Stop Making Assumptions that Fuel
By Susie and Otto Collins
We all make assumptions from time to time. If you observe
that someone is shivering, you might offer him or her a
blanket or jacket. Your guess that the person is cold might
be accurate, or there may be something else going on that
you are unaware of. Many of the assumptions that we
make, like this one, are relatively harmless and benign.
Other assumptions can actually cause pain and
disconnection in our love relationships-- particularly those
leaps that fuel jealousy!
When you make an assumption about your partner without
evidence to confirm your perceptions, you could very likely
experience jealousy and all of its damaging effects. Your
jealous habit can easily be fueled by stories that are
created in your mind springing from those assumptions.
Chelsea is grateful that her husband Ric is such a nice guy.
The trouble according to Chelsea, however, is that Ric is a
nice, attractive and gullible guy. In her eyes, women just
can't stay away from him. She worries that one day he'll
walk right into an affair without even knowing it
until it's too late.
Chelsea trusts Ric completely, but has absolutely no trust
for the many women who seem to flock to him. When they are
out at a party, Chelsea feels
like she has to "stake her claim" and make it clear that
he's taken. On a few occasions, Chelsea has even had
arguments with other women who she feels were being too
friendly with him.
Realize that you are making assumptions. When
you can remain aware of how you are feeling-- particularly
when jealous feelings arise-- you can more easily gain
clarity about what's going on in your relationship and begin
to move closer to your partner.
Get into the habit of taking a few moments to ask yourself
how you are feeling and pay attention to the stories you
might be telling yourself. If a thought or story comes to
you that seems to be attached to jealousy, ask yourself if
you know this to be true. Pay attention to the clues your
may be giving you when negative assumptions come into your
Chelsea begins to check in with herself a few times a day
every day. She begins doing this when she is feeling calm
and is in neutral situations. She then starts practicing
questioning her assumptions in contexts that tend to trigger
She realizes that her stomach tightens and she feels
slightly ill when jealousy begins to build. At a dinner
party recently, Chelsea keenly became aware of these body
sensations as a female acquaintance of theirs starts a
conversation with Ric. Rather than rush over to Ric and this
woman, Chelsea stopped herself and tuned into her feelings.
Meet your assumptions with curiosity
The stories that you are telling yourself about your
partner might be partially or completely accurate. It could
be that the woman at the dinner party is trying to engage
Ric's attentions in inappropriate ways that he just doesn't
On the other hand, it could also be that what Chelsea thinks
is going on is completely off the mark. Perhaps this woman
needs some advice about an issue that Ric knows a lot about.
The woman's intentions may be quite innocent and absolutely
not what Chelsea initially assumes them to be.
Get curious about what you believe to be true that is
fueling jealousy within you. We are not suggesting that you
interrogate your mate or the other person in the situation.
Instead, start out by getting curious within yourself.
Ask yourself if you know this assumption to be absolutely
true. Consider if your perceptions are coming from your own
fears and insecurities or from plausible information you can
truly rely on.
You might end up asking for more information from your
partner about a particular situation. This can help you get
clearer about what is a story and what is accurate. Before
approaching your mate with questions, however, get into a
calm state of mind and think about how you can phrase your
questions so that they are not accusations.
Later on at the dinner party, Chelsea might ask Ric about
his conversation with the woman. She might inquire about the
issue they talked about, coming from a place of curiosity,
We all make assumptions. But when those stories we tell
ourselves lead to jealousy that then causes disconnection,
it's time to take a step back. Ask yourself if the pain and
growing distance between you and your partner is worth the
leap you take when you make assumptions.
Practice questioning the stories you tell yourself and NOT
your partner as you move closer to letting go of jealousy
and toward a deeper love with your mate.