“A couple bubble is a cocoon, or womb that holds a couple together and protects each partner from outside elements. It’s an intimate environment that the partners create and sustain together, that guarantees such things as “I will never leave you, or frighten you purposely. Our relationship is more important than my need to be right. I will relieve you when you are in distress. You will be the first one to hear anything.” Stan Tatkin
Just before embarking on my journey, I met a friend of mine for breakfast. She is a psychologist and an expert in attachment relationships. In our usual mind opening conversation, I told her that I was ready to love again, and this time, I was willing to give everything I learned to make it work. On top of it, I was going on a Tantra training to direct my professional life in a totally new direction, to heal and support people in intimate relationships. We exchanged book names, and things that work on us personally. I told her about my crush on David Deida, and she offered me to read Wired for Love by Stan Tatkin.
Right after posting the above quotation from the book on social media, another friend’s comment created the ground for this article. She said “I like the quotation, but couldn’t really understand the “I will never leave you” part”. She was right; it was difficult to grasp how anyone could tell another “I will never leave you”, especially in these uncertain times, and under the pressure of a faster than ever changing world. We never know, right?
This led me to thinking about the serious relationships I had in the last twenty years. In most of these relationships, I knew something was wrong by the first few months, and I had to leave the relationship but I didn’t. And I made a mistake by giving up the only relationship that was nourishing me and was worth holding on to.
Although I could see how this “I will never leave you” was causing a problem in my life, I still loved the idea of a couple bubble when I read about it. I would have given much more care for the one relationship I gave up, if I had this consciousness. I also needed this for my future well-being. It just resonated so right in me.
As I go deeper in my studies in intimate relationships, I see there are many paths that are looking for ways to make relationships work again. There are people who prefer open relationships, where couples are free to have sex with whoever they want and still are fine about it. They believe they grow spiritually out of these paths. But I am not one of them. I am a true believer in soul mates. My mom says that I was two years old when I asked her “Who is your love?” I’d love to be able to hold a couple bubble with the man I love, making him feel safe and secure by sharing my love and putting the relationship above all. It is also my wish to share this with others and help them create their own bubbles.
After reflecting on my friend’s question and looking at my past choices, I figured out that to succeed in creating a healthy couple bubble, one needed discernment, the ability to judge well and choose the right partner to create the bubble with in the first place. “A discerning individual is considered to possess wisdom and be of good judgement” Wiki says. What other area would we need discernment than relationships? We spend so much of our time in them, and relationships make or kill us. Do you want to live or do you want to die is the question.
However, until we develop this ability to discern, we tend to choose partners based on our childhood issues. As an empath, I can see how my “I will never leave you” became a killer for me in relationships to narcissistic men. In fact, it became a killer in narcissistic friendships too. And business partnerships. And teamworks where I ended up doing all the work and getting no credits.
In his article on unisoultheory.com, Raven Fon calls the relationship between an empath and a narcissist “A Toxic Union.” Empaths’ gifts of being highly sensitive to feelings and emotions of others becomes a curse until they learn how to set their boundaries. A narcissist does not like to respect boundaries, and empaths are naturally drawn to these people because they want to heal the world and can’t stand to see someone in pain. A narcissist on the other hand, just wants to keep being a narcissist. Empaths love to love and enjoy making the other person feel whole again. But what happens on the way? Narcissist’s manipulation on the relationship cause severe depression on empaths. They end up losing themselves. Instead of alienating their partner, they end up alienating themselves.
“There’s nothing wrong with putting the relationship’s needs on top of your personal needs” says Stan Tatkin. “Some people value themselves more than the relationship, and some people value the relationship more than themselves.” He calls this autonomy vs mutuality. While autonomous people carry values like “You do your thing, and I’ll do my thing” or “You take care of yourself and I’ll take care of myself”, couples with mutuality as their model know what the other person feels and thinks, and cares about them. This model is based on sharing and mutual respect. “Neither expects the other to be different than who he/she is and they both use this shared knowledge as a way to protect one another in private as well as public settings.”
Years ago, I made a wish one afternoon in Phi Phi Island. I was totally alone on a secluded beach. The sun was setting right in front of me, and the full moon was rising above the palm trees on my back. It was so serene, so beautiful, that I started to cry. There was too much beauty for my heart to carry alone, so I made a wish, to have someone in my life, a partner, who’d have the soul eyes and the heart to see the same beauty, or even more, so that we could share the load.
Until learning that mutuality actually exists and is the natural ground of healthy relationships, I started to think that there was something wrong with this wish. In the relational world of autonomy, one had to love themselves first and foremost, to be able to love another. I had to be able to enjoy everything all by myself so I could move one step further to enjoy the same things with a man. “It’s impossible to love yourself first before someone loves you. We learn to love ourselves precisely because we have experienced being loved by someone.” says Stan Tatkin. What a relief!
It is one thing to be dependent on someone else to make you feel happy and totally another to share the self love generated from inside. On a paradise island, or in ordinary places on totally usual days, during a long walk by the sea, in the park, or after a nurturing and self loving yoga session, the love you generate is totally there to share and support your chosen partnership.
Now years later, what started as a plan to review and rewrite my heart’s main wish, ended up being renewed again. This time even with a stronger belief that love exists and is multiplied when shared with the right person.