Partnering Up: Falling From Space (or Grace)

by Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT,

Stages of Courtship

I realize this is a rather lax stage theory of courtship, so forgive me in advance for using a rocket analogy to describe how relationships get off the ground. But understand, I’ve had rockets on my mind for several years while thinking about success and failure in courtship.

Helen Fisher, a brilliant biological anthropologist, expert in the neurobiology of courtship and romantic love, and all-around lovely person, has written extensively on courtship. Please read her articles and books for more on this subject. Others have written on this topic. Harville Hendrix (another wonderful person) comes to mind for his early writings on Imago and stages of coupling. And of course John Gottman, another friend and great guy, has talked about the deleterious effects of testosterone on new lovers’ judgment. So, without further delay, I give you my rocket analogy of courtship.

During the first stage (booster) of partnering,...

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Am I An Anchor, Island, or Wave?

stan tatkin typologies Jan 28, 2013

by Stan Tatkin, PsyD, MFT,

So many people get stuck with this issue of “what am I” when it comes diagnostic classifications. Unfortunately I have become part of the problem. In my book, Wired for Love, I introduced what I thought was a friendlier attachment terminology: secure = anchor; avoidant = island; and angry resistant = wave. I was never fully happy with the classification system as laid out in the book because it seemed to perpetuate the human need to classify and be classified as either this or that. So, let’s put this issue to rest and establish the obvious: most of us do not neatly fit into categories or classifications. In Wired for Love terms think of yourself as being “anchor-ish,” or “island-ish,” or “wave-ish.” And this “ish-ness” can be understood to be state-related (temporary) rather than trait-related (permanent), such as “Last night I behaved in a wave-ish...

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