I’ve been having a stressful week.
I’m trying to keep it together, but sometimes it’s tough. Last Friday was one of those “it’s tough” days. I lost it.
I needed to cry to blow off steam—and I did…in front of my husband.
He was supportive, but in his own way. And apparently, his way wasn’t what I had in mind. I assumed he’d react differently, and so I lost it a bit more.
After I calmed down, I replayed the entire scene in my head—I was confused why I had lost it when my husband reacted the way he did, knowing that he was helpful.
Then it occurred to me: I’m in a relationship with two people at the same time.
The first one is my real husband right in front of me, and the second one is the idea of him in my mind and who he could possibly be rather than who he really is.
It wasn’t the first time, mind you. And I assume I’m not the only person who’s in love with an idea.
That said, we’re all in relationships with two people at the same time. We all have assumptions in our relationships, and whether we know it or not, and whether our thoughts are valid or not, we hold these fixed ideas and believe them to be true.
With time, we respond emotionally based on our assumptions. Rarely do we respond based on the person who’s in front of us. Maybe if we did, relationships wouldn’t be this complicated after all.
Preconceived assumptions work in wondrous ways. They come in many shapes and can build a permanent home in our minds, thoroughly blinding us to reality.
Ah, when I come to think about it, I could have saved myself a copious amount of time, heartache, and distress, only if I were able to see people for who they were. I stayed in painful relationships with people who were good and deserving of my love—only in my own mind. In reality, they weren’t. But I was adamant that the relationship was healthy and promising.
Consequently, having assumptions—positive or negative—is inappropriate. If the ideas we have about a person are positive, we could be keeping ourselves in a destructive relationship. If the ideas we have are negative (like what happened with my husband), we could be stopping ourselves from seeing the good that this person wants to offer us.
So what’s the solution? How can we be in a relationship with one person? How can we cope with the false stories in our heads and see what is right in front of us?
That day, after I calmed down, I explained to my husband that I expected him to react differently. He told me that although it wasn’t the response I had anticipated, it was the response he knew best and assured me that it came from a good place.
For that reason, I relinquished my attachment to the outcome.
Instead of defending my false assumptions, I choose to see my partner as he is. I choose to understand where he comes from. I choose to stop believing the stories my mind weaves and instead, shed awareness on the present moment so I can better comprehend my partner, his actions, reactions, and behaviors.
At the same time, he chooses to understand my assumptions, and together, we find a middle way.
Ask yourself: who I am in a relationship with today? Does the story in my mind match the person in front of me?
Communicate. Be in the present moment. Get out of your head.