This is a post that has been in my draft folder for months. It is one I should have written sooner- way sooner.
Divorce rates among law enforcement marriage is a topic that our community hears about all the time.
Nearly every week when I scroll Facebook or in a closed group for law enforcement wives, I see posts starting with “given the high divorce rate for law enforcement…..”. Or I receive DMs on social media from police girlfriends/fiancés about how to prepare their relationship given the “current statistics”.
These posts break my heart every. single. time. Why?
Because the majority of everything you are hearing/reading regarding divorce in law enforcement is FALSE!
So let’s break it down and talk about how those myths started, what CURRENT research says and why those myths need to be debunked.
The real truth about police divorce rates:
Know the facts.
Years ago a very small study came out (in the 60’s and 70’s) saying that police officers had one of the highest rates of divorce. Some people have even quoted rates as high as 75% (I have seen this numerous times). And sadly, to this day I still read/hear of people throwing out this extremely high rate of divorce.
In Cyndi Doyle’s Podcast Code 4 Couples Episode 60, she actually myth busts this very topic and says that this very old research was “done in limited geographic regions or research was limited to one very small department. You can not do a study with just one department”. She later goes on to say that “the divorce rate for law enforcement is a MYTH.”
New credible research has been done as early as 2010 (so 40-50 years later) that debunks those high divorce rates.
This data found that law enforcement actually has a divorce rate LOWER than the national average.
The current research does not seem widely known because some statistical reports are only accessible by psychologists or they have to be paid for and are not to be distributed. This obviously makes it hard for the general public to be up-to-date on current research but findings from these studies are linked below.
The Link Between Law Enforcement and Divorce
Do Police Officers Really Have a Higher Divorce Rate?
Link to a credible research study showing divorce rates are LOWER than the national average.
Police One Article: myths and realities of cops and divorce
Find credible sources.
It is extremely important to find trusted resources before we start believing every statistic thrown our way. Sadly, some academies are still throwing out the high divorce rate statistic and as we have learned, it is false.
One resource I trust is Cyndi Doyle from Code 4 Couples as I mentioned above. She is a highly credible source within the law enforcement community and is the host of the podcast Code 4 Couples. She is a licensed psychologist (and a fellow police wife), has access to up-to-date research and consistently provides advice for law enforcement officers, spouses, and marriages.
You can check out her website and podcast here.
Episode 60 of her podcast is called The Divorce Myth and I highly recommend giving it a listen. She discusses more about this current research and why the rate has changed over time.
One other tip: When looking for credible articles online, be sure to pay attention to the date they were written. You want to look for the MOST RECENT articles by date. In addition, if the article is citing information or research from YEARS ago then I recommend searching for more current readings.
If you hear others talking about the divorce myth and the very old research then I encourage you to speak up and share this article or other pieces of credible information with them. We truly need to break this myth down in our culture and stop putting fear into law enforcement relationships.
Stop taking marriage advice from friends, the internet and closed groups on social media.
Everyone seems to know something about everything these days (that was kinda a mouthful). But not everyone has great advice.
When it comes to your marriage, keep it private and don’t take advice from outside sources unless it is a professional counselor or someone of that nature.
That Peer Support Couple did an interview on their Facebook page recently that talks about not taking your marriage advice from the internet. You can check it out here. You can also get more information about peer support and critical incidents from That Peer Support by checking out their website.
You are not a statistic.
Obviously the divorce myths worried many couples and brought unnecessary fear and doubt into their relationship.
But, regardless of any statistic, you have to remember that your marriage is more than a NUMBER. Don’t fall victim to generalizations. Focus on you, your spouse, and your marriage. Don’t let any outside influencers come into your relationship.
If you need help in your relationship
We all need help in our relationship from time to time and that’s normal. Again, you don’t have to be another statistic so seeking counselor or help from a professional does not make you weak or a failure.
If you need resources, you can visit my resources tab here.
You can also go here to search for a counselor in your area that has experience working with first responder couples.