I’m Strongly Biased Against That Happening

a chalkboard with the following written on it: If you choose an answer to this question at random, what is the chance you will be correct? A) 25% B) 50% C) 60% D) 25%
Image by Duncan Hull / CC BY

It’s been a long dark night of brain weasel attacks. I’ve mismanaged a complicated situation. A party.

Looking back on events, I can’t figure out whether I’ve shown my partners too much affection or too little. But either way, my emotions warn me that I’ve done something wrong. The pieces aren’t fitting quite where they should. Something is off. And I want to move on from it, but I can’t let it go.

And it’s a few days of loping around the house before I can even muster up the words to explain the type of knife that’s turning inside my guts.

But I speak up when I do. “Sometimes I worry that everyone I love will figure out that they don’t need me anymore. That I’ll go from being an insider, a person surrounded by love and support, to someone who’s been exiled. All of a sudden, I’ll be on the outside looking in. Watching everyone else enjoy a life that I was once part of.”

He nods.

I can tell it’s a real fear because of the sick way I feel as soon as I’ve said it. I’ve turned myself inside out. And now he has the opportunity to judge me.

“Well,” he says after a pause. “I’m strongly biased against that happening.”

*

This, this right here is why I love my husband. He knows that this is a stronger form of reassurance to me than “oh, that would never happen” or “I would never do that.”

His mind is like mine. He knows that we can both easily imagine up the far-fetched scenarios, however unlikely, where any given thing could possibly occur.

He knows not to argue about possible versus impossible. That’s a losing battle. Declaring something impossible hinges upon 100% reliability. And there’s really no way to guard against the fringe decimal points. The one in a million chance. Possibility can creep up in the margins.

He know that arguments about probability and how the human mind actually works — drawing upon the power of personal bias — are ones that resonate more deeply, more soundly.

I trust the inertia of confirmation bias, our tendency to see new information in a way that confirms rather than challenges our existing beliefs, to be far more reassuring than any promises made at times of intense emotion. And certainly more than I trust the future.

*

Books by Page Turner:

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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