One of many many many many (and some may want to add one last “many”) many reasons why I am single is the social and behavioral psychology philosophy called confirmation bias.
Confirmation bias is when an individual will skew or interpret observed data to substantiate a preconceived notion. Thus, the data that is agreeance with the belief is exacerbated, embellished or just plain fabricated while that which is contrary is deemed erroneous, irrelevant or inaccurately identified.
And that, my dear children who haven’t been born, is why your mother and I aren’t married yet.
I can think of girls I’ve dated where it seemed everything was wrong–but I was smitten! It was almost as if she was TRYING to give me signs that we weren’t going to work out, but I couldn’t see them.
I was blind to signs. For example:
When she was unkind, I blamed it on a hard day.
When she was emotionally aloof, I knew it was just because of family issues.
When she was lying, I figured it was my fault for not being open enough.
And I gave her WAY too much credit. For example:
When she smiled, I took it as a sign that she was the happiest person (never mind the extreme mood swings).
When she texted, I felt her love bleeding through those emoji’s (never mind that she only texted back ½ the time).
When she answered her phone, I confirmed her ability to drop everything for me (never mind she was unemployed and only answered one in three times I called).
And yet I’ll drop girls where there isn’t that initial spark for the stupidest reasons!
I look at a girl who has her whole life together, but likes pictures straightened or over corrects an group project and assume that she is a crazy girl and super anal retentive and if I ever mess something up in the house when we are married she will flip a lid.
I look at a girl who is an observer and not a performer and assume that she is boring, reserved, a recluse and at our 50th anniversary, she will want to watch some movie on oculus rift and not talk with people and she’ll make me a hermit.
I look at a girl who is a friend and assume that it would be so weird to be anything but friends and I could never make a friend more than a friend.
You get where I’m coming from?
Well, let me tell you where I’m going with this.
Yeah, let’s all just stop. Can we, please?
So many divorces and so many people remain single their entire lives because they look for the smallest insignificant reasons to confirm and ignore the biggest most important reasons to deny their own bias! (guilty)
Let’s take a step back and take an objective look at who we are and what we want/need. Let’s not cloud our judgement with “sparks”…because those embers will die as soon as the first rains of adversity come in that mirage of a marriage.
So what are you to do?
1. Take an inventory of your past relationships to see if you are guilty (oh, by the way, if you are single you are guilty).
2. Ask your best best best friend for advice as an objective third party to see if your heart is way too far ahead of your brain.
3. Reevaluate reasons you stopped dating people.
4. Reconsider reasons you never dated people.
5. Move forward with self-honesty and take notice of your confirmation bias.
As we do this, I’m confident that our dating lives and marriages will be more fun, less analytical and we can give people the benefit of the doubt–until they give reason enough to doubt the benefit.