5 reasons dating is difficult for paramedics

Here's why the logistical and emotional complications from working in EMS can make connecting with new people nearly impossible

By Sean Eddy

Anyone who has worked in EMS or public safety knows how this job can put a strain on a relationship or a marriage.

With divorce rates in our industry being through the roof, that leaves a lot of us hitting up the dating scene fairly regularly. The problem is, dating kinda sucks when you work in EMS.


The logistical and emotional complications from our line of work can make connecting with new people nearly impossible at times. I‘m not sure that there is a web server large enough to hold all the reasons, so I decided to narrow it down to five reasons dating is difficult for paramedics.

1. Our schedules are incompatible with normal life.


Rotating 24-hour shifts, and even 12-hour night shifts are great until you try to match up schedules with the rest of civilization. Meeting someone at 07:30 a.m.for a beer or 11:30 p.m. for coffee just doesn‘t make sense to people outside of EMS. Not to mention the fact that the traditional Friday or Saturday night out on the town is just a pipe-dream for most of us. I know plenty of people in EMS whose last “Friday off” probably occurred on a date labeled “B.C.”

Another problem with EMS schedules is that we always seem to be “working tomorrow”, which makes doing any night-time activities difficult.

2. We lack conversation skills outside of medical topics.


Outside of the “worst” or “craziest” thing we‘ve ever seen, there isn‘t much about our job that‘s really interesting to most people. Unfortunately, we spend so much time at our jobs that we have damned little to talk about. The only people who are going to show any interest in the fact that we sank an 8.0 ET tube into a 500-pound, no-neck patient with a Mallampati score of four while hanging upside-down from a tree-branch, is other EMS professionals. And even at that, they‘ll just one-up you with a better story. The rest of the world likes to talk about strange and unfamiliar things like life goals, vacations, kids, and things they do for fun.

3. We have zero empathy.


It seems that once people find out what we do for a living, they want to share their story of being sick or in a hospital. For most people, this sounds tragic. However, we don‘t see it as a big deal at all unless a limb had to be reattached. Even at that, if the reattachment was successful then it‘s not a big deal. It‘s just hard to explain to people who aren‘t involved in emergency medicine. We really do care about your pneumonia, but we don‘t.

But when we become ill with even the slightest of colds, then the world comes to a grinding halt. Death and destruction occur at a rapid pace due to our absence from life-saving duties. We also become the world‘s absolute worst patients.

4. We eat too fast.


The only thing we rush worse than advanced airway management is eating. We have spent years being trained to eat at a rate faster than a wild boar in fear that our tones will drop at any second. Not only is this unhealthy, but it makes for an awkward date. Nothing screams romance like scarfing a 16-ounce steak dinner in under three minutes only to watch your partner awkwardly for 20 minutes while they take the time to enjoy their meal like a normal human.

5. We don‘t like explaining our jobs to people.


I once lied about my profession on a first (and last) date just to see if it would go any different than all the other times. I told her that I worked in the oil fields, and enjoyed drinking beer and watching football on my days off. I was absolutely amazed at how much different that interaction was than when I talked about my profession and real hobbies. In this case — or experiment, if you will — I found that the conversation about my life was brief and to the point. We spent a lot of time talking about her hobbies, career and life goals. It was actually a very interesting and pleasant conversation. This happened years ago and obviously went nowhere, but it really made me wonder about how people perceive us.

It seems like every time we bring up working in EMS we are immediately hit with questions like:

  • “So, do you drive?”
  • “What‘s the worst / craziest thing you‘ve ever seen?”
  • “WHAT??? You work 24 HOUR SHIFTS?”

The conversation shifts too much in our direction and we wind up spending the entire time talking about ourselves, which is never a good thing.

It should be no surprise that EMS providers tend to gravitate towards partners in the same or similar professions, but we all know that too comes with its own set of complications. Come to think of it, I could probably write six follow-up articles on that topic alone.

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