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Lynne Doucette

Lynne Doucette

Lt. Lynne D. Doucette is a patrol supervisor and defensive tactics trainer with the Brunswick (Maine) PD. Prior to being the first female promoted at BPD, she worked as an undercover detective assigned to the state narcotics task force.



Patricia Teinert

Patricia Teinert

Patricia A. Teinert has been a Texas peace officer since 1984. She has served as a patrol officer, investigator, and member of a juvenile gang and narcotics task force. She is currently a patrol officer with Katy ISD Police Department.
Women in Law Enforcement

Dating Difficulties

Why is it so hard for female cops to find success on the dating scene?

June 02, 2010  |  by Lori Connelly - Also by this author


Image via Flickr.com (Gabriel Madrigal Photography).

As police officers, we deal with people in tense situations every day and take it in stride. Then why is it such a challenge for us when it comes to our dating lives? Why is it that what seems fairly black and white for us when we deal with other people's relationship issues on calls usually ends up being a giant mess for us as female police officers?

I've asked myself, are there special challenges for me because I'm an officer? Would those challenges be there had I selected another occupation such as school teacher or veterinarian? Well, yes and no.

The Numbers Game

By the time a woman can become a police officer in the U.S.—considering the birth rates and immigration rates—there are slightly more men than woman in the population per age group. Also, traditionally it has been acceptable for younger women to date men who are considerably older; and by considerably I mean about 10 years older.

This means a woman in her Twenties has a wide selection of men to choose from for dating, but as she ages—regardless of her occupation—the pool of available men drops off sharply. This is a result of men getting married and no longer dating, older men dating younger women, and the higher male mortality rate. So by the time a woman reaches her Forties, the pool of men for her to date is considerably smaller.

The Intimidation Factor

Next, occupations such as school teacher or nurse are more traditional female roles that are considered much less threatening or intimidating than police officer by men. It isn't just men who have trouble with the women they're dating being officers. Women who date female officers have trouble with this too.

This causes relational boundary issues that, especially when couples are dating and still getting to know one another, create tension when the partner isn't comfortable with the woman being an officer. It's like saying to her, "I really like you, except this one big part of you that happens to be paying the bills."

Several officers have explained to me that this makes them feel completely unappreciated, as if what they do as female police officers doesn't count. They feel that if they were men, they would be considered heroes for their chosen occupation, but as women they are just doing something to upset their partner.

Where's the Fun?

For me personally, I was a divorced mom when I became an officer. Dating wasn't fun at all. It felt like men were looking for a challenge or they wanted to be able to put an "X" in the box on their bucket list that reads, "Dated a Cop."

Some of our challenges are obvious—we can't date criminals or our bosses, and sometimes these seem to be the only people around. So we have to make extra efforts to really get out there in the world to meet dateable people.

Even with all the incredible technology out there to help people connect, there appear to be a couple of consistent truths in dating as a female officer no matter how old you are or how scared you may be to get out there and try to meet someone.

Always put your safety first, even when you are really lonely. If you wouldn't want your best friend to do it, you shouldn't either.

Secondly, don't be so serious. We tend to treat everything like a homicide scene. It doesn't have to be perfect all of the time. Have fun!

Tags: Officer Psychology, Off-Duty Life


Comments (12)

Displaying 1 - 12 of 12

Mel @ 2/2/2011 4:54 AM

Well, what do you do when you become close to a co-worker and begin a relationship while he is your equal. During the course of the relationship he is promoted. 1 1/2 years after this promotion you are still together, deeply love each other. However, my agency has only about 50 officers and the rumor mill has been so out of hand.. It has cost us so many problems. He has been called in, had his job threatened...Ive been to HR we do not have a fraternization policy. He is terrified now. Feels like the bullseye is on him that even though the town attorney, manager etc have said off duty we can. he is too afraid and I am afraid Ive lost him. Our marriages ended for this. We have both applied elsewhere. This has been so stressful and we both have serious stress and anxiety issues from this. On top of this, being a female, I am constantlky subject to rumor after rumor, and a lot of sexual harrassment...Somedays, I just want to turn my stuff in and quit. Im just struggling with everything and don't even know what to do anymore. We can never seem to let go of each other. Just so confused

YesItsTrue @ 3/6/2011 10:30 PM

I think you summed it up pretty well. I have 15+ yrs on in the biggest PD & I don't date cops, so I totally understand. I almost don't date at all because of it. It is exactly what you said, a notch on the belt or an intimidation factor. I actually find most of the male cops are actually married to stay at home moms or women that are rather docile & subservient. But what else is new. Women look for equals, men look for the damsel in distress.

James @ 7/4/2011 4:56 pm @ 7/4/2011 2:04 PM

I think a woman with authority and toughness has sex appeal. For me I'm tired of dating women who have this fantasy of finding the " Prince Charming". Because guest what, there is no such thing as "Prince Charming". None of us guys are perfect. My final thought is that if gonna date a woman, date a female cop for godsake; it will do you some good.

Sean @ 4/10/2012 1:58 PM

Dating women who act like 'tough guys' isn't fun. You don't have to prove you're tough to people when you go out to eat. It gets ridiculous.

Samantha @ 7/13/2012 10:21 PM

Well, I feel every Policy officer or law enforcement Person is very special..These people go through so many emotions in a day based on what they see and hear. I wish I could find a nice female or male Police officer to start a Friendship with...I am in the Buena Park, California area should anyone like to comment. Thanks and take care out there.

former fed guy @ 1/20/2013 8:20 PM

Dated two female cops in my short time as a cop myself... first one was pretty cool. Second one was super nice and caring at the beginning but shortly turned into a super bitch. Women in law enforcement seem to have a chip on their shoulders...

Nani @ 1/29/2013 8:59 PM

The most crowded Trail in all the world is that which is supposed to lead to Happiness. We all travel it whether we acknowledge the fact of not. As the flower seeks the sun, as the bee measures a straight line to the nearest honey, so the heart of man pursues Happiness. This passion for Happiness is as old as man, and even our National Constitution recognizes the "pursuit of Happiness" as an inalienable right.
But it takes more than the Constitution to make us happy. The poets and seers of all the ages have tried to solve the riddle and discover to us the things that bring Happiness to the human heart. It is not wealth, or health even, though the latter will help. It is not congenial work nor yet the love of countless friends. It is not merely serving others, though Emerson once said that "The only way to be happy is to make others so."
Millions of people have worn deep the Trail of Happiness; they have lived and struggled and died, seeking this holy Grail. Not one, however, has yet won the perfect prize.
But we are not discouraged! For the Trail is full of sweet surprises, and we are convinced, as Robert Louis Stevenson has said. That " to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive. " Happiness is undoubtedly the most impregnable fortress within The City of Our Ideals. We know that we shall never be able to capture the fortress itself, yet we travel hopefully, for we are sure that some day we shall at least stand within the suburbs of our Sacred City---and the suburbs are very pleasant! If it helps ever so little to solve the riddle, "What is Happiness?", it will have fulfilled a large mission. So let's just try being happy as we jog along together, picking every flower possible by the wayside, for they will not bloom for us again.

misunderstood @ 4/9/2013 9:45 PM

Fear...well yea! but on the other hand,looking back i recal most trouble with inmature women who wern't...cops but acted so, you know? It's a gender role thing! lets look at it from a different point...i would love to do it with you babe without worrying about catching a d.v. case if i did it too good! you know? or what about while youre sleep? i mean thats the best time in my book... oh god,what ...what crime? were married (hypetheticly)Or may as well be you know?

misunderstood @ 4/9/2013 10:10 PM

Or what if things go sour.? you know like ahh m.r. ex pops back in the scene... your a cop, hes a cop... and im underneath the bed scared to death cause hes got his glock on and your ninas under the pillow and im holding in my cigg smoke but idont know

misunderstood @ 4/9/2013 10:16 PM

Fear...well yea! but on the other hand,looking back i recal most trouble with inmature women who wern't...cops but acted so, you know? It's a gender role thing! lets look at it from a different point...i would love to do it with you babe without worrying about catching a d.v. case if i did it too good! you know? or what about while youre sleep? i mean thats the best time in my book... oh god,what ...what crime? were married (hypetheticly)Or may as well be you know?

devin coleman @ 3/20/2014 7:54 PM

I'm singalong too

Karl @ 6/22/2014 11:37 AM

My relationship went down the drain when my girlfriend decided she wanted to get into law enforcement. Sure, I'm sure most of the women say "oh, I just want to help people", but the truth is that once they get a badge or start handing out tickets, the power high trickles into the relationship. They become different people, and the fact that they are in a male dominated profession makes any guy uncomfortable. Every relationship I've witnessed where the female is a LE employee has failed...usually due to unfaithfulness or a severe change in personality.

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