Missed Connections in your Law Enforcement Relationship

Cyndi and her husband, Bobby, discuss how missed connections in your law enforement relationship can impact passion, intimacy, and sexual activity.


Law enforcement couples commonly have the problem of staying connected.  It can be tough to make sure that relationships and connections stay strong enough to have passion, intimacy, and sexual activity in the bedroom. Both sides of the couple can feel like they’re making efforts to stay connected and feel that those efforts aren’t seen or they’re not noticed by the other party.

Sometimes it can feel like both people in the relationship are volleying the ball, but they are on different courts.  They aren’t getting the serve volleyed back.  Maybe their tennis rackets have holes.  Heck, maybe one person is playing tennis while the other is playing pickleball. It can feel like your relationship is playing on an open court with the ball traveling into a void. That void can be a terrible feeling and lead to loneliness. It can feel like both of you are showing up to play, but not in a way that either one of you can understand.

What leads to missed connections in relationships?

There are a few reasons why the connection between spouses in a law enforcement relationship goes unnoticed and can feel at times like you are playing on different courts. Here are five reasons those opportunities for connection may be impacted.


One of the reasons for the missed connections can be shift work.  Not physically seeing each other due to shift work, and sleep schedules can lead to missed interactions. When you do see one another, the communication may be more about logistics and interaction that is not meaningful. Most often, women connect intimacy with meaningful communication and when it’s basic and insignificant, there may not be a desire for sexual activity.


Another reason may be that your energies don’t always match. The first thing to remember when thinking about the scope of energy is the comedown from hypervigilance. If somebody is hypervigilant once they come home, they are in that state where the brain’s frontal lobe and decision making center is tired and wanting to relax. Having meaningful interaction during the downside of hypervigilance can be really difficult. As a spouse, you might want to share something, and it may land flat due to this physical state. You can wind up in a situation where one person feels like they are serving a ball right into a puddle on the wrong court.

In terms of energy and opposite schedules, there are times when one person is awake while the other is fatigued. You are going to project different energy and if you are trying to have meaningful interaction during the wrong time, it may not go well. Your energy and your spouses’ energy become incompatible, and the idea of intimacy disappears.

Different types of balls

Sometimes we are looking for different balls. Meaning we are looking for different actions that connect to our needs or wants.  Both partners are throwing out “balls” with good intentions, but because the balls aren’t the same.  They are flying past you without being received. This is very similar to the idea of love languages from Dr. Gary Chapman. He created five which are: quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, and physical touch. Normally what we do is express love in the way that we want to be loved and not the way our partner wants to be loved. Maybe you want a hug, or physical touch, where your partner wants to hear how nice they look. You both have good intentions, but they are not being received. It can feel lonely or disconnected at times and feel dismissive.

Indirect Communication

Another reason why opportunities for connection in law enforcement relationships can go unnoticed is indirect or vague communication. When there is not direct communication about what you’re doing and what’s bothering you, which can hurt feelings on both sides. This can result from not having that ball volleyed back or feeling like they have been pushed away. It can make you shut down and turn away instead of addressing the lack of direct communication. This can result in one of Dr. Gottman’s Four Horsemen, and one I am intimately familiar with, Stonewalling.  If you don’t like it when your spouse texts back “K” instead of writing something meaningful, you have to tell them. They don’t know what they don’t know!


The final element law enforcement couples need to consider regarding missed connections or communications is spillover from the job.  Officers are conditioned in various ways that impact their communication styles including authoritarian spillover.  I did a whole podcast on that one which you can check out by clicking here. In my own relationship, there were times when my officer husband thought he was being helpful but I heard it or interpreted it as criticism.  That ball came on to my court and I just ignored it!  There are all kinds of spillover that can occur as a part of the job, such as hypervigilance mentioned above.  It benefits the relationship for officers and spouses to educate themselves on these.  (You can pick up my book Hold the Line: The Essential Guide to Protect your Law Enforcement Relationship if you need to educate yourself on these. Yes, I did just insert a shameless plug!)

How to play on the same court to increase connection in your relationship

Now you know what the problems might be, there are some easy solutions to make sure that you and your partner are seeing the opportunities you are both throwing out to connect.

Be sure that you’re tossing multiple balls onto the court.

If you just throw one, your odds are lower that it will be seen. You must throw multiple!  This means DO MORE than one thing, believing that it’s going to be immediately volleyed back. If you serve a ball by taking out that trash and it’s not noticed, leaving the court is not going to help the problem.  You have to create multiple opportunities to allow your spouse to see the balls.  Create a court in which your spouse trips all over the balls or make sure you throw some larger balls on the court.  They miss a couple but they will be more likely to notice quantity.

Change your filter

Look for the balls! Maybe your partner doesn’t throw the ball you are expecting, but they are still coming your way. If your spouse is very orderly about certain things in the house and you look at it through a lens of control, change your filter to one that sees the structure as loving and taking care of you. This makes it more likely that you will see the balls being volleyed over. Changing the filter and looking at things through a different lens may help to see that your partner doesn’t display love in the same way that you want to be loved. Maybe they’re loving you in their way and it’s something that can change the interaction.

Make sure you are throwing the balls that get noticed

Many times, we want to show our spouse appreciation or that we are thinking about them. Maybe you want to buy them flowers. Even though the intention is good, your spouse may not like flowers and the ball that is being volleyed falls flat. Adjust to your partner’s love language and what they like. If they’re not flower people and they just want hugs, then you may need to provide more hugs. Other meaningful actions can be spontaneous!

Just a note: Sometimes couples forget to touch and touching regularly is important because you don’t want it to seem that touching is only associated with sex. It is important to find out what is really meaningful to your partner, so you aren’t volleying the wrong ball. Keep the oven preheated or like Dr. Heather England says, “Foreplay starts at the end of your last sexual encounter.”


Rituals are things we do over and over again in a certain way. Doing something regularly becomes a habit and is more likely to be seen and noticed by your partner.  As an officer, you probably have a ritual you follow when you get ready for work and when you get home.  As a spouse, you may have a ritual on a night alone.  (Mine included watching all the sci-fi my husband never would!)  Rituals could be taking out the trash at the end of the day, making coffee, or a regular text message of “How did you sleep?” When this pattern is created, the ball is received, noticed, and can be comforting for your spouse and give them something to look forward to.


Make sure you are communicating with your spouse about what balls are being tossed! Balls can be missed, and it is helpful to point them out to your spouse in a non-defensive way. If you filled up their gas tank so they didn’t have to leave for work early and it went unnoticed, instead of saying, “You didn’t notice I filled up your gas tank” try, “Hey I filled up your gas tank, so it was one less thing for you to worry about.” The ball will be better seen and received. If you fail in your communication, because you will at some point, apologize, and reapproach. Take meaningful ownership of your actions. In law enforcement relationships, interactions with each other can be brief. These interactions need to be meaningful and connected, so try to create a court where both partners can play successfully.

Make sure that you keep that conversation open and are tossing out enough balls that they get returned. Look for the balls to receive them! Change your filter if you’re not seeing them, or maybe your partner needs some tossed out in a different way. Set up rituals so you’re guaranteed to have some of those balls being played in court and keep your volley going. If you learn how to volley the balls in your relationship, you keep the connection open which leads to more intimacy and opportunity for sexual encounters.

Be sure to check out my book for more information on how to impact your law enforcement relationship.


Missed Connections in your Law Enforcement Relationship

Cyndi and her husband, Bobby, discuss how missed connections in your law enforement relationship can impact passion, intimacy, and sexual activity.




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