“Hey, how was your day?”
Totally innocuous question, right?
Not for a cop.
Sometimes, their days have been good. They’ll have a good story to tell and be in a good mood. Those are awesome days, and they don’t come often enough.
More often than not, you’ll get a grunt and something to the extent of “same as usual.”
Sometimes, something happened during their day that’s going to scar them forever and they’re not going to want to talk, at all. That thing – whatever it is – could make them more affectionate and want to be closer to you and your kids. Or, they could want to close off for a bit and process what happened alone.
But that thing that’s scarred them? They don’t want to share it with you – or, likely, anyone. Because let’s face it, he sees some awful stuff every day, and they’re things most people just don’t want to hear about.
And, for that matter, he doesn’t exactly feel like reliving it.
So what can you do when your husband doesn’t want to talk?
Don’t push him to talk about his day.
Okay, so, I know it sucks when your husband doesn’t want to talk to you about something. It sucks to feel like you’re being kept out of any part of his life.
But if what’s bugging him is work-related, let him work through it at his own pace and in his own way.
Seriously – there are things your husband deals with every day that you do not want to hear about, and pushing him to talk isn’t going to end well.
Ask me how I know.
While you should absolutely ask if he wants to talk about it, if he says no, don’t push it. After a while, you’ll come to know your husband’s behavior well enough to know exactly what he needs – but ask until then, because it’ll show him you’re there, and make you feel better that you at least tried.
Just be there.
You don’t need to talk to support your husband (even if that’s your first impulse. Instead, support him in the way he needs at the time.
If he needs space, give him some space. If he wants you to cuddle him, cuddle him. If you’re not sure what to do, get him a beer. (mostly kidding.)
Even if he doesn’t immediately brighten up and exude gratitude, he’ll feel it. It’s going to make a difference.
Try not to get too annoyed with him if he doesn’t respond the way you imagined he would. Trust me, I understand the letdown sometimes – but try to show him grace if he’s really struggling. You can always address it later if it still bothers you.
By the way, if you’re feeling helpless, that’s completely normal. It’s not pleasant, but it’s just a sign of being a loving wife that you wish you could do more to help him. Realize that you can only do so much and know that if you’re trying, you haven’t failed yet.
Remember that it’s not about you.
He’s not keeping things from you because he doesn’t love or trust you enough. It’s not because you screwed up or because of anything you’ve done.
The reason he wants to keep that part of his life to himself is in part because he loves you. He wants to protect you.
There’s also a large part of him that does not want to relive what he’s been through. He’d prefer to forget about it, because there are so many things he sees that are worse than he’d ever imagined. They’re things that nobody should ever have to see, let alone repeat and talk about… but that’s unfortunately the nature of his job.
Please don’t take your husband’s silence personally – because it really, truly isn’t about you.
This is possibly one of the hardest things you’re going to deal with as a police wife – but with a little patience and understanding, you can make it through and be an even stronger couple for it.