As a young man, I seriously considered becoming a priest and studied for four years at St. John’s seminary in Camarillo, California for the Diocese of Los Angeles.
Shortly after graduation I turned in my Bible, rosary beads and robes for a badge, credentials, a gun and a career in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and subsequently the Drug Enforcement Administration.
After an injury and subsequent early retirement after twelve years of service, this was followed by a second career as a private investigator. Still, certain things stick with you from a seminary education in the 1960s, and one of them was no divorce. As a Catholic, I accepted this edict unquestioningly.
There came a point where I had to wonder… what will it take to make them throw these bums out?
After years of conducting marital surveillances, for a primarily female clientele of 80%, my opinions on divorce began to change. Radically. Over and over I saw women who were staying in terrible relationships. Granted, anyone who is consulting me is already on the marital Titanic. My investigator surveilled and caught hundreds of husbands who cheated. Verbally and/or physically abused wife and kids is common place in my investigative world. Drinking, doing drugs or gambling away the mortgage or grocery money is routine in many marriages. You name it; I saw it. There came a point where I had to wonder… what will it take to make them throw these bums out?
I was in my little office in a shopping center off Tustin and Katella Avenue in the City of Orange back in the early eighties the first time I actually asked this question. A bright, beautiful young woman sat across from me. Her husband regularly smacked her around, and I’d just gotten proof that he was cheating on her as well. She was waffling about what to do next. I couldn’t take seeing yet another reaction like this. The words just flew out of my mouth in frustration. “You’re going to stay with this guy? Is this really the best you can do?”
You’ve got 40 or 50 more years on this planet. Do you plan to spend them like this?
She reared back in her chair, her eyes wide open. She came right back with an indignant, “No! Of course not.” My question to her then, and to countless hundreds others like her since that day: What are you going to do about it? You’ve got 40 or 50 more years on this planet. Do you plan to spend them like this?
I like to believe I’ve become more patient and diplomatic as I’ve gotten older. When I was younger it was a real struggle almost daily not to burst out with, “What is wrong with you?” I couldn’t understand why so many great women would allow themselves to stay in some of the situations they found themselves. I concluded that the answer is fear. For many women, the fear of the unknown is greater than the discomfort of the current arrangement.
I began to believe that in many cases my job was to give some women I was seeing the confidence to get moving away from this guy. By a certain point many clients are just so beaten down that by the time they’re sitting across from me their self-esteem has pretty much vanished and all they can do is offer weak excuses.
“I’m going to stay for the children” is one excuse that I no longer buy. That is a great way to set a terrible example, ruin their childhoods and set them up for their own troubled relationships later in life. Most children these days know more by the age of seven or eight than I did the day I graduated from high school. Come on, with all the social media and information on the internet? Don’t kid yourself. You’re not doing children any favors by sticking around in a toxic marriage. My best advice is: Don’t stay for your kids. Leave for your kids. Especially when it’s an abusive situation.
“He says he’s going to change” is one I hear all the time.
As someone who has been involved in 30,000 martial surveillance and divorce cases, I’ve yet to see any woman ever change a man.
“He says he’s going to change” is the other one I hear all the time. Please take it from me, you’re not going to change the guy. As someone who has been involved in 30,000 martial surveillance and divorce cases, I’ve yet to see any woman ever change a man. Oh, I’ve seen plenty of men put on quite a tap dance for a few months to win someone back… sure. But that’s never enough. A leopard generally doesn’t change its spots.
Here’s where I stand now. Let’s say you are my client and your husband has been caught meeting Mary Lou at the No-Tell Motel. If you want to stay with the guy, I will help you. I’ll arrange appointments with the best marital counselors in the area and do all I can to help you build a support system. Now… if this is hubby’s second time around this particular block… I start to wonder just why you’re staying put for this kind of treatment. I appreciate that women tend to be much more forgiving than men. I also understand religious convictions. However, even Jesus reached a boiling point and drove the money-changers from the temple – not once, but twice.
Since 1970 divorces have increased 40%. Far from decrying this trend, I now view the epidemic of how long some people will stay together when they shouldn’t as more of a tragedy. I can’t even imagine what the divorce rate would be if women weren’t so benevolent in deciding to stay and literally “gut it out.” I sincerely root for happy, rewarding lives for all my clients and try to help them attain that in the here and now. Don’t wait for your reward in heaven!
A missing persons case