While in a relationship, we may do certain things that don’t actually help the bond between two people strengthen. Of course, we don’t even realize when we do such things, and that’s why it is better to analyze our relationship and realize when we don’t do something right.
Cognitive biases can be as helpful as they can be destructive. Some biases can help the person next to us like us even more, and up to the point a certain bias becomes a part of the relationship itself.
On the other hand, some cognitive biases do no good and can even make us regret a certain relationship. For more details you can read this cognitive psychology essay. We usually end up blaming our significant other for something we should be blamed for – and that’s just a destructive cognitive bias in action.
Therefore, to better understand ourselves, our relationship, and the person we chose to spend the life with, we will talk about the most common destructive cognitive biases that can appear in a relationship – and which people don’t usually realize.
The Negativity Bias
This one is usually seen as a self-defense mechanism by most people. It appears when one of the members of a relationship is trying to make excuses for the behavior of their significant other – these excuses always being negative.
In a negativity bias, we tend to give attention and weight to information that is negative. Of course, we give more importance to these than to any other information that’s coming from our partner.
For example, we call our partner several times during the day, but we don’t get an answer. In the case of a negativity bias, we’ll just think that they don’t want to talk to us, that they don’t like us anymore – or something more serious: they are with another person and don’t want us to interfere.
Naturally, most of the times we are wrong, as they might just not have the time or battery, let’s say, to take our calls. While there are plenty of reasonable explanations for this, the moment our partner gets back home, all hell breaks loose.
We will demand an explanation and for a log of all the activities of our partner throughout the day. First of all, we will seem a bit crazy and paranoid; on the other hand, our partner will think that we lost our trust in them. Therefore, not only one of the members of the relationship will regret something – both of them will.
At the end of the fight, we will think that we overreacted and didn’t think everything through properly. However, our significant other will think that we have changed, lost our trust in them – and eventually consider that choosing us as a partner was wrong.
It is advised that, before you confront your partner after such things happen, you think of all the possible explanations for their behavior. Things are not always as bad as you think they are – there is a reason for everything, and you should think reasonable as well.
The Confirmation Bias
After a simple experiment made by Peter Wason, an English psychologist, in 1960, he has come up with a phenomenon called the “confirmation bias”. This bias occurs when we believe and pursue facts that prove things that we already believe or suspect to be true.
In general, the confirmation bias affects our understanding of the world: it puts under question the things we believe about ourselves and about our relationships.
A good example is the listening issue most couples have. For example, there has been one case in which our partner didn’t listen to use while we were talking. Now, we took note of that and thought that it is something our partner usually does.
The next time our significant other seems to have a hard time understanding what we say or seems like he or she is not paying attention to us, we’ll use our secret weapon, the “you never listen” reply.
Of course, this is just us trying to prove something we suspect to be true – and be wrong most of the times. The confirmation bias can seriously affect a relationship, as the person next to you will think that you don’t actually know him or her that well.
The Cure to Biases
Here are some things you can do to avoid falling into the trap of biases like the ones we previously mentioned.
- Eliminate Negative Thoughts – of course, this is obvious; you have to get rid of everything that’s negative in your life, mostly the things you might presume about your partner.
- Stand Together – when something happens with one of your, it is better to rely on your partner to solve to issue; if something’s bothering you, don’t keep it for yourself. Share with the other so that you can both work toward fixing the issue.
- Fondness and Admiration – this is something both of you can do! Basically, never miss the chance to show your love and appreciation for your significant other. This will alleviate any symptoms caused by the negativity and confirmation biases.
Now that you know the most common destructive biases, it’s time for you to analyze your relationship and come up with a solution for these. It’s not hard – all you have to do is think before reacting and don’t act against your partner.