Is Your Relationship in a Bubble?

The Tri-Valley Center for Relationship Therapy helps couples from all over the San Francisco Bay Area build secure, safe, lasting & strong relationships

The Tri-Valley Center for Relationship Therapy helps couples from all over the San Francisco Bay Area build secure, safe, lasting & strong relationships

The relationship that you have with your partner is like none other. It is your primary attachment relationship and should be a safe haven where the two of you love each other unconditionally and protect each other from the internal & external stress. The innate need for safety and to be loved is the primary reason we seek partners. A committed relationship is a secure home for the people in it to feel loved, accepted, cared for and protected. That secure home is what is called a “couple bubble”, a concept developed by Dr. Stan Tatkin, the founder of the psychobiological approach to couples therapy or PACT, one of the cutting edge approaches to couples therapy in the present times.

What is a couple bubble?

A couple bubble is a pact, a promise or an agreement that you and your partner have with one another that your relationship will always be a safe place for the both of you to share your vulnerabilities, express your deepest fears and find shelter in times of sadness and stress. The simplest way to conceptualize the couple bubble is the idea that you and your partner are a team, a united front and the team ("WE") comes first.

You both promise:

  • To provide a safety net for each other and a secure base from which you both can venture out and explore the world with the knowledge that if life gets scary, you can return to safety.

  • To have a mutual commitment that you both will always put your relationship before anything or anyone else in your life. This includes putting your partner first, prioritizing their safety, security, well-being and needs above everything else & they do the same for you.

  • That you will never leave your partner or frighten them intentionally.

  • That you will soothe your partner when they are distressed.

  • That your partner will be the first to hear about anything about you.

  • That our relationship is more important than either one of us being right or what other people might think or want from us.

How to use your couple bubble?

A couple bubble cannot protect you if you do not use it.

Here’s how to use your couple bubble:

  1. Find out what your partner needs from you to feel safe and secure in the relationship. Chances are that your idea of safety and security might be quite different from what makes your partner feel safe. Remember you both are in charge of making the other feel safe in the relationship.

  2. Protect the bubble! Acting in ways that undermine the safety of the relationship such as not putting your relationship first or disregarding the needs of your partner can deconstruct the couple bubble.

  3. Both of you are equally responsible for protecting the couple bubble. If you expect your partner to put you before everything else but don’t do the same for them, the couple bubble will not be maintained.

  4. Use the protection…..of the couple bubble! Confide in one another, ask for the other’s help, rely on each other, share your vulnerabilities & fears, have each other’s backs!

Written by: Nagma V. Clark, Ph.D., L.P.C.C. specializing in sex therapy,  couples therapy & marriage counselingpremarital counselingindividual relationship therapy LGBTQQI couples counseling at Tri-Valley Relationship Therapy, Inc. in the East Bay, in Dublin & Oakland.

If you and your partner are interested in building a more secure, safe and lasting relationship, couples/marriage counseling at Tri-Valley Relationship Therapy, Inc. in the East Bay can help. Dr. Clark utilizes the PACT principles to help couples develop secure functioning relationships that are built on true mutuality and the idea that what is good for one partner, is good for the other.

Please contact 925-400-3541 or email to schedule a free  phone consult. You can also fill out the contact form and you will be contacted within 12-24 hours.