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Benefit of the Doubt

fearsIt was Super Bowl Sunday a few years back, we were at a friend’s house for the game. The men and the food were downstairs with the big screen and the women and drinks were upstairs with a smaller television and lots of space to chat. A perfect party. Until one of my friends emerged from the basement with a plate of food and announced,”Your guy says you need to lose weight.” What? She said that they were talking together just now, she mentioned that she shouldn’t eat much and he agreed, that I shouldn’t either. What?? I was devastated. Angry.  This was particularly hurtful to me because in all our years together, my guy has never said anything negative about my weight, or indicated that he wanted wanted anything different than who I was. And the conversation in question was had with a beautiful woman who does not need to watch her weight. It didn’t match up, so it was very confusing.

The perfect party became a perfect storm, and on the way home from the game I cried and repeated what I had been told. My guy had that wild look in his eyes, the one that is searching to understand, but very sure he will not. After carefully listening to me, he recounted his version of what had been said, the whole time, completely confounded. He said that he and my friend were standing at the full table of food together, and she remarked that she should be careful with how much food she took, she didn’t want to gain weight from a Super Bowl party. He said he had no idea what to say in response, that he would never comment on her size or intake, so he said something like, “I’m sure Jen would say exactly the same thing.” and walked away. That was it.

In my head, he had pulled her aside and confessed that he really hoped I would see the light and shed a few pounds, or that he had announced to the room full of friends that I needed to pay more attention, or, or….

He asked me to believe him, and I did immediately, but he was also asking me to believe in us; that in the future when I hear something about my guy that doesn’t line up, to give him the benefit of the doubt, weigh it against what I know of him, his heart and his intentions and to ask him before jumping to conclusions. Since then, there have been misunderstandings over the years, but I know that my guy is on my team, always in my corner, truly wanting the best for me and it is my responsibility to this relationship to assume the best first, and go from there.

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