Confirmation bias is when we look for and interpret information in a way that confirms our assumptions and preconceived notions.
So how does assumption become a relationship obstacle?
Let’s take the kitchen trash as an example.
Partner A notices that Partner B threw something away in the kitchen trash can and also notices that the trash is completely full, and perhaps even over-flowing.
Partner B does not take the trash out but walks away. That is the “neutral” observation.
Now there could be many reasonable explanations as to why Partner B did not take the trash out at that time.
Perhaps Partner B thought, “Oh, the trash is getting full, I should take it out soon,” or “Oh, the trash is full, I will make a note to myself to do it after I finish ‘X.’”
Or maybe even Partner B was preoccupied with something else and just didn’t notice how full the trash was.
However, Partner A sees this and assumes, “of course my partner didn’t take out the trash, they are so selfish, this is typical, they expect me to do everything around here and do not appreciate everything that I already do.”
That’s the assumption. Now comes the confirmation bias.
Partner A begins to notices anything else around the house that supports this assumption.
There’s a glass left on the table; a towel is left on the floor, the garage light is left on, there are bags left on the floor.
All of these observations are interpreted to support the assumption, and then the assumption becomes an absolute truth. And a very negative one at that.
We end up building a rock-solid case against our partner in our mind; we become so angry and automatically pull away and/or attack.
And our partner has no idea what has gone down. When we are in this place, the last thing we want is to be close to our partner.
The differences blocker
When we first partner with someone, we generally love their differences. They are intriguing, interesting, and exciting.
The differences can vitalize us and draw us closer, wanting to know more. However, over time, we begin to experience them very differently, especially if the difference is regarding something we feel strongly about.
The differences between a couple become the next relationship obstacle thatcan suddenly be experienced as irritating, threatening, and just plain wrong.
In general, we like our beliefs, our opinions, and our thoughts to be consistent with the world around us, especially with our spouse.
When we are confronted with these differences, it creates a lot of discomfort, and we automatically try to eliminate the discomfort and “correct” our environment by minimizing or dismissing the differing beliefs/opinions and arguing our point/opinion even stronger.
This often places us in a “one up,” “one down” position against our partner, which is what kills a relationship.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
I work with couples, families and individuals. I believe that everyone that comes to therapy is unique and brings in different strengths, goals, and perspectives. I do not believe in a "one size fits all" approach, but rather tailor my approach to each client. I meet each person with empathy, acceptance and directness. I believe in being an active participant in the therapy process and will strive to understand you but also find it important to be honest and challenge you when appropriate.
I am especially drawn to working with couples who have lost their connection and need to rekindle their romance, parenting issues, and high conflict couples. I also work with individuals with sports/academic performance, issues around self-esteem and shame, and identity.
I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and also have a certificate in psychodynamic/psychoanalytic therapy. I also have an extensive background as a dancer and a competitive athlete that gives me a distinct perspective in my work.