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An Everyday Example: Jack and Jill

Let's now look at, and then analyze, a disagreement that might arise in everyday life—in this case, between lovers who come to different conclusions about a situation they both experienced.

Suppose Jack and Jill, who are in a romantic relationship, go to a party, during which Jack spends most of the evening talking with Susan. On their way back, Jack, sensing that Jill is upset, asks, "What's wrong?"

After some hesitation, Jill says, "I didn't appreciate your spending the whole night flirting with Susan!"

Jack: Flirting … flirting, I was not flirting!

Jill: What would you call it?

Jack: Being friendly. I was being friendly.

Jill: When a man spends the whole evening focused on one woman, sits very close to her, looks at her in a romantic way, periodically touches her in supposedly casual ways, he is engaged in what can only be called flirting.

Jack: And when a woman spends her whole evening watching everything her boyfriend does, collecting evidence as if preparing for a trial, a boyfriend who has always been faithful to her, she is engaged in what can only be called paranoia.

Jill: Paranoid? How dare you call me that!

Jack: Well, how else can I describe your behavior? You're obviously distrustful and insecure. You're accusing me without a good reason for doing so.

Jill: Don't act like this is the only time you flirted. I heard from your friends that you were quite a lady's man before we got together.

Jack: And I heard about your possessiveness and jealousy from your friends. I think you need to deal with your own problems before you cast stones at me. Perhaps you need counseling.

Jill: You're nothing but a typical male. You think that women are to be measured by conquest. You're so focused on getting strokes for that male ego of yours that you can't see or admit what you're doing. If you can't see fit to change your behavior, I must question the wisdom of our having a relationship.

Jack: I agree. I, too, question our relationship, but I question it on the basis of your paranoia. I think I deserve an apology!

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