Police wives often worry about “badge bunnies” and female partners. Long hours in the same car for multiple shifts, working scenes together, and having inside jokes. It’s the stuff of nightmares thanks to the green-eyed monster.
However, whether you’re new to the police wife life or a seasoned veteran, you will quickly realize that a female partner is not the one you should be jealous of.
Margaret Atwood once said, “You can only be jealous of someone who has something you think you ought to have yourself.” Growing up, I was never really the jealous type. In school, I had a small group of friends, got all A’s and B’s, played sports, and was in band. I got along with all of the students in my grade from jocks to nerds to burn outs. I was competitive in sports, but I never felt the need to compete for someone’s attention.
Fast forward to college, where I met Mr. Troop. I saw him on the first day of class and went home to call my best friend and tell her I found a boy I was determined to go on a date with. (Fun fact- I’m a huge introvert, so I don’t know how I planned on making this happen, I just knew it needed to happen.) After a few dates, I called my best friend to tell her I was certain this was going to be the man I would marry. Still, I was not a jealous person. We broke up for a while, got back together, and got married. Still, I was not a jealous person.
The moment Mr. Troop began his life as a trooper, I became a jealous person. I was not jealous of someone. I was jealous of the job. The “someone” Atwood referred to was police work. What did she have that I didn’t? Why on earth would someone be jealous of an abstract idea? How do you get over being jealous of something you know you cannot change?
What does she have that you don’t? Your officer’s full attention. Even when they’re off duty, they’re on duty. You know that cases are constantly going through their head. Their peers are always calling or texting to ask for details on a case they worked together or asking for them to cover a shift last minute. Court is always making its way into your daily life and changing plans. You’ve suddenly gone from being in control to never knowing what your schedule might look like. All you know is that your officer’s new mistress is the job, and you’re a little jealous.
But, you may realize that being jealous of a job makes you seem crazy, so you laugh it off and move on with your day. You become used to the job and you find ways to work around schedule changes and constantly being on call. Your life goes back to normal and you feel good about your relationship again, and then…
Along with the job comes the partners. Your officer may have a partner that they work with consistently or they may have shift partners. Mr. Troop has a ‘partner’ when he is training someone, but when he’s not, he’s in his car by himself. Instead, the rest of his partners work his rotation and will join him on scene when necessary. These are the people that start to know your officer better than you know your officer. They seem to have more to talk about, and they are in constant contact both at work and at home.
This jealousy is a little harder to shake. In the age of technology, people are just a touch away and so many relationships are falling out because of technology. If your officer is like mine, they have built great relationships with their rotations. They go on outings, they have group chats, they’ve got inside jokes, and you are starting to feel left out.
As F. Sagan said, “To jealousy, nothing is more frightful than laughter,” and I feel that so much sometimes. Often times I refer to Mr. Troop’s work buddies as his mistress or work wives because he seems more dedicated to them at times. This is the one that I’ve had the hardest time dealing with. In this job, your peers see you in many different states. They handle situations differently than non-law enforcement workers would ever know how to handle. They joke about things that we could never fathom of joking about. But, they know how to deal with each other when times get tough and they’ve built a bond that we will never fully understand.
So, when you’re having a rough day and you just feel like the connection is barely hanging on between you and your officer, the last thing you want to hear is a *ding* followed by laughter because it makes you insecure. It makes you wonder what they have that you don’t. It makes you want to smack every single one of them because you wish you had that bond with your officer.
But, you just have to realize that your bond is different. Every single person has many different sides to them and you get a different side. You get to be there when your officer is vulnerable because it’s a trait they can’t have a work. Their work buddies get the crude humor and the crass comments, but that’s not who you get. If you’re lucky, you get a little bit of every side of your officer, but you get the best sides.
You have to find out what you’re jealous of. Are you jealous of the job? Are you jealous of a partner? Is it a combination? Whatever it is, you need to identify it. Once you’ve identified it, you need to own up to it. If you’re jealous of the job, understand that things might change, but you signed up for this. Don’t throw in the towel with the old, “I didn’t sign up for this” bit. This lifestyle doesn’t come with a handbook, but it comes with enough warnings when your officer is going through interviews, recruit school, and training.
If you’re jealous of the partner(s), understand that they know things you will never know. They have experienced things with your officer that you may never experience. Your officer isn’t going to share every detail of every call they go to. Because a) it may be something difficult for them to handle and b) it’s work and I’m sure you don’t share every detail about your day with your officer.
Understand that there are others out here struggling with this same monster. Some of us are beating the monster because we’re not afraid of a little competition. Some of us are losing the battle because we are cracking under pressure and not owning our problems. Maya Angelou stated, “Jealousy in romance is like salt in food. A little can enhance the savor, but too much can spoil the pleasure and, under certain circumstances, can be life-threatening.” Don’t let the job ruin your relationship. There are much bigger struggles you will face in life other than a little jealousy.