Self-Fulfilling Prophecies in Love
The most prevalent & powerful bias — in scientific research as well as in day-to-day life — is the subconscious tendency of the human mind to prioritize & remember information that matches our beliefs, to interpret facts in a manner that reinforces our opinions, and to dismiss or downplay any evidence that contradicts what we consider to be true. The term for this tendency is “confirmation bias” — as in, we are biased to subconsciously accept without question the information that confirms our beliefs, and to automatically find reasons to reject any information that conflicts with them.
It is universal, ubiquitous, and unavoidable. It affects all of us, all the time — in fact, we are most vulnerable to it when we believe ourselves to be immune. Since it operates outside of our immediate awareness, it is impossible for us to eliminate it completely. We cannot overpower it. We cannot outsmart it. All we can do is establish conscious strategies to reduce its influence upon our decision-making and apply them consistently until they become habitual.
The challenge is that our intellect is constantly at war with our emotions. When the primitive limbic system is activated, the rational cerebral cortex disengages. We react without thinking, fall back into our old patterns, and fall prey to the old prejudices we strove to discard. The more emotionally-invested we are in a situation, the more difficult it becomes to analyze it with objectivity & logic.
And few things in life have the power to affect our emotions more intensely than our romantic relationships.
As a teenager, I had a secret — something so dark & shameful that I only ever did it in private, while pretending even to my closest friends that I despised doing it.
I loved watching romantic comedies.
“Say Anything,” with Ione Skye & John Cusack, was my favorite. I wanted to be that young man, standing under a window holding a boombox, daring to believe in a love between two people that could overcome the barriers around us and the fears within us.
An only child, raised primarily by my mother in a rural neighborhood where all the…