We have all heard the saying “Love is Blind,” and chances are we have seen couples that seem to prove it. Why else would a really tall person marry a really short person? Because most of us don’t believe differences like height are dangerous to relationships, we often find love-blindness humorous and perhaps a little strange.
But when we see a couple who seems to be blind to serious faults in their partner, we begin to worry. And maybe we begin to worry if we are being blind to something serious in our own relationships. We may even begin to question the wisdom of being in love if it only makes us blind.
Fortunately, love may not be as blind as we might think and having blinders on might not always be a bad thing. In a recent review of research, Garth Fletcher and Patrick Kerr of the University of Canterbury discovered the truth about love and what it does to our perceptions of our romantic partner.
The Two Errors
When it comes to judging the characteristics of a partner, there are two different types of errors we make that make our judgments less than accurate. If either error is made, we might be considered “blinded by love.”
Bias is the error of rating our partner higher or lower than they really are on a given trait. Imagine I was asked to rate my wife’s attractiveness compared to other women. Chances are, I am going to rate her higher than any other woman, even if others would not, because I love her. In this way, love is making me blind because I am rating her attractiveness higher than it might actually be if I were making a more objective judgement.
Why are we biased?
You might think that bias leads to choosing partners who are not good for us. But in reality, bias can be good for our relationships. We are often biased when rating our partner’s individual traits, like personality and attractiveness. For example, I am likely to think my wife is more attractive than she may be to others. But this is not a bad thing. In fact, allowing ourselves to think more positively about our partners as people is likely to make us more satisfied in our relationships. So being “blind” can actually help us be happier with our choice of partner.
Inconsistency is the error of changing a rating between times. For example, if my wife did something that made me upset, I might rate her lower on a trait like kindness. However, if she did something that made me really happy, I would be more likely to rate her high on kindness. The amount of love I am feeling is influencing my judgements in that moment, possibly making me “blind” to what is really happening.
Why are we inconsistent?
When it comes to our interactions with our partner, being inconsistent in our judgements of the relationship can also lead to healthy practices. If I have an argument with my wife, I may allow that argument to make me feel less positively about her amount of dedication to our relationship. However, because I am feeling more negative about the relationship in that moment, I will be more likely to attempt to repair the relationship than if I was always trying to make myself believe our relationship had no problems. Because I am inconsistent, I know when there is a problem and when the relationship is going well. In this way, I am actually being more clear about the state of the relationship and not blind at all.
So, is love blind? Perhaps “blind” is not the right word, but we might say that love is “tunnel-visioned.” Love makes us focus on our relationship. We are able to be more committed to our partner and be happy with the person we have chosen to love, while at the same time noticing problems in the relationship when they arise and working through them.
Love may be blind, but it can certainly guide us down the path of successful relationships.
To see how biased you are about your partner, try taking our RELATE assessment together as a couple to compare how you see your partner with how your partner sees themselves!
Read the original article here.
Written by: Dallin