male and female police officer
Law Enforcement

What You Need to Know About Dating a Police Officer

Are you dating a police officer and you’re not sure what to expect? We all know that dating a police officer has its challenges, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t date one if you’re willing to put in some extra effort. Here are five things every potential partner should know about dating a police officer.

You must learn to be flexible.

If you are looking for a relationship with any degree of consistency, you won’t find it in this relationship. Between shifts that run late unexpectedly, strange schedules, and many holidays and weekends spent alone, your officer’s schedule can be frustrating. Police officers deal with a lot of challenges, and that sometimes means your significant other will not be home when you expected them to be. Their job can be very demanding, so if you are looking for an early night cuddle or you have planned the best surprise date night, there are times you just might have to wait for another day.

As someone dating a police officer, flexibility and adaptability is key. Sometimes, this will mean you will need to learn to make the most of your time alone. Because of the demands of your officer’s job, you will need to learn to adjust to unexpected circumstances. If you are willing to put in a little time and effort, there are many ways to make it work. And who knows, while you undoubtedly love to spend time with your officer, you may come to find that you enjoy your alone time.

In this relationship, it will be important to prioritize quality time together. This might mean planning time together weeks in advance. Don’t be afraid to reschedule your plans if they get derailed due to unforeseeable circumstances. Remember that date nights don’t always have to be a big, flashy affair. You can find ways to spend time with your officer every day, even if it’s only for fifteen minutes. As a result, your relationship will be strengthened, allowing you and your officer to better handle the hurdles that their job can sometimes throw at you.

police officer

They are always a police officer.

Once a police officer, always a police officer. Being a police officer is not just a job, it is a lifestyle. Your officer will be a first responder whether he is on the clock or not. It is not something he will be able to turn off. This means your officer will likely always be aware of what is going on around them. When something happens, they will not be able to idly stand by and watch. This also means your officer will be prepared for anything by strategically placing themselves in the seat with the best tactical advantage, carrying their gun everywhere they go, and always having emergency first aid kits with them.

There is no doubt it can be frustrating and exhausting at times. But if you begin to look at the positives, it can become something you appreciate about them. You can learn to appreciate their desire to change seats in a restaurant, the financial investment in emergency supplies, or the extra time it takes to make sure their gun is on them. The truth is, there is a sense of security that can come with knowing that your officer is always on the lookout for you and other’s safety.

Their job is dangerous and exhausting

If you have found yourself dating a police officer, you may find that they do not always want to talk about their day. Try not to take it personally. Sometimes, your officer needs more time to process what has happened on their shift. Other times, they may have seen or experienced something no one should have to see or experience. Because of this, they may find it hard to talk about what happened or they might be protecting you from what they experienced. And the truth is, there are some things your officer deals with that you just don’t want to hear. Whatever the case may be, it is important not to force conversations.

The good news is there are many ways to support your officer besides talking about their day. If your officer needs space to process, you can give them space. Sometimes, offering comfort through their favorite meal or activity might be helpful. And there are times that just being there with them might be the best thing.

I know their silence can sometimes be frustrating and leave you feeling helpless or alone. The important thing to always remember is that their silence is not about you. There is nothing you did or didn’t do that has caused your officer to not confide in you. There is a good chance he just doesn’t want to relive what he has been through, wants to forget it altogether, or maybe he just simply wants to protect you. And with a little patience and understanding, you can learn to navigate through these challenging moments and become an even stronger couple because of it.

police car

You Can’t Let Other People Get To you.     

Now days, anywhere you look someone has an opinion about something- your officer being at the top of that list. There are times it may feel nearly impossible to sit back and watch all the hatred being directed towards the officer you are dating. Engaging in it won’t help anything either. It will not change anyone’s opinion and it most certainly will not make you feel better. The reality is their comments have more to do with them than they do you or your officer. This is why it can be really important to maintain healthy boundaries when dating a police officer.

This might mean having to take a step back from social media at times. It can also look like placing limits around the time you spend watching the news or other political reports. Maintaining healthy boundaries can sometimes require stepping back from certain relationships. And sometimes, those relationships could be with people who were once your friends, or they may even be your family. In the end, it boils down to the fact that you will not be able to control what other people say and do. You can only control how you respond to it. Instead of getting lost in the negativity, focus on the relationship you have with your officer and surround yourself with people who truly care about you.

You must take care of yourself

When dating a police officer, it will be important to prioritize self-care. Your officer’s job will take a toll on them physically, mentally, and emotionally at times. As a result, it can unintentionally get passed on to you. Therefore, becoming disciplined in taking care of yourself well will become essential.

So, what exactly does taking care of yourself well look like? For some taking a bubble bath or getting a massage might come to mind. While these are not bad things, self-care is something much more than that. Self-care is not something that just happens. It is something that is done intentionally and with a purpose. It is also wholistic. This means that when you practice good self-care, you are meeting your physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual needs well. When you make caring for yourself a priority, it benefits your relationships and allows them to thrive.

police officer's back

In summary, dating a police officer can be hard and overwhelming, but It Is worth it for the right person. It really comes down to whether or not your officer is the right person for you. If they are, despite the difficulties of being in a relationship with someone who is a police officer, it will be worth making it work. You just need to know what you’re getting into before giving your heart and life over to them.

For more information, check out this Ultimate Guide to Being a Police Officer’s Wife.

Leslie is a licensed professional counselor. She works as a therapist at a marriage intensive retreat center. She is also a foster mom and police wife. Her and her husband live in Missouri with their two teenage sons and three dogs.