Issue 5 of How to Be an Emotionally Intelligent Lover
There are varying reasons why skepticism runs through our bones in the world of dating, relationships and love.
- We have been burned before.
- We are suspicious by nature.
- Friends and family fill our head with doubt.
One of the biggest challenges that exists in the world of dating and relationships is assuming positive intent. And yet, if we cannot, any relationship we find ourselves in will be doomed from the start. Here are some things that happen when we assume negative intent, as told through the lens of four clients.
"I questioned his motivations at every turn until he just stopped doing nice things for me. Eventually he broke up with me because he could not win."
"The dinner was nice and when we stood up to leave, I just blurted out, 'don't think we're going back to my place'. He didn't ask nor give any signals that he was expecting this, but I let some experiences in the past steer me wrong. We did not go out again. That was his call. I don't blame him."
"She would do something nice and I assumed it's because she wanted me to buy her something. Thinking back, it's because there was one time where she did something and when I said thank you, she replied, 'you can thank me by taking me to a movie'. I felt used and assumed everything down the line was more of the same. Truth is, she was being cute and playful when she mentioned the movie but I did not see it for what it was."
When we assume positive intent, we let words and actions stand on their own.
When I talk to clients about this very important principle, I will often get asked a question in the vein of, "should we assume positive intent even when we've been wronged by this partner in the past?"
To which I say, if you decided to forgive and reconcile, then yes. We cannot choose to reconcile with someone and continue to hold the things they did wrong against them. If we cannot assume positive intent with them, we should not be with them.