The proximity issue is actually a twofold problem for cops. Like the professions of the rich and famous that demand much of their time, while placing them up close and personal with admiring hordes, policing presents unique risks to a relationship. The job can put physical and, if you are not careful, emotional space between officer and spouse with its often long and unusual hours. Conversely, it can put you in very close contact with attractive coworkers, with whom you share common schedules, traits and experiences, and citizens you get used to seeing and visiting with every day as you cover your beat. And there is nothing wrong with going car-to-car with that colleague or befriending the sweet waitress at your favorite lunch stop or coffee shop, unless the friendship develops into greater emotional intimacy. When that happens, emotional connections develop that will supplant those between the officer and his or her spouse. Even if the emotional affair never turns physical (although it likely will) the damage to the officer's relationship at home has already been done.
In the town Mike works we have a central downtown filled with excellent restaurants, bars, and upscale shopping. It is very crowded and popular during the summer months attracting people of all ages, including the young, beautiful college co-ed. It was not uncommon when Mike was working late evening and very early morning hours that he and other officers would receive a lot of attention, flirting, and even outright propositions from these ladies. Mike knew from experience that if he was out of uniform, these same ladies would never notice him in his polo shirts, jeans or khaki shorts, and white trainers. He knew it had nothing to do with him; the badge (or what it represented) was far sexier than he had ever been accused of being! So, if Mike was the wandering type and wanted to have an affair, the picking would have been easy. Police officers have fans and followers of the opposite sex: Groupies, otherwise known as badge bunnies.
In fact, there are complete websites devoted to women and men in the pursuit of dating and marrying a cop. The allure of the badge is so powerful to the extremists in this subculture even your wedding ring is not a deterrent. All they see is the pursuit of the uniform. In fact some extremists plan to trap the officer through planned pregnancy thinking it will force you to stay in their lives. Badge bunnies offer a serious risk to LEOs staying faithful to their partner. Whether you are in a committed relationship or not, run very far away from the bunny for they will only bring you chaos, heartache, and have been known to ruin many a career.
A unique bonus and feature of your job is the repetitive adrenaline rushes. As much as they offer a rush of emotions and energy at the beginning of the adrenaline release they also cause the emotions to plummet after. Adrenaline is released whenever an officer needs to be hyper-vigilant in a job duty. The adrenaline allows the officer to be keenly aware of small details that keep him safe, for instance when weaving around traffic and watching for pedestrians while running hot to a call. The emotions feel good and the adrenaline rush makes the officer feel alive. However, what goes up must come down. By the time the officer arrives home, the adrenaline has worn off and feelings of boredom, and possibly even emptiness, begin to settle in as the body rebounds. However, repetitive adrenaline dumps take a harsh affect on the emotions and can leave an officer in a constant state of loneliness, frustration, and boredom. If an officer is not aware why the emotions are there they often mistake these emotions as something needing to be fixed. Officers will often chase the adrenaline rush to feel good again through risky behaviors. If an intimate relationship is not going well in their life or suffering, and they feel empty, the riskiness of an affair offers an adrenaline rush and feelings of affirmation.
Working out tough relationship issues is neither fun nor exciting but starting a new relationship fresh, even illicitly and at the peril of home and family, can be. But is it worth the risk? Are you ready to lose everything you value? And if you think it will never happen to you, remember there are many before you who thought the exact same thing. Next month we will continue on this topic by exploring tactics to safeguard your relationship from affairs.