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Are Your Assumptions Undermining Your Relationship?

Assumptions canBegin challenging your assumptions your assumptions are the windows on the world be relationship killers. I have heard that it is women who end most relationships.

Quite often, the men feel like they have been blindsided.

Even though, in many cases, the women have pointed out the difficulty in the relationship, more than once, and said that they weren’t happy, there were assumptions made by their partner.

They assumed that everything was okay, even when the evidence pointed to the contrary.

“Begin challenging your assumptions. Your assumptions are the windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while or the light won’t come in.” Alan Alda

Why We Make Assumptions

Consider this…we are assaulted by so much information today. We suffer from information overload.

In ancient times we had to be hyper aware of what was going on around us, so that we stayed safe and didn’t die…well, we had to filter out information that we didn’t consider to be important so that we could focus on the critical information…like whether a saber toothed tiger was bearing down on us…

Today, even if we aren’t in immediate danger, we still filter out information. If we have the belief that the relationship we are in is forever, and our partner is complaining because their needs aren’t being met, we might not see it.

We might be focused on other things…like making sure we get ahead at work…or planning a new place to live…so, even though a partner might cry…plead…present a very convincing case…they might not be listened to…because of the presence of an assumption mindset.

Stepping out of an Assumption Mindset

When you become aware that it is normal for people to make assumptions…just because that is the way we are hard wired…then if there is something you need to discuss with your partner, then you need to be very clear about what you want or need.

  • Give your partner advanced warning that you need to talk with them.
  • Make sure that you are in a place/time where you can talk with your partner, uninterrupted.
  • Ask questions. See if your partner has any of the same concerns that you do. After all, you might have made assumptions, too…in fact, it is quite likely that you have.
  • Listen. Ask more questions. Keep your emotions out of the picture. Think of yourself as being on a fact finding mission, like a detective…that will help. : D
  • Understand that you are partners in communication, as well as partners in a romantic relationship.

Challenging Your Own Assumptions

I assume that the sun will come up tomorrow. That helps me to get moving and get on with my life. I assume that everyone I love will be safe. These are good assumptions because they help me.

If I had the assumption that the world would end tomorrow,  it wouldn’t help me. It would hurt me. It would hurt the people that I love because my behavior would be very, very unresourceful…if I assumed that…wouldn’t it?

We can be blind to our own assumptions…because they are such a part of our identity, that we don’t always see them. Other people can though. So keep your mind open when talking to your partner.

There may be assumptions that you need to challenge, deep inside yourself. Take a look at your own behavior, whether you are in partnership with someone else or you are single.

What are your assumptions about life…about yourself…about the people in your life…about money…about careers…and ask yourself this…”Is that true?” and listen for the answer.

If you’re not sure…then ask more questions…do research…and remember, when you are learning…you are growing…and when you are growing…you are getting better and better in every way…aren’t you?

“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?” Sherie Venner


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I am a Relationship Coach who helps others create happy, healthy, loving relationships…including the relationship they have with themselves…by breaking through those blocks and barriers to success. I use various techniques gathered through training as a Master Practitioner of NLP, timeline, hypnosis and common sense gathered through life experience.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Edmund Lee November 22, 2012, 7:21 am

    Great insight Sherie! We should learn to filter and listen when needed. That is why communication is really important because it answers questions and erases doubts.

    • Sherie November 22, 2012, 5:43 pm

      Communication is really important, Edmund, thanks for your comment!

  • Suzanne Jones November 18, 2012, 5:27 pm

    Your intro just defined my marriage breakup. He felt blindsided yet I had repeatedly tried to communicate my concerns. Super post Sherie!!
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    • Sherie November 18, 2012, 6:44 pm

      It is so common, Suzanne! Thanks so much for your comment!

  • Lorii Abela November 15, 2012, 3:29 am

    Excellent post Sherie. “Assumptions are such a part of our identity, but we don’t see them”. Best to keep our mind open and settle down issues at hand.

    • Sherie November 15, 2012, 1:16 pm

      Absolutely, Lorii! : D

  • Pamela Gail Johnson November 14, 2012, 9:09 pm

    Making assumptions isn’t good in most cases … and they are often incorrect. Besides it’s more fun getting the facts.
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    • Sherie November 14, 2012, 9:30 pm

      Yes, Pamela, it is! Thanks for your comment!

  • Terressa Cortez November 14, 2012, 4:00 pm

    Definitely a big challenge for me here. Instead of assuming we need to ask more questions and find out all of the answers. Great post.

    • Sherie November 14, 2012, 5:44 pm

      I appreciate that, Terressa, thank you!

  • Elizabeth L Maness November 14, 2012, 1:45 pm

    oh I have trouble here.. I love the challenge your assumptions approach..;0 Great advice as always Sherie!
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    • Sherie November 14, 2012, 2:26 pm

      Elizabeth, I appreciate that, thank you!

  • denny hagel November 14, 2012, 11:01 am

    This is wonderful! So often what we tell ourselves about ourselves, others or situations is not the reality…and then we must think about all the wasted time and energy on something that was incorrect!! Thanks!
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    • Sherie November 14, 2012, 1:21 pm

      That’s it, Denny! Thanks so much for your comment!

  • Lisa Frederiksen - BreakingTheCycles.com November 14, 2012, 10:20 am

    This is fantastic, Sherie!! I’m definitely sharing. I like how you layout the best way to talk to a partner (or anyone, for that matter) about something that’s bothering you in order to be sure it’s heard and understood. I also like the way you explain the science of why our brains assume, in the first place, and the importance of challenging our personal assumptions, as well.
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    • Sherie November 14, 2012, 1:21 pm

      Thank you, Lisa, I appreciate you sharing! : D

  • Estelle November 13, 2012, 10:44 pm

    I find that sometimes my assumptions about what someone is thinking or going to do can be so way off! I find it’s best to communicate and talk to people – especially with email, texting – a conversation sometimes is the best way to get clarity. Thanks for sharing!
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    • Sherie November 14, 2012, 12:11 am

      Clarity is critical to communication success!

  • Jamie November 13, 2012, 10:18 pm

    Assumptions are the worse. communications is key. But more importantly, taking the time to stop and listen and being able to ask questions if you truly don’t understand how the other is feeling is even more so.
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    • Sherie November 14, 2012, 12:11 am

      You’ve hit the nail on the head, there, Jamie! That is so right!

  • Anita November 13, 2012, 2:23 pm

    Excellent tips! I recently went through this only in a business relationship. I believed what I was told and assumed the person who was telling me to be true. It all ended ok, I was hurt but took responsibility and apologized to all the people it affected. Lessons learned and I will be challenging my assumptions for sure!
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    • Sherie November 13, 2012, 2:30 pm

      I am glad that it ended okay! When we make assumptions based on our own values, we think others have the same values, too…and it isn’t necessarily true. Onwards, right? Hugs, Anita!

  • Liz Bigger November 13, 2012, 1:56 pm

    This is some really good information! I struggle with my “assumptions” everyday…my hubby too! We get into a rut in how we communicate and then no matter what I say, he hears what he always hears, whether it is what I say or not! Thanks for the info!

    • Sherie November 13, 2012, 2:31 pm

      You’re welcome, Liz. Thank you for your comment!

  • Alicia Jay November 13, 2012, 1:05 pm

    Assumptions will jump up and get ya! I’ve been married for five years and after a while you decide that you really know your partner, who they are and what they’re thinking. This leads me to assume things often in my relationship–half the time those assumptions aren’t true. My husband and I have decided to have check-ins with each other every couple of weeks just to see where each of us are with things. This has been a HUGE help chasing away those assumption demons!
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    • Sherie November 13, 2012, 2:31 pm

      What a great way to tame those demons…having a meeting and checking in! Good job, Alicia!

  • BarbaraJPeters November 13, 2012, 10:34 am

    Great post Sherie. We need to be open in our relationships and with ourselves. Don’t assume someone should know what we are thinkingor feeeling no matter who they are. We have to be able to say how we are feeling and know that we are being heard and understood. The same goes for when we are to be listening. Make sure you really are paying attention and understand the other persons needs.

    • Sherie November 13, 2012, 11:49 am

      We really do…when we make assumptions, we cut off communication. Love your insights, Barbara, thank you for your comment!

  • Martha Giffen November 13, 2012, 10:15 am

    Making assumptions is the same as becoming a mind reader! Doesn’t work and doesn’t do us any good in the end.
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    • Sherie November 13, 2012, 11:49 am

      Right on, Martha!

  • Carolyn Hughes November 13, 2012, 10:13 am

    Great post Sherie and you tips to step out of that assumption mindset are very helpful. I like your comment that we are partners in communication not just romantic partners because it’s a good reminder of how easy it is to make assumptions about those we are closest to.
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    • Sherie November 13, 2012, 11:50 am

      It is! Thank you, Carolyn, for your comment, dear!

  • Alexandra McAllister November 13, 2012, 9:55 am

    Thank you, Sherie, You’ve made some great points in your article. It definitely is worth reading over and over again. Bless you.
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    • Sherie November 13, 2012, 11:50 am

      So glad that you liked it, Alexandra!

  • Olga Hermans November 13, 2012, 9:52 am

    I like this, I have had many times that I assumed the wrong things, kept dwelling on it way too long and got in trouble because of it; thanks Sherie!
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    • Sherie November 13, 2012, 11:50 am

      You’re welcome, Olga, I think that at some point in time, we’ve all been there and done that, right? ; D

  • Cathy Taughinbaugh November 13, 2012, 9:29 am

    Great post Sherie I like your point, “We can be blind to our own assumptions.” This is so true and we all do need to self assess at times. Thanks for sharing.
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    • Sherie November 13, 2012, 11:51 am

      Self assessment is a great thing to do! Thanks for your comment, Cathy!

  • Terree Rola November 13, 2012, 12:15 am

    I like that you ask us to ask what our assumptions are about others, people in our lives, etc. But I especially appreciate that you remind us to stop and listen for the answer!

    • Sherie November 13, 2012, 12:24 am

      Terree, yes, we must always stop and listen for the answer! : D Thanks so much for your comment, dear!

  • Dawn Lanier November 12, 2012, 9:08 pm

    You’ve made some great points Sherie! I especially liked the section on ‘Stepping out of an Assumption Mindset’ – so many people have a hard time with that. Thanks for your insights.
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    • Sherie November 12, 2012, 9:14 pm

      Dawn, thanks so much for reading the post. Yes, a lot of people have trouble with that assumption mindset. I appreciate your comment! : D