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Married to the job

(37 Posts)
Ohvickytoria Fri 13-Oct-17 22:45:54

Whenever I'm asked the question 'so what does your husband do?', I cringe a little. Not through embarrassment, far from it, I'm incredibly proud of him in fact. I just know what's coming next... 'Ooo, I love a man in uniform', 'does he bring his handcuffs home?' 'Bet he's got a big truncheon..' said with a smirk. Then you get the other end of the spectrum with 'jokes' such as 'oh, better watch what I say!' 'has he tapped my phone?' Or 'quick, hide the drugs!'...I've heard it all, countless times.

These days I tend to mumble something about him being in security and leave it at it...

What people don't understand is that it's another way of life. Want to make plans? I'll check what shift he's doing. Are you coming out on Friday? I'll have to see what time he might be home. Is daddy eating with us tonight? Doubt it. Being 'married to the job' is not for the faint hearted. There are three people in our marriage - me, him and the force.

It's painfully difficult to not resent them, this sounds harsh, I know. What I mean is when you have to cancel plans, rearrange work commitments, put the children to bed on your own for the sixth time that week you can't help but have a little resentment seep in. This may read incredibly selfish, maybe it is, but sometimes you just want them at home.

When they're mid a 19 hour shift and you've not seen them for longer than 3 minutes in nearly a week, that's frustrating. The rushed phone calls are few and far between and are often abruptly ended with a 'I've got to go' when you're mid sentence - also frustrating. All the while they're in this 'force bubble' and you're on the outside. It can be a pretty lonely place on the outside and they're so busy with what they're doing, they're oblivious to the loneliness you're made to feel. They don't understand the importance of a simple 'I miss you' text message or how lovely it is to receive a 'are you and the children ok?' whatsapp when you've not spoken to them all day. This is not because they're arseholes who don't care or are uninterested, but because they are so engrossed in their work they forget that there are people at home who actually miss them so much whilst they're submerged in their world.

When he does finally come home, I've learnt not to bombard him. Despite wanting to tell him all the things that have been going on with the children and I over the past however many days, or want to ask him how is day was, I know I have to leave him be for a while. He needs to unwind, he probably needs to eat or sleep and doesn't need me chewing his ear off about things that may seem so mundane and unimportant in comparison to what he's being doing and dealing with. It's hard because he's my best friend and I want to tell him all the things, I want a hug, I'd like some attention but instead I keep it to myself, tell my girl friends or talk to my mum about the weekly happenings - which is counterproductive in a way as that than creates a distance, but why would he want to hear about my Aunty's friend's sisters dog when he's been dealing with some vile serious job on organised crime?

He's rubbish at switching off, his brain is constantly on the go and on the RARE occasion he has more than one rest day in a row, he can't rest. He always has to be doing. Even when he is at home his work phone is going off or someone from work is contacting him about something or other. He's there but he's not there. Sometimes I want to jump up and down and scream 'HELLO! WE'RE HERE TOO Y'KNOW!' (I actually have done this, it doesn't end well) but that's part and parcel of being married to the job I suppose. Even when he's here, he's not here.

Reading this you may think I'm all kinds of ungrateful for having such a hard working man, I assure you, I am not. I am eternally grateful for every extra hour he works, for every penny he earns for our family, for the house we live in and for the lives it's enabled us to lead. I'm simply trying to explain what it's like living it. It's about a healthy balance between work and home life and when you're married to a police officer, the balance is often skew-whiff.

I'm limited in what job I can do and what hours I work as his job dictates that. I'm solely responsible for every school run, morning and afternoon as there simply is nobody to help us other than me. This is tough as I end up working a job I don't particularly like but am stuck there until our children are of an age to get themselves to and from school. I'm in no way wishing their little lives away, but until that point, this is my life and that's the way it has to be. Ironically, he wouldn't be able to do the job he does or work the hours he works if it wasn't for me working around the children. My role as a wife and part-time working mother may not bring in the big bucks, but it is equally as important and I often feel like I have to remind him of this. Which is stupid, as of course he knows this, he doesn't need reminding of this. I'd like to say it's a team effort but I'm sure he feels like he's doing all the hard graft whilst I'm having a lovely time, but truthfully, I would be having a much lovelier time if he was more present and we saw him more.

I think that the hardest thing when married to somebody in the police, you more often than not feel like a single parent. Sports days, dinner time, school discos, stories before bed - you pretty much do it on your own. The children have never known any different, but it's tough when your daughter is in tears and asking if Daddy still lives here as she's not seen him in days on end. It works both ways, I'm sure he'd give anything to be there with them but there will always be a crime to solve, a baddie to catch or a drugs deal gone wrong...

It's mad that when he is actually off, I guarantee, a row will ensue. Maybe it's the pressure of making the most of the time? Maybe it's adjusting to him being around as the children and I have such a tight solid routine just the three of us? Maybe he doesn't know how to properly relax? Maybe he has guilt for wanting to relax but knows there's a whole list of jobs he'd like to be doing round the house but simply can't be arsed after working a 100+ hour week and why the hell should he?! Or maybe it's all of the above? I wish it wasn't that way, but sadly, when he is off the world can't just stop. There's always somewhere to be, something to do, a child needs dropping off or picking up and we can't fully enjoy that precious family time together. It's like we forget how to be a couple as we're so used to living as separate people. Again, frustrating and also pretty sad.

Sometimes I wish he had a 'normal' job, a 9-5 - home every evening and weekend - kind of job but he would hate it. His job is like a part of him, it doesn't define him as such, but it's all he's known since he was 18 and worked incredibly hard and already achieved so much at a young age. That makes me proud. He makes me proud.

The hardest part to swallow when you're married to someone in the force? You feel very low on the priority list. I'm not, and deep down I know I'm not, but on many occasion it's made me feel that way. At hospital, where is he? At work. Meant to be going out with friends, where is he? Stuck at work. That Saturday I'm meant to be working, yeah can't do it, he's at work. It's those times that it's frustrating, it's those times you're made to feel like the bottom on the list of priorities as work comes first. Me, my job, my plans....the police comes first. You just have to remind yourself that everything he does, he does for us. All those extra hours, he does for us. Whether it's to pay for a new house, a birthday, Christmas, new dining's all for us. It just seems wasted as I know he does it all for us, but what's the point if he's hardly ever here to reap the benefits of all his hard work?

I hate that his job causes friction, I hate this his job makes me resentful at times but it doesn't mean I'm not grateful or appreciative for it. Being 'married to the job' is accepting the long hours, accepting the tiredness, the shifts, the never really switching off from it...It's about being accepting - which I fully admit I'm not always accepting of those things. I married a man whom I love, I didn't marry his career but as I said earlier, there's three of us in this marriage and until the day he retires, there will always be three of us. Accept it and crack on or don't accept it and walk...well I'd rather have the little crumbs of him that I do get than not have him at all. So I'm happy to share him, I just wish I didn't have to share him as much...

MexicanBob Fri 13-Oct-17 22:57:13

FIL was both Navy & in the Police. MIL always said being a copper's wife was worse than being a sailor's. Hot a lot of help, I know but here's flowers.

MexicanBob Fri 13-Oct-17 22:58:04

*Not a lot..."

Forme2016 Fri 13-Oct-17 23:26:45

Yes, can totally relate to a lot of what your opening post said, except my STBXH has plenty of colleagues who manage to be much more involved in family life. There is an element of them choosing to prioritise the job. above he’s now my STBXH and his bloody shifts are still dictating my life in so far as he is unable (unwilling?) to commit to regular days and times to see his own children.

As for expecting him to include his pension in the divorce settlement- utterly unreasonable of me apparently. Oh, and the colleague 12 years his junior who he started a relationship with the week after leaving me...coincidence.

Sorry OP, that doesn’t help you at all, but just wanted to let you know that I recognise a lot of what you said.


Teabay Sat 14-Oct-17 01:21:29

You're amazing. I hope your children can do a similar career to the one your other half does, and you enable.

YOU'RE amazing - you don't get the praise or the salary, but he couldn't do it without you.

Ttbb Sat 14-Oct-17 01:25:21

This is pretty typical for a lot of industries, people may understand more than you think.

pigeondujour Sat 14-Oct-17 01:46:23

Luckily I haven't had many dealings with the police but one time I had to and they were both (a man and a woman) so incredibly kind to me. I kept thinking how lucky their partners were to have such lovely and brave spouses and then I did think what a bloody shame it was they were probably out all the time being kind to other people.

elsieferg Sat 14-Oct-17 07:01:39

I wasn’t going to post this, I didn’t even know if I wanted anybody to read it! It felt oddly cathartic though and decided to hit that little post button as someone out there may be feeling similar.
So apologies for the massive vent and thank you xx

Sarahisthename Sat 14-Oct-17 08:03:33


What other industries is this typical?

I can see Perhaps armed forces , medical, doctors nurses , paramedics...
But not sure which other industries except staff to deal with physical confrontations, render medical assistance, deal with mental health situations, fatal traffic accidents , work shifts , have restrictions on activities staff can undertake outside of work, force staff to cancel days off, be forced to work a shift 18 plus hours ... and take a kicking from a lowlife which will invariably be filmed and what’s apped around the local estate within 10 minutes...
Typical of lots of industries I’m sure ... hmm

Wintertimes5 Sat 14-Oct-17 08:09:11

I am a social worker and you just have to make time for your family. I have no choice as we both work, lots of children, minimal family help. He has to have boundaries.

Wintertimes5 Sat 14-Oct-17 08:10:34

You should never be so engrossed in work you can't message your family all week. There is an element of choice in what he is doing to you.

Tinkerbec Sat 14-Oct-17 08:13:25

I think they meant the hours and feeling lonely, as the one only one at home doing the mundane tasks of the day and keeping it together.
Not the pressures of the job itself which we all know is very difficult. ie the perspective of the partner not the one in the job.

Wintertimes5 Sat 14-Oct-17 08:18:43

I want to hear what my husband is doing even when he was a SAHD. It doesn't sound like he is being very considerate at all. It is always career men and not career women who does this.

Wintertimes5 Sat 14-Oct-17 08:24:37

I am also.ex forces and again it is was only ever men that did this...We had single mums in there, but they can always manage to be more present for their children. Men like this make me so annoyed.

wizzywig Sat 14-Oct-17 08:36:28

Hi op, you arent alone. Wife of an nhs worker here. 14 years in and most days its fine. Sometimes though you want to be the most important person in their world

ohvickytoria Sat 14-Oct-17 08:36:31

Please don’t think I was tarring all officers with the same brush, this is just my personal experience.
It’s tricky as he genuinely is a wonderful guy, but this serious organised crime role he is in is insane. The things that go on in this world and are kept out of the media is pretty terrifying!
And I completely agreed, i don’t think he has a handle on work/life balance, he needs to sort that shit out.

Wintertimes5 Sat 14-Oct-17 08:41:01

Unfortunately op you will find a lot of men don't want to sort out work/life balance. I was in a male dominated profession in the forces and now am the breadwinner. It doesn't have to be this way.

Hellywelly10 Sat 14-Oct-17 08:49:09

Your husband needs to learn how to switch off. I work in the public sector were all under unprecedented levels of stress. I don't look at my phone all day. You need to make a life for yourself and do some things for you xxx

PinkyBlunder Sat 14-Oct-17 09:07:00

My DH has not long left the constabulary for pastures new. I cannot even express what a relief it is!

flowers to you my lovely. It is a tough tough life

Deedee0208 Sat 14-Oct-17 15:59:32

My hubby does 8 till 3 and still does nothing at home, his spent today sitting by the pond in garden smoking and watching films on iPad, I’m doing everything indoors cleaning bedding school uniforms the lot and I have long term illness so doing most of it in pain, just been out there and told him were to go, so his home but not Home if that makes sense x

Desmondo2016 Sat 14-Oct-17 16:03:17

Me and my husband are both in the same job as you describe and both in particularly intensive roles within that so it could be assumed that we had even more issues making the family side of things work. But we just don't because we both know how to prioritise, when to sacrifice one for the other and when not to, and we fully understand and have faith in the other that however career driven we are, whenever we are asleep instead of being with the family or whenever we are at a situation we just cannot get up and leave we would truly rather be at home with each other and the kids. The issue is not the job, it's his management of it and lack of prioritising of other things.

harlandgoddard Sat 14-Oct-17 16:12:33

I work 15 hour shifts in a sometimes very stressful job, and I would think nothing of coming home and asking DP about his very boring day playing at the swings or feeding the ducks. I sometimes come home from a night shift and have to entertain my 2 year old all day. What’s all this he needs to unwind bollocks? What about you? I’m sorry OP it sounds shit but I really don’t think it’s all about the job, it’s about where his priorities lie.

If a day at work genuinely left me unable to interact with my family week after week I’d be looking for another job.

PrincessPlod Sat 14-Oct-17 16:30:41

I’m married to a police officer but I’m also one myself. I get the being stressed and long shifts but we still ask each other about our days. We also try to enjoy family time, if you do think of something you need to do at work just write it down and deal with it when your in.

We both make an effort to go to parents evenings, sport days and insure Kids don’t miss out on attending parties. We also spend a lot of time apart and actually only get 1 or 2 days together every 10 as a couple. It’s what we signed up for.

Christmas can suck if we are both working me being in on early and him on a late but our parents make it special for the kids. They are proud of us and they are very balanced kids.

StealthPolarBear Sat 14-Oct-17 16:42:41

Surely he's fundamentally unable to be a parent? He's chosen to commit to some thing long term which is unmanageable with also being a father

scottishdiem Sat 14-Oct-17 17:35:19

I think he needs some professional help to create a gap between work and home. He is going to burn out and you resent him (although is this all since you married and had kids - generally how a man is prior to marriage and kids is going to be the default position once those two things happen, the dont change them. Was he like this then and did you talk about his hours prior to having kids).

He needs to see there are alternatives to how he does things right now and that he should be taking those alternatives to be a husband and a father.

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