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Simon says, “Always give your significant other the benefit of the doubt.”

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.

•           Be specific.

•           Be as factual as you can.

•           Calmly share your tentative conclusion.

•           Stop talking and wait for a response.

•           Listen and learn.

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.”

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