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Michelle Gottlieb Psy.D., MFT, LPCC
Individual, Couple and Family Therapy
Resolving issues from your past that block your future

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Assumptions

April 2009

One of the most common problems I have seen with the couples that I have worked with is their tendency to assume that they know what their partner is thinking and feeling, the assumption that they know their partner’s motivation.

I have not worked with a couple yet who has struggled with this problem. And, honestly, women probably struggle more with this than men do. Men tend to assume all is good unless told otherwise. Women are forever gnawing on our relationships the way a dog gnaws on a bone.

If our partner is not speaking to us, he must be angry, hurt, thinking of another woman. When the reality is that often he is thinking about the game, work or nothing at all. Yes, ladies, it is possible for men to think of nothing. It is not possible for us, but it is possible for them. So, our husband is sitting quietly on the couch, happily thinking of nothing. In the meantime, we have decided that he is incredibly mad at us and wants a divorce. When he starts to speak about something benign, we jump all over him with all the hurt and anger we have been stirring up. This is one of the reasons that men say that they cannot understand us. We can appear a bit nuts sometimes.

So, how do we deal with this? Instead of sitting there trying to guess what is in your partner’s mind, ask him. Then accept his answer as truth. That’s it. That’s the whole trick. If there really is a problem, deal with it. Otherwise, he really is thinking about the game coming up and nothing else. He really has not=2 0been thinking about Saturday night and how angry he is with you because you wore a dress he didn’t like.

If you are wondering what is going on in your partner’s mind, ask! It is amazing how things improve after this step.

Enjoy the journey.

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