Sunday, May 15, 2011

Your Perception Is Not My Reality And Vice Versa (Personal Edition)

In the last few days, a double murder and suicide at San Jose State University (SJSU) has attracted a lot of comments and speculation.  Read the articles below for more information on the situation:

San Jose State killings blamed on domestic dispute

SJSU students killed in shooting to get posthumous diplomas

The comments and speculation surrounded on two items:

Why a 54 year old man and a 25 year old woman be married? Love?  Money?  Green Card?

Was the 25 year old woman and the 26 year old friend that were killed having an affair or were they just friends?  They were both married though the man had separated from his wife (at least for a time).

I'm not going to comment directly on either of the questions because I don't have the answers.  I'll leave that to the police / investigators to figure out.  However, what I can say is this case teaches us that "Perception vs. Reality" in friendships / relationships is an important thing to consider.

For me, it is perfectly normal to just be friends with people of the opposite sex.  I have plenty of friends of the female persuasion both single, attached and married (don't think I know any divorced female friends).  While having friends of the opposite sex is a good thing in my mind, I've learned that things change when they are attached and especially when they are married.

The main thing is that my female friend's significant other's take priority.   I don't take it personally because every other friend is probably treated the same way.  However, with me being a GUY, there is additional significance that I didn't think about in my younger days.

In MY REALITY (and all of my female friends realities), there is NOTHING going on between us.  That stuff we can control.  What we can't control?  The PERCEPTION of their significant others.  Therefore, when associating with your attached/married female friends, you have to tread carefully and not give any wrong ideas that something is going on.   There is no one right way to proceed as every couple of different.  My female friends let me know where the lines / boundaries are and I don't ever get close to crossing them!   The good news is that I know the husbands pretty well and that helps me out!

This "Perception vs Reality" issue could have been one of the things (among many others) at play here in the SJSU situation.  The husband's perception was of infidelity and affair.  The two young people indeed may have been just friends.  However, their actions (being in a car together at 8:30 PM in the evening) may not have portrayed reality and that caused the husband to lose his mind.

The husband definitely should not have done what he did.  It is unfortunate what has happened and that has caused the loss of three lives.  Best wishes to the families involved in this time of grief.

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