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From the Bench: domestic relationships

Domestic Relationships Are Complicated—

From the Bench

She changed her mind again,
“I don’t want the order.”

In the last week, the news has been full of stories about one of our senators and his girlfriend having a fight on the side of the freeway. It appears they have a complicated relationship.

A while back, while covering one of our westside courts, a lady came in requesting an order of protection against her boyfriend. When I started to ask her questions about why she needed the order of protection, she changed her mind and said to cancel the order. Then. she changed back and said, “No, I want you to issue the order. Tell him to stay away and never see me again.”

I proceeded filling out the order and she changed her mind again and said, “No, I do not want the order.”

I crossed out all I had written and wrote “did not issue” in the log. Then, she said, “No, I want him to leave me alone.”

I stopped and started asking her to think this issue through and to examine her actions.  “What are your long-term goals?” I asked.

She was very con­fused and the relation­ship was complicated. After some con­versation, I believe she started to realize she had to get her own house in order and make some hard choices. All the blame for her problems was not just on one side. As in so many domestic issues, it’s a love-hate relationship.

It reminded me back 30 years ago. I was rid­ing with the Glendale police. The officer ar­rested a man for beat­ing his wife. He hand­cuffed the husband and put him in the back seat of his police car. We were about to leave and she came out of the house and said, “Can I kiss him good bye?”

A love-hate relationship. Domestic relations are complicated.  Once I asked a lady, “Why do you keep going back into a relationship where you keep getting abused?”

She said, “When he beats me, it only hurts a little while.  When me and the kids are hungry, it hurts a long time.”

The courts can help by issuing orders of protection. But in the long term, the solu­tion depends on you making some very hard choices. We can change ourselves, but we cannot change the other person. So, ac­cept what they are and make your plans on the assumption they will not change.  Plan carefully and execute your plan, and do not deviate from your plan.  Do not accept promises they will change, only accept positive actions, and see some positive results over a period of time that they have changed.  Get some professional help with understanding yourself.

Lesson: Domestic relationship disputes are very complicated.

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