Give those you love the benefit of the doubt

Judge

Do you ever find yourself quick to judge? Do you assume you know the whole story without even asking? How do you know the scenario you’ve built in your mind is actually reality?
My column in the June 4th CJN tackles two questions. The first letter is about assuming you know the answer without ever having asked a question. The second letter is about judging what you see – again without ever having asked a question. 

Dear Ella,

Everything had been going too well. Last year, I met Arthur at my friend’s  book club. We went for coffee after the meeting and have been together ever since. We have so much in common. Our kids are grown and happy, we travel together, love to read and have wonderful discussions.  We truly enjoy each other’s company. I haven’t been this happy in years.

A few days ago, however, I was dealt quite a blow. After a routine mammogram and follow-up testing, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I will need a lumpectomy and radiation. I’ve been dealing with this alone, as the last thing I want to do is burden my daughters or Arthur. I’m seriously considering breaking it off. I would appreciate hearing your thoughts.

Falling Apart 

Dear Falling Apart

Medically you’re doing all the right things by following doctors instructions and learning your next steps. Emotionally, however you are doing the opposite. There is no need for you to go through this alone. In fact, stress adds an extra challenge for your body to overcome.

You have a support system, and now is the time to use it. Your daughters would want to know and be there for you.

As for Arthur, give him a chance. See how he handles a difficult situation. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Don’t let this diagnosis define you. Although it’s a setback, you caught it early and have a medical plan in place. Now put the support component in place to ensure the most positive outcome.

Arthur may end up being that special person who will get you through the rough times. A partner is there for the good times and the difficult ones. Give him the opportunity to step up. He deserves that. Do not look at this as a burden. Health problems are a fact of life and can hit anyone at any time. Would you have bolted if the tables were turned and Arthur told you he had cancer? Somehow I doubt it. The two of you may come out on the other side of this journey, closer, stronger and more committed.

Arthur will have a lot of emotions to work through. Give him the time you’ve allowed yourself. Let him absorb what you’re telling him. Let him talk and share his concerns, fears and feelings. Communication is key for both of you. Hopefully Arthur will be the special man you believed him to be. However, if that’s not the case, it’s best you find out now. Hang on to the people who deserve you. You’ll get through this with the people who love you.

Dear Ella,

My brother Harry is a successful businessman. He’s the CEO of a large company and has a seat on the board of two organizations. Harry has three children over 20. He split from his wife a few years ago and started dating. For the past three months, he’s been seeing a woman in her early 30s. Harry is pushing 60. He looks absolutely ridiculous with her. I’m sure this woman is more interested in Harry’s money than in Harry. Is there any tactful way I can raise this topic without losing the relationship I have with my brother?

Yearning for Youth

Dear Yearning for Youth

Harry has managed to raise a family, do well in business and gain the respect of members in the community. He sounds well rounded and in control.

I have to wonder why you feel a man who can do so much right with his life is so inept when it comes to picking who to spend his social time with?

On the one hand you make Harry sound like an intelligent pillar in the community, and on the other, you paint him to be a love-struck moron.

Give Harry a bit more credit. If this younger woman is out for your brother’s money, Harry will probably figure it out. Maybe this woman is bright, intelligent, has a good heart and brings out the youth in your brother? Maybe your brother enjoys spending time with a younger woman who makes him feel good about himself? Whatever the reason, it’s his life and his business.

Give your brother the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Harry knows exactly what he’s doing.

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