Michelle Chalfant | The Adult Chair | 368 – Relationship Essentials with Dr. Stan Tatkin
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368 – Relationship Essentials with Dr. Stan Tatkin

Watch any rom-com or fairy tale and they’d have you believe relationships are as simple as meeting someone and falling in love. But is love really all it takes to have a healthy relationship? 


Though we often think of relationships as a matter of the heart, the truth is there’s a whole world of chemistry happening in your body and brain that has more impact on your relationship than you realize, such as:


  • What partner you pick
  • How you bond and attach 
  • What you perceive as threat in a relationship
  • How you respond to stress 
  • The way your mind stores memories 
  • How you view your partner 
  • And ultimately whether your connection grows or dissolves over time


Dr. Stan Tatkin, who looks at relationships through a biological and psychological lens, is back on the podcast this week talking about the relationship essentials that lead to not just long-lasting relationships but happy relationships. 


He breaks down what’s really going on under the surface in different relationship situations (like conflict or betrayal), the critical role our threat response plays in building or damaging connection and how to consciously create more secure functioning based on principles like fairness, justice and mutuality. 


Listen to discover:


  • The two things that cause relationships to dissolve 
  • How our stress and threat response systems impact our relationships
  • Why our brains “automate” and how to stop taking your partner for granted
  • The difference between attachment and love
  • The importance of “quick repair” in a relationship 
  • How to build more secure functioning in your partnership 
  • The dangers of loneliness and isolation


We must have safety in order to have connection. Dr. Tatkin says the goal is to learn how to remove interpersonal stress and feelings of threat in relationships, which lead to not just relationship health but mental, emotional and physical health for everyone in and around the relationship.


The next time you meet a new love interest or the next time you and your beloved are having a conversation, don’t just ask how you feel about the situation – also pay attention to how your nervous system is reacting and what your body is telling you. This awareness is key to picking the right partner, creating more emotional safety and building more life-giving, long-term partnerships. 


“[One reason relationships fail is] the manner in which all of us will interact when one or both of us is under stress. And this has to do with threat…where our brain changes and we start to, on some level, believe that the other person is not an ally.”  – Dr. Stan Tatkin


“Everything is about relationships and how we navigate our way in those relationships.” – Michelle Chalfant


“Learning about ourselves is intertwined with learning about another person.” – Dr. Stan Tatkin


“The only remedy to automation…is presence and attention. We have to build things in that ensure we’re in love or in respect.” – Dr. Stan Tatkin


“When we are in an argument with our beloved, it’s so important to give them something while we are in process.” – Michelle Chalfant


“Quick repair actually saves us downstream…the smart thing to do is to fix things now so that we don’t end up spending all of our time in the junkyard, not living life but sorting out everything we did wrong.” – Dr. Stan Tatkin


“The main problem with most issues around affairs, cheating is the lying…the biggest damage is the reveal of information that, if I had known, would have changed everything for me.” – Dr. Stan Tatkin


“Everybody has a different way of determining what is happy for them.” – Dr. Stan Tatkin


“It goes back to open, honest, raw communication, no matter what kind of relationship you’re in.” – Michelle Chalfant


“This whole thing about, ‘I can’t quit you,’ isn’t a rational drive, but it is powerful as hell.” – Dr. Stan Tatkin


“The secret to longevity, happiness, mental health, physical health is the presence of at least one secure functioning relationship in your life.” – Dr. Stan Tatkin


“I think we need to start taking some risks of just inviting people over for dinner or out to coffee or go to lunch…start taking that risk and be brave and start connecting more. We need in-person connection.” – Michelle Chalfant




Dr. Stan Tatkin Website



“In Each Other’s Care” (Dr. Stan Tatkin Book)



Episode #328: Understanding And Improving Your Relationship With Dr. Stan Tatkin



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