Perceptual Responses

Tara and Reed were not in a good place for quite some time. They lost the ability to resolve conflict and grew quite distant. Eventually, Tara got her needs met in an affair, and more recently, they battled out their differences through their divorce attorneys.

Nonetheless, they came to me to see if they could restore their marriage. One of the dynamics that came up frequently in their work was perceptual differences. For example, Tara shared that she didn’t think Reed thought she was a good mother. 

Anytime an individual brings up a perception of what their partner is thinking or feeling, I want the partner to comment on the accuracy of that perception. The person is the expert on what he or she is thinking or feeling. In this case, Reed shared that he thought Tara was a terrific mother.

In the same vein, Reed said he didn’t feel Tara loved him anymore. I had Tara respond to Reed’s perception, and she said despite their hardships, she continued to love him.

If there is a misperception, I highly encourage couples to respond to the misperception first. Perceptions that someone is a bad mother or not loved pervade a relationship and need to be corrected if they are not true.