The Clean Hands Doctrine of Relationships

hands3The law has a very well known doctrine that Judge’s use when determining whether or not a person is entitled to a claim, they call it the Clean Hands Doctrine. It states:

n. a rule of law that a person coming to court with a lawsuit or petition for a court order must be free from unfair conduct (have “clean hands” or not have done anything wrong) in regard to the subject matter of his/her claim. His/her activities not involved in the legal action can be abominable because they are considered irrelevant. As an affirmative defense (positive response) a defendant might claim the plaintiff (party suing him/her) has a “lack of clean hands” or “violates the clean hands doctrine” because the plaintiff has misled the defendant or has done something wrong regarding the matter under consideration. Example: A former partner sues on a claim that he was owed money on a consulting contract with the partnership when he left, but the defense states that the plaintiff (party suing) has tried to get customers from the partnership by spreading untrue stories about the remaining partner’s business practices.

This is something that I believe should apply in relationships as well. Don’t make demands on your partner with dirty hands. Don’t speak out of both sides of your mouth, this *demand* applies to you but I can do whatever I want.

Relationships are partnerships NOT dictatorships. I understand that some things require discussion as all situations are unique. My point is that if you have lines that you believe can’t be crossed then you’d better make sure you are living up to the same standards you expect from your partner…which means don’t cross THEIR LINES.

We all have what we call “Deal Breakers” in relationships. Having “clean hands” would mean that if your partner crossed your line, you’d better be damn sure YOU behaved perfectly and did not violate any of your partner’s lines before you give an ultimatum or you will lose your partner.

The law doesn’t reward dishonest people because dishonest people aren’t victims of the situation, they are equally to blame. When your hands get dirty in your relationship, you aren’t a victim either…you’re just dishonest.

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