Marni welcomes the authority on what makes relationships last long-term, Stan Tatkin PsyD, MFT. He shares practical relationship advice based on our natural, biological tendencies as human beings. He tells us why we are wired for relationships in the first place and the biological pitfalls of not having relationships during our lives.


Stan is an Assistant Clinical Professor at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. He and his wife have a private practice and lead couples retreats in the U.S, and internationally. Stan is the developer of the PACT Program and author of Wired for Dating, Wired for Love, Your Brain on Love Relationship RX,  We Do, and co-author of Love and War in Intimate Relationships.


Should Relationships Be Easy? [2:03]


When two people understand why they are together and the point of their union relationships can be easier, not necessarily easy. Agreements should be made about sharing power, having each other’s backs, and being in each other’s care. But we are human and that comes with being aggressive, moody, fickle and other aspects of the human condition.


Nature doesn’t have a plan for long-term relationships but we need relationships to survive. Our need for attachment causes initial reactions of meeting others to feel like a drug but then our brain’s negativity bias can set in causing survival instincts to take over.


But there are phases to our relationships when we start to automate each other because we think things should be easier. Our brain takes shortcuts with things we deem familiar. Our partners blend into our total life experience. Our partner’s actions can trigger us based on all of our past relationships.


Being Committed Without Actually Committing [8:11]


Everyone is irritating, annoying or disappointing at some time. It may feel at times like our partner is a burden but what Stan says we should consider is that we are burdens too. But what do we do about it?


Long-term relationships are more about trust, safety, and security than they are about love. Our shared visions and shared ideologies are what will keep us together for the long haul. We put our time and energy into relationships because they pay dividends.


Commitments can open up the universe for us. It offers up mutually assured disruption and mutually assured survival and thriving.


Signs you are not fully committed:


  • You talk negatively about your partner to your friends.
  • You throw your partner under the bus.
  • You are unwilling to take care of your partner’s needs.
  • You don’t put your relationship above all other relationships.


Should I Stay or Should I Go? [17:39]


If you find yourself in a dilemma of should you stay or should you go, Stan says to write down what you think a long-term relationship should be. If your partner is unwilling to meet these principals or is moving in a different direction throw them to the curb.


Long-term relationships should be based on:


  • Shared power
  • Respect
  • Mutuality
  • Collaboration
  • Cooperation
  • Fairness


Get clear on your vision first if you are looking for a long-term relationship.


How to Share Power When Finances are Lopsided [21:39]


If you want a partnership that is fair and equal all resources should be shared. Relationships based on ‘have and have nots’ almost always experience problems. When inequities occur at the beginning of a relationship those same inequities will chip away the relationship over time.


Strategies to trust and share completely:


  • Both people need to be mutual stakeholders in the relationship.
  • Look ahead to the benefits that leaning all the way in will bring you.
  • Know that everything is a risk.
  • Know that good enough is perfect.
  • Surrender and give your full trust to your partner.


The way a relationship starts is a clue to how it ends.


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