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EHR 2 Stop Mind Reading and Clarify Expectations

15-10-2017

Introduction…

A guy named Roger is driving his girlfriend, Gloria, home from dinner one night, when Gloria says, "Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?" There is silence in the car. To Gloria, it seems like a very loud silence.

Gloria (thinking): Geez, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.

Roger (thinking): Gosh. Six months.

Gloria (thinking): But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are...I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

Roger (thinking): So that means it was...let's see...February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer's, which means...lemme check the odometer...Whoa, I am way overdue for an oil change here. And I don’t care what they said about the transmission, it still isn’t shifting right!

Gloria (thinking): He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed, even before I sensed it, that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected.

Gloria (thinking): Maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I truly do care about, a person who is in pain because of my self-centered schoolgirl romantic fantasy.

Gloria (aloud): Roger?

Roger (startled): What?

Gloria (her eyes filling with tears): Please don't torture yourself like this. Maybe I should never have...Oh, I feel so...

Roger: What?

Gloria (sobbing): I'm such a fool. I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse.

Roger: There's no horse?

Gloria: You think I'm a fool, don't you?

Roger (relieved finally to know the right answer): No.

Gloria: It's just that...It's that I...I need some time.

Roger (after a 15-second pause during which he is thinking as fast as he can, trying to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.): Yes.

Gloria (deeply moved, touching his hand): Oh, Roger, do you really feel that way?

Roger: What way?

Gloria: That way about time.

Roger: Oh. Yes.

Gloria (gazing deeply into Roger's eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next. At last she speaks.): Thank you, Roger.

Roger: Thank you.

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