Behind any large delivery service are logistics personnel, without these individuals nothing would move and production would grind to a halt.
Likewise, backing any police force, there are a group of emergency dispatchers that help send, coordinate, and give real time information to responding officers. With airline pilots, there are a team of air traffic controllers that convey critical information to the pilot for a safe flight. And in the same vein, behind Executive Protection Specialist, there may exist a caring spouse, or partner.
What does the other half of an EP professional do? What are they responsible for? How does the team at home prepare, live, adjust, and provide stability, when the EP professional is away from home? How does a spouse or partner deal emotionally?
I thought I’d explore this little discussed aspect of the journey, offering a peek behind the veil if you will. To do so, I wanted to interview the significant other of an experienced protective agent to get the real scope of what they go through. I realized I didn’t really have to look far, as my partner seemed to fit the bill perfectly.
Me: Good morning Emily, thank you for sitting with me today. Ha. So let’s jump right in. What is it like to have your significant other as an EP specialist?
Emily: Having a spouse in the EP profession, quite simply put, it’s hard. It can be lonely, frustrating, and trying, for both the protector and the spouse, and requires good communication to make the relationship work. However, having a spouse in the profession is also extremely rewarding. Knowing that the person you love, is selfless enough to risk their lives for the safety of others, is truly something special. However, even though this type of relationship can feel lonely, I think it does a lot for the relationship to genuinely miss someone, and it allows you to really appreciate their presence in our life when time allows.
Me: Diving a little further, what are some of the hardships associated with having your partner away so much? How directly does it affect the daily harmony of the home?
Emily: Well, spending holidays, birthdays, anniversaries or other special/important events apart would be considered a hardship. I would say, living apart for great lengths of time, and increased day to day stress. It’s important to say that each person carries different stresses. Stresses that you have, pertain to your job and to your clients, and mine are related to the daily up keep, and functioning of our home. Having said that, being open with each other about what is causing the stress can help a relationship last and grow in this profession, In my opinion.
Me: In your opinion, how does a partner/spouse’s help at home ease the stresses on a Protector?
Emily: I believe making their time at home special is one way, do extra around the house so they can enjoy that time at home, let them know you appreciate the sacrifice they are making working, and not being able to come home every night. Most importantly, let them know they are loved and missed by their family.
Me: Do you feel like the EP profession is a noble one? If so, why?
Emily: Extremely. Noble, as defined, is “showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals”. An agent would be only as good as their word, morals and willingness to sacrifice for the greater good of those they protect.
Me: Speaking of being noble, what character traits do you believe a partner/spouse of an EP professional must have to navigate this profession?
Emily: I think as a spouse, one must be independent, flexible, understanding, patient, and trusting. More often than not, all these qualities will be put to the test during your relationship with an agent, and both must be willing to recognize/fix the areas of weakness in order for the relationship to be successful. Honesty, commitment, and effort must be of equal burden.
Me: Along those same lines Emily, how can or do, those constant deployments effect relationships? And what’s needed in order for those relationships to survive?
Emily: When on deployments, or away on details I should say, it can be at times hard to keep in touch and communicate with your spouse. Different time zones, work/sleep schedules, etc. make it difficult to stay in contact with your spouse and can cause tension in the relationship. The inability to stay in contact can also increase the feelings of loneliness when away for lengths of time. In order to survive, both parties must reassure each other they are missed, loved, and appreciated for their sacrifices, and both must be committed to making the relationship a priority which can be hard sometimes, when “priorities” are different when away, and then when home.
Me: A well-known priority in protection work is safety, how has having a partner/spouse involved in EP made you more security minded? Or has it?
Emily: My head has never been on more of a “swivel” my entire life, haha! In all seriousness, being with an professional protector definitely makes you more security minded. You find yourself changing the way you view a large crowd, looking for the nearest exits at your local movie theater, and sitting with nothing behind you, to ensure a clear view of your surroundings. I can’t tell anyone how many times I’ve done a security sweep of my whole house before bed without even realizing what I’m doing.
Me: What advice would you give a new couple with one party entering into the EP profession?
Emily: Advice to new couples, hmmm, just be sure! This is going to sound blunt but, be sure this is the person you want to be with, and you’re willing to weather the storm with them. If you have never done a long-distance relationship, or already know it doesn’t work for you, don’t get involved with someone who is in, or wants to be in this industry. You will feel lonely, you will question if you “can do this anymore”, you will want to give it up sometimes more than once, you will wish for more time to spend with them, and at times you will feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. However, if you are both in it together, you can have a successful relationship the strong will survive.
One thing I was noticed was a reoccurring theme within this interview were the terms commitment & trust, some of the same attributes we use with clients. I’m living proof of this, as without my significant other at home, and the foundation that provides, I believe I would not be able to do my job at the level that I do it. For those who are in a similar situation, I think you will know what I’m talking about and those just coming into the industry, I hope these words help in your journey.
Behind the Veil
By Mark Roche EPS
Mark Roche is a US Based, full-time Executive Protection Specialist who works full time with a HNW Family. He is also a FAA Licensed Drone Pilot, specializing in EP related uses, and a graduate of multiple close protection programs.