Successful partner bids. Why these are crucial to healthy relationships.

What are partner relationship bids*?

Consider the following example:

You experience an upsetting incident at work and arrive home feeling highly emotional and stressed. You need desperately to tell your partner about it in order to offload and get some emotional support. However, when you try to bring up the topic your spouse is preoccupied with checking something on his/her phone and mumbles something about discussing the issue later and promptly forgets about it altogether.

This is an example of an unsuccessful partner bid.

We constantly make all kinds of bids in our relationships, including bids for:





help and

understanding .

Successful bids cement relationships and bring couples closer. Unsuccessful bids, on the other hand, tend to reduce intimacy and cause relationship dissatisfaction and unhappiness. (Of course it is not possible for every relationship bid to be successful as we are all making numerous relationship bids in every interaction we make every day. However, what is important is our general receptiveness and openness to the needs of other people in our lives and our mindfulness regarding the importance of maintaining good relationship bonds).

Susan Johnson, who pioneered Emotion-focused Couple Therapy, maintains that the fundamental question each of us asks ourselves (often unconsciously) in respect of our intimate partner is:

“Is he/she there for me when I need him/her?”. The answer to this question will determine one’s degree of relationship satisfaction.

We should therefore not take for the granted the importance of being present and responsive in our relationships.

When psychologists talk about the importance of constantly and consistently working on relationships, this is what it is all about!


It might be an idea to ask yourself whether or not you are paying sufficient attention to your partner and to his/her needs.

And what role does technology play in the health of your relationship?! More on this topic in a future post!


  • * John Gottman’s term.




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