Romance and Dating

Lawyers in Love: Caveat Amator

supreme court with heart above the law atl.JPGWith Valentine’s Day less than a week away, we thought we’d share with you a cautionary tale. It’s an example of how lawyers in love do the darnedest — and dumbest — things.
From a tipster:

See attached — yet another example of how law school can turn even the most well-intentioned guys in love into complete and total d*****bags.

While we were law students at the University of Texas, a close friend of mine had a somewhat drama-filled relationship with a fellow law student. He decided to send her the attached “love letter,” after a fight they had while working in different cities over the summer.

Unfortunately, his love letter reads more like a bad memo from a 1L legal writing class (complete with citations to a “case” involving him and his ex-girlfriend).

All of the names have been changed, but this is otherwise 100% true… You can’t make this s**t up!

Indeed. Check it out — it’s rather long, but you can skim and get the general idea — after the jump.


M E M O R A N D U M
To: My Shmoopy Bear
From: Your Cuddle Bun
Re: The Current State of Rob and Martha’s Relationship
Date: June 25
Question
Currently, the relationship between Rob Flannery and Martha Karver is enduring rough times and isn’t where Rob and Martha think it should be and where they know it can be. Should the relationship be terminated? What is the root of the problem and how can Rob change in order to get the relationship past the current funk and back on track to where it was seven short days ago?
Answer
No. The relationship should absolutely not be terminated. All relationships take work and will endure hardships and rough times at one point or another. With change and faith, implemented mainly on Rob’s part, the relationship and love between Rob Flannery and Martha Karver will continue to grow into the fall and beyond.
Facts
The problems addressed in this memo arise surrounding the relationship between Rob Flannery (Rob) and Martha Karver (Martha). On the night of November 17 Rob saw Martha at a bar on Sixth Street in Austin, Texas where the two shared a cigarette and a kiss outside. Since that night, Rob and Martha have fallen in love and entered into a trusting, caring, glorious relationship. Both parties have enjoyed being in said relationship and have never been happier.
However, this current summer, Rob and Martha’s relationship has been temporarily modified as long-distance. All else remains the same except for their current residences—Rob has remained in Austin for the summer season while Martha is doing her summer clerkship in another city.
Despite being half over and six weeks from being over, Rob has since become frustrated and anxious about the summer’s twist on the relationship. His negative actions include:
• Controversial text-messages
• Rude e-mails
• Temperamental demeanor and statements
• Actions to get a rise out of Martha
• Defeatist attitude
This memo analyzes the relationship of Rob and Martha and Rob’s thoughts on their status. This memo also addresses how Rob Flannery will modify his conduct and attitude in order to get the relationship get back on track to where it was seven days ago.
Discussion
We’ve known since that night in your bed when we told each other that we wanted to continue to date through the summer that it was going to be hard at times. Being apart from someone you love is never easy. I have just had a more difficult time with it than you. I’ve never dated anyone long-distance, I’ve never lived in another country or far away from my family and home and so while you might be more used to this situation in that sense, it is new to me. But people get through long-distance relationships all the time. You said your cousin and her boyfriend have spent lots of time away from each other. You said your married friend is away from her husband for the summer. I listen to this stupid radio show every morning and one of the DJs has a boyfriend that lives in Florida. I talked to my mom about this too—she told me that I am being an idiot about this. After college, my parents were married and my dad was in the Navy and was stationed out of the country for months. My mom was telling me that I’m being a brat about this and that we’ve had a great first half of the summer and how lucky we are to be able to see each other three times and a fourth if I get to come visit later this summer. You’ve told me before—six weeks is NOTHING. I cannot WAIT for you to be back in Austin in the fall. I am excited to get through the summer and start making decisions with each other. I won’t let myself lose sight of that excitement and let missing you make me bitter and upset. While it is natural to be sad and miss you, I can’t and won’t let it ruin things. Your cousin misses her boyfriend. Your married friend misses her husband. The DJ on the radio misses her boyfriend. My mom missed my dad. I can continue to miss you for six weeks without letting it ruin the incredible times we’ve had and will continue to have together.
The cliché thought of “this is too good to be true” has subconsciously run through my mind—I’ve been looking for reasons to get upset that aren’t there. Looking for things to start fights about. Starting arguments and getting upset over silly reasons. I want you to realize that it’s not jealousy or anything like that—it’s been me looking for something to point out and dwell on as what is wrong with our relationship. There is nothing wrong with our actual relationship. It is near perfect. What IS wrong is me making up things that are wrong. I’m looking for a reason of why it’s too good to be true. The imaginary reason I found this week was earlier in the summer when you said you didn’t like to go out to bars because you missed me, but you said you had single friends and had to go out sometimes. That was it—I latched onto that. When I called you and heard you were out at a bar still at 3:30 in the morning, I thought you were lying earlier in the summer or that you had changed the way you felt about me and that it must have meant that you didn’t miss me anymore. I am not going to look for reasons why our relationship is too good to be true anymore. Those reasons do not exist. I realize that I have been looking for things that aren’t there. Our relationship is too good and it is true.
Distinguishing Rob and Martha’s Relationship from Preceding Authority
While there are some similarities between our relationship and my past one, I have let negativity draw comparisons and parallels that simply don’t exist. In my past relationship, I was cheated on multiple times. Conrad v. Flannery, 503 S.W.2d 41 (Tex. 2005). Like I told you last weekend, the first time it happened with Kelsey, I had a feeling that I should have gotten out then and there. The thought that the relationship was going to be bad news ran through my mind but I was forgiving and willing to look past it. In the end, I was too nice and too forgiving because that sort of set the stage for things to come in the next year between me and her. I told you last weekend, that I had those same thoughts with you the night you told me you flirted with another guy. I immediately drew comparisons to my past relationship and thought I was doomed again from the start and that you would only cheat on me.
For once, maybe being too nice and too forgiving has been one of the best decisions I have made. You made me think you would cheat on me and Kelsey cheated on me. That is where the comparisons end. I know that you are not Kelsey Conrad. I know that you are not even the same person that flirted with that other guy 24 hours after we started dating. I know that since we’ve started dating, our love for each other has grown every single day and that we ARE madly in love with each other right now.
The Future of the Relationship
Being completely honest with you, I’m scared. Scared of not making it through the summer, scared of making it through the summer, scared of deciding where we want to live, scared of moving in together, scared of the unknown. The times we’ve spent together last semester, watching tv, talking in bed, studying together, holding hands walking in New York have been some of the happiest moments/weekends of my life. Last weekend was one of the best weekends of my life and I know you feel the same way. All this week I couldn’t stop thinking about just spending time with you, holding hands, smelling your hair, eating hotdogs in the park, “tongue kissing” (Sorry, I had to use quotes and reference tongue kissing in here somewhere) It scares me that all of that could end—not just now, but next semester, next year, someday. And I’m letting that fear I have to spin out of control.
It is scary. But it should be an exciting type of scary. We both want the same thing—to stay together and make it through the summer. In the fall, we will have some big decisions to make. And I am ready to make those decisions with you. This relationship is so special to me, that I am not going to let something like graduating or a job have a negative effect on it. I love you and am excited to move forward together. I want to make those decisions together. I’m ready to decide together where we want to live and move in that direction and make memories together and continue to have incredible times together. Maybe we’ll move to wherever you get a job, maybe we’ll move to New York, maybe we’ll stay in Texas, maybe we’ll move in together, maybe we’ll buy a condo together and Jason Bateman will be our realtor—all of that is so very exciting and I cannot let fear of the unknown or uncertain be a negative influence. Sure, it’s scary, but an exciting scary and I am ready to move forward with you. We both want the same thing—to stay together through the summer and into the fall and forward into the future. And I am only making that harder. And for that I am sorry. It is something that I can and will change because I care about you and our relationship.
Keeping Personal Matters Private
Coupled with the fact that I was searching for things to get upset, one of the things I got mad about the other day was you talking about our personal business with what seemed to be everyone. Like I said, I admit that part of that exchange was me just being in a frustrated bad mood, but I want to explain the rational reason why it still upset me a little.
First of all, I imagined you sitting around telling everyone and anyone about what’s going on in our relationship—particularly the rough patches we’ve had this week. Of course, you are going to talk to your friends about it and of course you are going to talk to your mom about it as well, but I only think that is applicable to an extent. The problem we’ve had this week, for the most part, are private. I don’t think you need to get input and advice from every single one of your friends. Particularly what upsets me is that you discussed it with everyone and now, this coming weekend, I have to face all my critics at once—you’ve told your mom, Doug, Emma, your cousin and now I can’t help but feel like it’s going to be me against the world going into this weekend. And it just makes me think that you are putting somewhat of a spin on it, considering I now have to deal with knowing that Doug thinks I suck for whatever reason you might have given him to think so and yell into the phone. I told you I was already nervous about this weekend and now I have this on top of whatever anxiousness I already had.
I’m asking that you just keep these things in mind. Do ALL of your friends necessarily need to know what is going on in detail? Is it REALLY any of their business to analyze and weigh in on? Like I said, you and I will have arguments and other things to deal with, but in my opinion, those things are between you and me—again, to an extent. While we may talk to our parents or James and George or Emma and Laura for advice, can we please not air every personal grievance and share all of our problems with anyone willing to listen?
Obviously I think it is very important to talk to someone, as I tell my mom almost everything, but I have realized that not all things should be shared. For example, I don’t know why you think so, but I have not told my mom that you cheated on me because I know what her views on that subject are and what she will say. I didn’t even tell James because I know he would have told me then and there to end it with you and he would have treated you differently. Telling James about Kelsey was one of the best and worst decisions I made last year. It was good because I needed a friend then—someone to remind me of how horrible a person she was for doing that and how much of an idiot I was for forgiving her for it. At the same time, it was bad because from that instant, he knew that Kelsey wasn’t good enough for me. James is one of the most protective people of me and when he knew that Kelsey hurt me, she was crossed off his list and he never saw her the same.
But I know that what you did was early in our relationship and that it wasn’t at the point where it is now, and I decided that that is something that my mom or James does not need to know because it might make them think differently. That is an example of something that is private and that I don’t want her knowing because it could potentially be damaging to our relationship. James and my mom wouldn’t understand that it was early in the relationship and that things were different then. It was just something that I censored from telling them for good reason. Imagine, I had invited you to a family vacation of mine and the week before you came to visit, I told everyone that was going to be there that you had made me think you might cheat on me.
It is also for that same reason that I’m asking you to be careful what you share with other people. Some things are personal and should be kept between you and me.
Recommendation
Just like you are not the girlfriend that made me think you would cheat on me in February, I am not the unpredictable person that has gotten so easily upset this past week. We talked about you kissing that guy that night and we talked about it last weekend and got through it. Together. Deciding to talk through it and work past it was the best decision and I feel like we can do the same thing in this situation—talk about it and get through it. Together.
I admit that I have been acting erratically recently. Part of it is, just as you said, is me trying to get a rise out of you. I have been a downer recently and you have been the cheerleader in the relationship too much recently. That is not your role—we both need to take on that role and help the other get past any funk or rut we may run into. I realize that recently it has been you taking on the cheerleader role and you trying to talk me through whatever is weighing on me. My defeatist attitude is not healthy and is not beneficial to our relationship. It is hurting it and I will change it. I love you for cheering me up and always being the optimistic one, but that is not fair. While I share in your enthusiasm and optimism, I have not verbalized it. Rather, I have only dwelled on negativity. Starting today, this is going to change.
The other day when you said I have been doing things to get a rise out of you—I didn’t realize it, but you are exactly right. I have been unnecessarily testing the relationship just to see what it can endure. And this is not fair. I have been going out, answering Kelsey’s phone calls, texting you rude messages just to get a rise out of you out of frustration. I apologize for this—I had not realized this is what I had been doing and now that I see it, I can change it and will not succumb to that behavior any more. Starting today, this is going to change.
What is odd about my behavior is that is it fueled by missing you. Missing you and anxiously waiting to talk to you and just hear your voice or read your texts or e-mails has turned me to sending you e-mails, text-messages, phone calls that say exactly the opposite. After really sitting down and thinking about it to myself this weekend, I have been able to identify this behavior and I am glad I have. Now that I am fully aware of what it is that I am doing, I am able to slap myself in the face and realize that I am being foolish and need to implement some changes.
I am sorry for the way I have acted—not only this past week, but over some of the past weekends. You do not deserve accusatory text-messages, rude e-mails, or anything but my love and companionship. I owe you the same respect and love that I give you when we’re together. I cannot let the fact that we aren’t in the same place for six weeks bother me to the point where I lose sight of our relationship and how incredible it is.
These ARE things that I can change immediately because it isn’t who I am. I do not have to change who I am or implement any sort of major character change. I have consciously chosen to have a defeatist attitude about things and have chosen to look for things to get upset about. I am aware of the negative behavior and decisions I have made and know that they need to stop.
I cannot promise that there won’t be times that I will be sad this summer, I CAN promise that I will not let those emotions spin out of control. These changes can and will go into effect immediately.
I have been reserved in what I’ve told you. Again because I’m scared that I will completely put myself out there and be vulnerable. I cannot and will not hold back from you or be afraid to put myself out there. My actions have not matched my thoughts and feelings and I apologize for that.
Thank you for making us take this weekend off from each other. I needed it to really sit down, and think to myself about what it is I have been doing and how it is not in sync with what we both want to happen. I love you and miss you terribly. Thank you for realizing that it is my actions that have been putting a strain on the relationship. Thank you for making me think about it and making me change my recent behavior.

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