“Wired For Love” by Stan Tatkin

book cover

Subtitle: How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain & Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict & Build a Secure Relationship

Recommended to me by: Nora Samaran

I bounced off this book the first time I tried to read it. The second time, I got past the over-simplified initial examples and cutely simplified brain science to get to some useful relationship suggestions. They boil down to: Make your relationship a priority. Pay attention to what your partner likes, and do that. Pay attention to what upsets your partner, and offer comfort. Negotiate in good faith rather than trying to control them. Be aware of attachment styles and threat responses.

I took serious exception to calling the ventral and dorsal vagal nerves the “smart vagus” and “dumb vagus.” That’s just plain inaccurate, and has all sorts of ableist implications that don’t belong in a relationship book (or anywhere).

As frequently happens, the disorganized attachment style is left out. He uses the metaphors of anchor (secure), wave (anxious), and island (avoidant).

There are some same-sex couples in the examples, and the genders are not painfully stereotyped in the heterosexual couples. The names even have a bit of cultural variability. Yay.

Recommended for the relationship advice, but not the brain science.

Available at Powell’s Books.

2 comments to “Wired For Love” by Stan Tatkin

  • Hi there! just got the pungback that said this page had linked to the nurturance culture blog. just curious how the ‘recommended by’ section works – because I do like the book (and this review has useful info – thanks!) but didn’t write this review 🙂 It’s a bit confusing visually here.

  • Oh yeah, I had this issue once before and forgot that I was using “Recommended to me by” to make it more clear. Fixed!

    (And as always, hugely appreciating your writing about attachment and relationships!)

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