You may pride yourself on seeing issues from all sides, as I do. You may feel compassion for people who are doing their best with what they have.
So listen to how upset your partner is about how someone treats her. You may find yourself empathizing with the person who disappointed her without realizing it. You may be tempted to explain the bigger picture to her here. You may want her to understand what may have caused this person to hurt your best friend forever and what she may have done to upset this person.
So why should you not play the devil’s advocate?
- She May Feel Abandoned
You may feel like you are doing her a favor by helping her see how she has created upset by having been unaware of how her action may have come across.
Your beloved does not need that just now and is sharing her feeling of hurt. Why would you first tell her how she has caused the person to react that way. Let’s agree that your heart is in the right place, and you may have intended something noble.
However, you may leave her in the lurch just when she needed a shoulder to cry on.
- She May Feel You Do Not understand Her
By jumping to explain the other’s person’s likely side of the story, you are invalidating your partner’s perceptions. She will wind up with the experience that her feeling down in the dumps doesn’t count.
She may even accuse you of gaslighting her. This phrase comes from an old movie in which a man drove a woman crazy by continually making her feel that what she had experienced was not valid. Certainly, you do not want her to feel that.
- She May Feel That You Are Condescending
When you come from the angle of knowing better than she, you will come across as someone who has a superior viewpoint. She may feel that you do not respect her experience and reactions to it.
By telling her that she should be looking at it differently, i.e., from the point of view the other’s need to react that way, she likely will sense that you believe that you have a corner on truth, and she doesn’t.
- She Needs You to Get That’s She’s Hurting.
You no doubt have a possible angle on what may have gone down and why this person is haranguing the one you love. The truth here matters less than whether your partner feels that she can count you to appreciate what it’s like to be her.
She needs you to honor that you can understand from all that you know of her why this might have been particularly discombobulating to her.
This way, you continue to build her confidence that you are less interested in showing off your clarity, and more interested in understanding what all of this means to her. She needs you to sit with her and feel empathy that life at the moment feels overwhelming.
- Playing Devil’s Advocate Invariably Sets The Two of You At Odds.
If you have been reading my other articles, you will recognize that couples do best when they relax around each other and offer soft responses even to intense eruptions. By being with your partner as she shares her pain, you can let her know you resonate with what’s going on within her, even though you might not have had the same reaction.
Building a bridge of trust and intimacy increases her confidence that she can be vulnerable with you and know that you will take her side as a way of walking with whatever pain the event has triggered.
Say something like, “ I am sorry you had to go through this, and I want to understand what it’s like to be you. In saying these words, you will open a door for your partner to see in your eyes that you care.
I understand that as you have read through this, you may be saying to yourself, “But I think my point of view could be helpful to her in the future. Why can’t I point out to her a different way of perceiving the situation so that she won’t be taking it so personally?
I want to commend you for reading this much and exploring issues that might not have occurred to you. Let me suggest that your point is well taken and in the right time and the right place you may be able to do the following. Ask first, “Do you feel I have gotten what has upset you and why?”
If you receive a positive and appreciative response, you have earned a chance to suggest something that would feel helpful in the future for your love. You have established the groundwork by not playing the devil’s advocate. Now she may welcome your feedback and feel appreciative of a different point of view. By first listening to understand her feelings, your beloved will see you as an invaluable member of a team. She will feel you are taking on the world together”