Dating a cop

"Although police officers may insist, as Nick did, that their work doesn't change them, they must rein in their emotions in order to deal with danger and violence on a daily basis.As a result they may have trouble talking about personal matters when they're off duty.

"It's hard to believe we used to have fun together. Sometimes I won't hear about what I did wrong until a month later.

By then I have no idea what she's talking about. She's got the kids overprogrammed with activities, which — along with all the stuff she buys — are breaking our bank account.

Her Turn "Being a cop's wife means nonstop worry and tension," said Liz, 33, a stay-at-home mother of three children ranging in age from 4 to 11.

"But even worse, Nick totally shuts me and the kids out of his life. Do you have any idea how many birthday parties, school performances and parent-teacher meetings I've attended by myself?

In my new job I have a different kind of stress — management issues, everyone jockeying for position. "I take a lot of pride in my work and I've earned the respect of my fellow officers as I've moved up the ranks.

And if I handle this new job well, I have a shot at being the head honcho.There are a million and one reasons why I may have to work late.It's not as if I'm putting in long hours for my health — I'm doing it for her and the kids. For the past eight years I've dealt with danger, violence and trauma on a daily basis.I've seen things I'd never describe to Liz that are seared in my brain.When you wear a badge and a gun you have to stay calm and just block out the horror, anger and frustration.But when you factor in the extra burdens of a physically dangerous job and erratic work schedules, a marriage can easily collapse from the stress.