Yet another person I know is attempting to divorce a man who has been highly abusive to her. This woman has strong education in psychology, and she has dated this person for three years to ensure that he was a good person; then when they got married he turned into a brute and a creep. If this can happen even in face of such strong screening tactics and application of knowledge and intelligence, then it is obvious that this happens all the time.
Many people tend to blame the victim in such situations; but in most cases the partner has no way of knowing. One acts one way while wooing and another way while married. This leads me to conclude that, like in business, in relationships there is a need for a clause against false advertising in order to correct for such abuses.
False advertising is misrepresenting the product. In business, false advertising is a crime that is punishable by fine or by jail time. In relationships, there is no clause against false advertising; and people continue to fool prospective partners, presenting themselves as good people while wooing and then turning into brutes and scoundrels when the partner is theirs.
How much greater the problem when it's not just a product being bought and sold but people's lives. How much greater the problem when as a result the person is trapped in a terrible situation. How much greater the problem when this abuse affects them and their children daily and to a far greater extent than does any malfeasance we find in the production process - indeed in many cases to a greater extent than if they were in prison or in a war.
In business there is accountability for what's said and done; but in relationships there is no such accountability. A person who wants to be a creep to his wife can get away with it in many cases, even in some situations securing custody of the kids. The same skills that one uses to entrap someone in a bad situation one uses to manipulate the courts and the public to deny his malfeasance and to blame the partner. This is good for scammers; it's bad for everyone else.
It is ironic that many of the people who claim to speak for morals or family values like to blame women in case they find themselves in such situations and to blame them more if they leave. A person who truly respects values will be against fraud and deception; and that also means fraud and deception in how one chooses to woo one's partner or how one chooses to treat one's partner while married. If someone misrepresents himself, then he has committed the original ethical violation. And it is one for which he and not his partner is responsible.
Really, anyone with skills in marketing, law or related disciplines can con people if he wants to. And when strong screening tactics fail to prevent abuse, it makes no sense to rely on them. The bottom line is that it's not difficult at all to act one way while wooing and another while married. Which means that there needs to be an incentive to not act that way.
It means that there needs to be accountability for one's conduct in a relationship, especially if it's in discord with what one has advertised while wooing the partner.
I advocate that there be statutes against false advertising in relationships, where false advertising becomes instant ground for dissolution of marriage or de facto relationship. There needs to be accountability for how people present themselves to prospective partners and how they behave when the partner is theirs. If a man presents himself as a nice person but turns out to be a brute, that is false advertising. And it is false advertising that carries vastly greater consequence than does misrepresenting a business product.
Ultimately false advertising is this: Fraud. This is as much the case in marital situations as it is the case in business. False advertising, like other forms of fraud, must be done away with. And that means changing the laws to make false advertising in relationships as illegal as it is in business.