All posts tagged: Stan Tatkin

Shared Principles of Governance: Ensure Your Relationship’s Longevity

By Stan Tatkin // If you’re in a long-term relationship or want to be in one, I can give you straight-up advice on what to do right now to safeguard your relationship from avoidable trouble. First, let me explain why you should listen. As social animals, we depend on each other for survival on many levels: physically, psychologically, emotionally. In the wild, primates procreate and pair bond, on average, for four years: sufficient time to raise one child and protect it from the hostile environment. Nature cares not about long-term relationships. Most of us modern humans, however, do care because we are part of a society that values, even requires, cooperation, collaboration, and social fidelity to agreed-upon principles of governance. We also live a lot longer than either non-human primates or our recent ancestors. All this suggests the value of taking active steps to ensure the longevity of our relationships. Now, that’s not always easy. Romantic love waxes and wanes over time. Mutual physical attraction can dim as our bodies undergo slow but inevitable changes …

Interdependence Is the Tie That Binds

By Stan Tatkin // I watched the popular TV show Madam Secretary, and there was a moment when the central figure got a mini lecture from a Nobel laureate mathematician about negotiations. The character stated that the key to getting disparate parties to agree on peace is to illuminate their interdependence. I won’t say I got the basic idea for this blog from the TV show, but I was inspired to write after watching it. Interdependence means, in the case of couples, that each partner has a stake in something. We could say childrearing is one such shared investment, although having a child is not sufficient to keep couples together. Just look at the stats. Because many partners do not function securely together to begin with, they tend to become increasingly insecure when they add children. They resort to childrearing as a separate endeavor and not as lovers collaborating in a family enterprise. The demise of their relationship should not be a surprising outcome. But there is another common tie that should bind partners together: …

What does it mean to be in a secure-functioning relationship? And why should it matter to me?

By Stan Tatkin and Tracey Boldemann-Tatkin ~~~ Secure functioning refers to an interpersonal system based on principles of true mutuality, collaboration, justice, fairness, and sensitivity. It means that you and your partner are in a foxhole together, protecting each other from the outside world… and from each other. Secure functioning assumes you and your partner have different minds, with different interests, drives, and histories. Secure-functioning partners are fully interdependent in the sense that each happily accepts the other as a burden, and both agree they are in each other’s care. In this kind of two-person system, you and your partner form a couple bubble, which you can think of as a protective boundary that protects your resources and sense of ongoing safety and security. Think of a couple bubble as an ecosystem or terrarium that provides you and your partner with the sustenance you need to carry out your daily tasks, deal with fears and anxiety, handle difficult situations and people, and undergo personal growth. In a secure-functioning relationship, you and your partner assure each …