been over-doing his viagra, also...she had NO IDEA he was lying and had this doubl life...
How hideous is that!? And she had no idea what to do w/ her anger/grief, as she couldn't confront a dead man!
He's having surgery on an injury gotten on the job. I pray every night for 3 quarters, and so does he because he knows how desperately I need him out of that environment.
Thanks for asking.
Did your stbxwh have an A with a coworker?
At least your H is trying to find his way back.
Allgoodnamesgone summed it up pretty well above. Zero accountability - unlimited opportunity. Plus a whole team who have your back and would cover for you no matter what.
[This message edited by mplpmom at 9:26 PM, April 1st (Thursday)]
I KWYM about the job; it's very difficult to be a LEO's spouse; I used to equate it to emotional blackmail. You can never let them leave the house when you are angry because you don't know if you'll ever see them again.
stbxwh was seriously injured (head injury) and had to retire; yes, he got 3/4s but it's a double-edged sword. He had to give up the only job he ever loved.
My story is in my journal if you care to read it. I was a very proud NYPD wife; he even had a female partner and that never bothered me.
Please feel free to PM me if you have any questions or just need someone to talk to who has BTDT. Even though we are divorcing, we had 38 years together (36 happy-or so I thought).
I don‘t recognize the things some claim the PD “teaches” it’s officers. I was never told that being a liar and a manipulator was a requirement nor that it would make the job easier. Nor that I could get away with speeding or breaking the law. In fact – once I joined I was warned that I would be judged and scrutinized by others in society so I better stay within the law and omit things that others see as normal. Things like having a beer in public, smoking in public, littering, speeding, illegal parking… these were all things I was seriously warned against.
I can also say that I personally fined a colleague for speeding. Recently a detective in my old precinct lost his badge for driving under the influence. Wearing the blue carries few privileges. This is reality not Serpico.
And I was DEFINITELY warned that my actions have consequences. That’s one of the main reasons lying isn’t such a good idea. I was reminded of that each and every time I had to give testimony in court. My actions had the consequence that someone went to jail. I had to be very clear that I was correct in my actions. That’s why we have procedures and requirements for basically each and every action that can have legal consequences.
And believe me – there are enough authority haters out there monitoring the police.
I want to stress some simple facts about LEO and infidelity:
If you read here on SI then you will see that irrespective of profession the absolutely single most common place WS and OP meet initially is work. Does not matter wheter that work-site is an office, restaurant or a precinct. LEO are no exception.
LEO do not have free reign of their time while on shift. Cars and patrols are monitored and there is significant work being done. They can’s simply hide behind a billboard for a quick one. A LEO having an affair will do it the same way as an office-manager or a pastry cook having an affair. He/she will sneak time in their private car after or before work or go to a motel or do whatever they do. A LEO will not have a private love-nest in the locker-room. And just like the office manager or cook the LEO will lie to the spouse about doing overtime, social events and so on.
Probably no profession whatsoever has been as extensively researched to determine the effect of the job as LEO. It’s acknowledged through repeated and extensive research that the job has immense negative impact on families and family life and it’s also acknowledged that the divorce rate of LEO is noticeably higher than average. But there is NO EVIDENCE AT ALL that infidelity is more common with LEO than other professions. In fact research has shown that educators and medical staff are more likely to have affairs than most.
I said most of this in an earlier post but it bears repeating:
The most interesting theory (and the one many professionals focus on) is that the unique nature of the job places a certain type of emotional and physical stress on both the officer and the spouse. The officer might be sitting in his/her car one minute and facing a knife the next. Or trying to be calm and comforting to someone crushed inside a wrecked car. Then an hour later he/she has to be home cooking hamburgers for the kids… The spouse might hear on the news about a shooting or hear sirens…
The uncertainty of the job has negative impact on both. Add to that the effects of irregular hours, the social environment and other factors and you have a deadly cocktail for a marriage.
The “interesting” thing about this stress is that it affects BOTH the spouse and the officer. I have noticed that when one considers the gender division here on SI (significantly more women post) then there are a surprising number of serving military personnel and law-enforcement officers posting as BS. To me this supports what I read in surveys and research in that the unique stress affects BOTH spouses.
Finally: an experienced officer is an asset and an unstable officer is a liability. Forces all over the world have placed immense emphasis on holding on to their veterans. Since a happy family life is important to being a happy and content person then generally police officers and their spouses have good access to MC and professional support. Often the spouse of the officer can initiate and access this support. If you are married to a law-enforcement officer (or are one) then I strongly suggest you see what support you are offered.
However, he was broken; I trace it back to his losing his job as a PO, not being a PO. He lost the only job he ever loved and became depressed. I think the depression wore him down. He needed to have his ego stroked by as many women as he could. The nurses in the prison served that function and became his APs. It would have happened anywhere.
He has always had female friends, more so than male friends; he even had a female partner in the PD; I NEVER worried about him; I knew he was faithful. Until three years ago when all hell broke loose.
The only slightly derogatory thing I can say about being the spouse of a LEO is that you can't have a fight; if you let them leave the house angry, you worry that you may never get the chance to make up again; it happened to me. He did recover, but never fully. It was a horrible experience, but I would not give up the chance for him to have been a PO for anything, even if we had to suffer the accident.
Hope I didn't ramble too much.
And, what I was saying is not that the A is necessarily occuring on work time, I'm saying that given the lack of any real routine with the hours, it's easy to squeeze an A in there & have it go unnoticed for a lengthy period of time. It's not like it's a 9 to 5 job - if that was the case, if ws isn't home by 6, one would question. No, with law enforcement, it's "looks like I have an arrest, I'm gonna get stuck here a while" or the ws taking lost time or just not going to work (& using a vacation day) & there is no reason for the spouse to know the difference unless you are in the habit of scrutinizing ws' paystub for details.
I work, and I guess if I wanted to have an A I could make up a whole bunch of excuses - but on a regular basis? I dont think it would be as successful. Plus, I would neve be able to come up with an excuse that would justify me being out of the house overnight!
And, there's the issue of phone contact - with other jobs if a bs calls ws at their place of employment & he's not there -well that answers a lot of questions, doesnt it? No such thing with law enforcement - all you have to contact them is their cell phone - which would be low on batteries, left in the patrol car, no service in the area, blah blah blah.
And, yes, the stress of law enforcement affects the family too - I dont have the same days off as my h, he's not going to be home for Easter, I have to manage all of our kids activities (all of which can occur at the same time/day) without a partner - so that sucks too.
No one is attacking law enforcement officers as people. I think law enforcement officers do things most people wouldn't do everyday & should be commended for it. Having said that, I hate everything to do with my husband's job & can't wait until he retires.