…happen all the time in relationships, especially those you have a strong emotional investment in. Misunderstandings in romantic relationships comprise some level of disconnect by one or the other persons involved. One or the other is offended by something said or implied, or perhaps something subtle, hidden (and, I might add, entirely imagined) within a misspoke word, phrase, or gesture. Ninety-nine percent of the time we jump to a conclusion triggered by some past hurt, which ninety-nine percent of the time is the result of a similar misunderstanding. What we so often fail to take into account is the fact that the person who we perceive as being hurtful, selfish, sarcastic or whatever, has no motive to be any of those things. Often, their motives or intentions are very much contrary to what is perceived.
“Oh, Honey, I like you a lot.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I like you a lot? You used to love me. Now you just like me?”
“I didn’t say, I just like you; I said, I like you a lot.”
“You used to tell me you love me, all the time. You never say that anymore.”
“I do too!”
“I guess I should feel lucky to get an, ‘I like you’.”
“If you don’t like being liked then I’ll try not to.”
“So, now you don’t love me or like me? That might explain the generic anniversary card I got last month. You used to make them by hand, remember? You used to write clever and sweet things that you claimed came from your heart.”
“Well, I used to have a lot more time … ree-memm-bur? You used to be just a wee bit more grateful, too. But that was before I took this suck-ass slave job so I could afford the house-of-your-dreams and the pretentious Prius that you fill up at PB every chance you get, and then charge the gas on your Bank of America card!”
“Oh, like you’re Mr. Social Conscience with your cheap, plastic made-in-China Adirondack chairs that you bought at Walmart.”
“So sue me!”
“Maybe I will! Maybe I’ll sue you for abandonment, and meanness!”
Wait a minute …
May I suggest that we assume the other’s innocence and love—that we perhaps stop for a moment, hit the reset button, and try reading the script through the filter of the admiration we feel for those people we’ve shared so much of ourselves with? the admiration we know lies just beneath the fear and self-justified suspicions lurking at the surface?
I mean, we might as well be happy.