Your partner hasn’t been available for making love for over a month, which is a long time in your relationship.  You make an assumption.  The assumption is represented by the animal you see in the drawing to the left.  It feels very clear to you that she is mad at you, or judging you, or maybe even preparing to end the relationship.  Based on this assumption your behavior changes toward your partner.

 

You start behaving differently with your partner, because it hurts when you feel rejected.  You are a little more distant and avoidant because you feel less connected with your partner.  All these behaviors are driven by the thoughts you have about your assumption that your partner is purposefully withholding physical affection.   Another two months passes with these thoughts, feelings, and behaviors continuing.  Could you be wrong about your assumption?  Can you question your perception?

 

Take a look again at the picture above.  Perhaps you see a duck?  Perhaps you see a rabbit?  Can you look at the drawing for a little while allowing it to be a duck; then continue looking at it as a rabbit.  Is it a rabbit, or is it a duck?  Is there ‘ONE’ answer to that question?  When you see the rabbit, it is difficult to also simultaneously see the duck.  When you see your partner as intentionally withholding affect, it’s difficult to simultaneously entertain other ways of interpreting the behavior of your partner.  Mistakes in perception can be unnecessarily enduing.

 

One solution to avoiding mistakes in perception is to speak and express your concerns directly and respectfully.     Another approach to avoiding mistakes is to be constantly vigilant to your judgments and assumptions.  Vigilant does not mean fearfully assuming you are making mistakes.  It can mean that whenever you have thoughts of attacking or feeling attacked, that you let a mantra enter your thoughts.  That mantra can be ‘Is there another way to look at this?’

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