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April 26, 2012
NO MATTER where Justin
turned, a menacingly familiar
car appeared on the road in front
Seeing no other way out, Justin
jumped a fence, crossed railway tracks
and hid for hours in a seedy pub.
The car did not belong to gangsters
or government agents but Justin's former
live-in girlfriend whom he had kicked out
of his house just minutes before to end a
year-long abusive relationship.
Justin (not his real name but this is a
real story) moved in with his girlfriend
after two months of dating -- nowhere near
long enough to know someone, according
to Army Principle Chaplain Geoff Webb
who says it can take more than six months
to reveal a person's nature.
"If you're saying she's this 'wonder-
ful girl of my dreams' you're just not on
planet earth," CHAP Webb said. "You
really haven't understood you're dealing
with a flawed human being."
Justin, in his mid-20s, said he ignored
several warning signs when he first met
"You get to that stage in your life where
you think about settling down with a girl.
And that's what I wanted," Justin said.
CHAP Webb said it was better to find
the right person before settling down.
"If you think there's a clock that says
it's time to grow up and settle down ...
that's not going to fix it," CHAP Webb said.
"Moving in with someone simply to get
out of living-in is not a good reason. And if
the girl's motivation is 'I want someone to
love' that's not terribly helpful."
Justin's work performance began to
suffer when his girlfriend came home and
attacked him because her workmate was
given a rose.
"She punched me in the face and said
'you never buy me roses'," Justin said.
When he tried to ignore her, she
attacked him again and began screaming.
Most people tend to move in with a
partner in their mid 20s and 30s but CHAP
Webb said he believed people in the ADF
did it much younger because of fear of
separation through deployment or posting.
He said there were some things to
look out for when thinking of moving in
with a partner.
"Be wary of someone who has got a
history of relationships. If they've lived
with a number of people before it can be
a problem. It shows they can't commit.
"Don't get into it too young and don't
move in together if you haven't had any
disagreements. That means you're hiding
something or giving in to the other one
all the time. And be careful of a history of
With the benefit of hindsight, Justin
admitted he did not really know the young
woman he moved in with. She would start
fights and spread rumours whenever other
people were around.
"She was pretty false, always dress-
ing in Armani but she didn't have two
cents to her name," Justin said.
After what he said was a horrible
Christmas visit to the girlfriend's parents'
house, featuring tantrums and physical
violence in front of her family, Justin
decided she had to go.
"We got back to Sydney and I said
'pack your stuff, you're leaving and you're
sleeping on the couch'," Justin said.
He got up early the next morning, put
all her stuff in her car and took his house
key off her keyring.
When Justin walked his now ex-
girlfriend to her car she laid down on the
road, flailed her arms and pretended to
have a fit in front of the neighbours.
He finally got her in the car, told her
not to come back then walked off through
Speak to your local chaplain or DCO office for
advice on relationship problems.
It might take six months before the magic wears
off and you realise what you've got yourself in for.
CPL Max Bree reports.
UNHAPPY ENDING: Parting ways with your partner can be painful.
Photo: LAC Bill Solomou
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