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Home » Stan Tatkin: Relationships Are Hard, But Why? at TEDxKC Conference (Transcript)

Stan Tatkin: Relationships Are Hard, But Why? at TEDxKC Conference (Transcript)

Stan Tatkin

Here is the full transcript of Stan Tatkin, developer of PACT — A Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy — on Relationships Are Hard, But Why? at TEDxKC Conference.

Listen to the MP3 Audio: Relationships Are Hard, But Why by Stan Tatkin at TEDxKC


Relationships are difficult. Everybody knows that. Most people think it’s because of money, sex, kids, work, or who picks up the socks.

Some people think it’s because we’re just not right for each other, or we don’t have enough in common. Look, it’s not just you, or him, or her. There’s actually nothing more difficult on the planet than another person.

Think about that. We’re all difficult. We all come to each new relationship wanting easy, but we also come with our fair share of unresolved painful experiences from previous relationships.

Between love and work, love is by far, more complex and challenging. Now, much of the reason for this is based in our automatic neurobiological reflexes, so let me explain.

Let’s start with that fancy neocortex of yours, the high cortical areas. For simplicity sake, let’s call them your ambassadors. Your ambassadors are very smart, deliberate, but slow, and they’re very expensive to run. They’re really good at planning, predicting, organizing, languaging. And if I may be frank, they’re really good at making shit up.

When you think of logic and reason, think ambassadors. Now, the subcortical areas of your brain, let’s call them your primitives. They’re very fast, memory-based, automatic, and very cheap to run. They’re involved in love and sex, but also threat detection by scanning for dangerous faces, voices, gestures, movements, as well as dangerous words and phrases.

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