I am a recruiter and a human resources lady. There is very little science or psychology to what I do for a living, but I am trusted with the lives and future of people who believe that I have great insight into the world of work, power and motivation.
I use a mix of curiosity and forthrightness to hire great people to do great work. If there are any warning signs, I move on.
I wear another hat as a writer. I have watched people write about the recent violence related to the NFL players. Much of what’s written bothers me. We don’t need opinions and personal narratives. We need solutions and ideas for women who want to make better relationship choices and avoid life-altering mistakes.
So here are a few ideas from the trusted and validated world of recruiting (and my own life) that might help you avoid coupling with someone who totally. fucking. sucks.
1. Ask how someone likes to fight. No one will ever admit to beating the shit out of an ex-wife or pushing her down a flight of stairs, but the signs are there. It’s okay to ask — Give me an example of a time you fought with your ex. What occurred? How did you resolve it? Did you often fight about the same subjects over and again? You will learn a lot about a guy in the way he answers. Does he use the word bitch or worse? Is he suspicious of his ex in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable? Get the heck out of there. Don’t make that guy your husband.
2. Inquire about routines. You can ask — What’s your day like? How do you keep your stuff? Are you organized? Have you ever lived with someone? What did you like about it? What was tough? If he is territorial about his stuff, how will he feel if your kids make a mess? If he has ownership issues, how can you combine your lives? These are all important fucking questions to ask before you have his baby.
3. Investigate his relationship with his parents. Any issues? Did they hit him? Do either of his parents drink? Is he a victim of abuse? Correlation isn’t causation. The past isn’t the future. But data points are important here, people. Domestic violence doesn’t come out of nowhere.
4. Analyze his relationship networks. We do this in recruiting all. of. the. time. Get to know the people he knows. Friends will always say great things, but what about friends of friends? Does he maintain strong relationships with exes? Is he on good terms with women in his life?
5. Ask about current and historic drug and alcohol use. I have seen a lot of domestic violence in my life, I’m sorry to write. Very rarely has anybody been sober.
6. Listen to the way he talks about other adults, children and animals. Do you know this bible verse? “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” It’s very applicable to violent husbands and partners. The Chicago Police Department found that approximately 30 percent of individuals arrested for dog fighting and animal abuse had domestic violence charges on their records (ASPCA).
7. Look for warning signs. Whenever your gut tells you something, follow it and get the fuck out of there.
I would like to help move the conversation beyond why women stay or why they don’t. I want women to help other women prevent domestic violence. We can educate women on the warning signs. We can connect smart women in unfortunate situations with smart advisors. We can fight to enforce laws and protect women and children (and animals).
I really believe we can do it. We can stop domestic violence. This can end.