Monday, November 5, 2012

Assuming the Worst

Once upon a time, I broke up with a boyfriend who had a tendency to assume the worst in me. That wasn't the whole story, but more of a trend that developed as we grew apart. The feeling of someone you love assuming that your motivations are less than honorable, that you're being manipulative, or that you're lying, is pretty harsh.
The same thing happened this time - Brandon assumed that I was angry with him if I needed an evening to myself, or if I sent a one-word response to a text (or, God forbid, no response at all), or if I didn't jump up and down squealing with glee when he walked in the door. Well, that last one is a mild exaggeration.
Sometimes I just need a Gossip Girl marathon to unwind from a tough week. Sometimes I'm busy and can't get into a long text-based conversation, or my battery is dead. Sometimes I'm working or otherwise occupied and don't have time to grab the pompoms when I hear the lock turn. I now know that I can't assume that my partner understands  my needs, and the importance of communicating that my desire to spend an evening with Serena and Blair rather than him is not a comment on my happiness with our relationship.
I've learned that when someone you love assumes that you are purposefully being cold and distant, that you are working against them rather than by their side, or that you want anything less than the best for them, it should be an enormous red flag. I know that the reason that I didn't spot Brandon's cheating earlier was because I always assumed the best. Texting someone named Amanda and telling me he's talking to Colin? Amanda is probably a cousin who's name never registered with me, or a coworker talking about this week's big project, and he was probably texting Colin at the same time because he's ALWAYS texting Colin. No harm done, just trust and assume the best.
I was wrong. Obviously.
Even when I caught one lie, and began to pull on that thread, I had no idea of the extent of the unraveling ahead. I just wanted the truth, but the truth was far worse than anything I could have anticipated. Even then, I assumed the best. Soon enough, the entire relationship came undone.
None of this will change my tendency to assume the best in someone I love. I know the damage that distrust and baseless assumptions can do. I refuse to become bitter and jaded, but I also won't put up with a partner who assumes the worst in me.

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