Relationship Issues in Law Enforcement
|The divorce rate for law enforcement officers in the United States is estimated to be as high as 68%. Let's take a look at the most frequent problems I often hear from officers and their families. . .
According to the US Department of Labor, in 1999, the following occupations had more deaths per 100,000 workers than law enforcement: commercial fishermen, timber cutters, pilots, construction laborers, garbage collectors, truck drivers and electricians. In 2000, 135 officers were killed in the line of duty out of 663,535 sworn state and local law enforcement officers, which averages to about 19 officers per 100,000 http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel01/leoka112601.htm. There were 1176 car accidents involving injury or death per 100,000 drivers in the year 2000 http://www.car-accidents.com/pages/stats/2000_killed.html. Therefore, it is 62 times more dangerous to drive a civilian vehicle than to be a cop.
There is no doubt that an officer's job is dangerous, but unlike the average unaware civilian, officers approach all situations with vigilance and caution. They are trained and prepared to handle dangerous situations. How much danger is there in the chronic stress that builds up when this same person is faced with a job s/he hates and is stuck going to each day. More than 80% of illnesses and injuries are stress related. Everything is dangerous, is it worth being unhappy to boot?
Erratic work schedule
There are a few things that can be done to ease this complaint. First, communicate. Acknowledge your partner's fears and feelings. Even if nothing can be done to change the situation, if your partner feels heard and understood you will notice a big change. Brainstorm solutions. I have noticed that a lot of officers tend to hoard their comp-time. Granted, it is nice to save some for an emergency, but it will not do you much good if you lose your family in the process. Take a long weekend periodically. Set aside an hour every day that you can spend time with your family, even if it is just a mealtime. Call home just to say "hi."
Financial problems are one of the biggest causes of arguments and divorce. Hopefully, you went into your career and your spouse went into the marriage with a clear understanding of what the financial picture would be. If these arguments are frequent, look to see if there are underlying issues. Are you trying to buy happiness? Is your self-worth based on being the primary breadwinner? Are you working overtime because you have to, because you are trying to get out of the house, or because you hope if you make enough extra money your spouse will finally be happy?
Again, considering what the real issues are and communicating openly will go a long way toward improving your relationship.
Kids act out
The more stress there is in your relationship because of your kids, the more stress there is in your relationship, period.
There is not a magic formula for staying married, but open, honest, constructive communication will go a long way to preventing unnecessary stress.
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