Simon says, “Always give your significant other the benefit of the
There is a bottom-line issue here that is not negotiable. You and your
significant other do not blame each other or accuse each other of things you
did not do.
“Simon,” you say, “I’m shocked. I cannot believe that
you might think that I would ever blame my significant other or make
accusations without solid reasons for saying what I say.”
Well, that is certainly true. Simon never thought you would.
Nonetheless, you may not yet get the point. You do not blame or accuse, solid
reasons or not. You simply do not do it.
If you know something to be a fact, it is reasonable to tell your significant
other exactly what you know and how you know it is true; but you only have your
perspective. You do recall SQ (Social Quotient) do you not. When you are about
to blame or accuse, you can be reasonably sure that your emotional antenna is
turned up abnormally high. It is up so high that even you are reacting to the
noise. That is a big part of why you are upset. You think it is because of what
you think you know; but your EQ (Emotional Quotient) is playing a major role.
Simon’s advice should seem like familiar stuff by now. Turn down your
emotional antenna. Now be sure that your cognitive antenna is also turned down.
You want the signal from your social antenna to come through loud and clear. If
what you hear needs some thought and feeling work, you can do that later. For
now, you want to clearly hear how the events and circumstances look from your
significant other’s point of view.
When you have your antennae in proper balance, remind yourself to
think and talk. Calmly tell your significant other what you think may be true.
This may be something fairly minor or potentially very significant. Either way,
the approach is the same.
as factual as you can.
share your tentative conclusion.
talking and wait for a response.
If your significant other believes that the facts are right as you
presented them and agrees that your conclusion is correct and justified, the
two of you can then discuss the implications of this “fact.” If
instead, there is a different view of the facts or an alternative conclusion
offered, it is time for “faith” to kick-in.
Your significant other sees the situation or circumstances from
another perspective. From that vantage, the facts and the conclusion are
contrary to what you know or think you know. The question is, “Which
perspective is correct?” Yes, the issue has changed. It now focuses on who
had the best point of view. Since your significant other was personally in the
picture and you were not, the benefit of the doubt clearly goes to your
significant other. Actually, it turns out to be another one of those no-brainers.
It is true. Simon did try to lead you down the rosy path just a
little. These kinds of conflicts and disagreements are seldom so simple.
Nonetheless, the point stays unchanged. Your significant other deserves the
benefit of the doubt. That is a small thing for someone who is just as
committed to the relationship as you are, for someone from whom you always get
“best effort.” Simon is tempted to sing a verse of his theme song but
will let the point go with, “Giving the benefit of the doubt is the right
thing to do.”