Titanic – Safe Certainty in Relationships

Safe Certainty in Relationships

As humans we all, at times, seek a sense of certainty and that some degree of certainty can help us move forward in our lives. However, sometimes this can lead to paralysis and lack of creativity. We need to learn to embrace the existence of uncertainty within this and in relationships.

You can use the analogy of the Titanic because it’s a great visualisation and metaphor for the SAFE CERTAINTY we may seek in relationships (and in most aspects of life).


It’s April 10th 1912, the Titanic the night before the iceberg hit.

You walk down a freshly polished, mahogany stair case, you can smell as you walk through the newly painted white doors with round glass window panes to the dining room filled with an aroma of beautiful smells. You walk through the dining area, a magnificent, long room filled with soft, brand new leather seats and large tables. At this point you feel SAFE, and as it was even said by the President of the White Star Line: ‘God Himself Could Not Sink This Ship’ and was “practically unsinkable“. You are absolutely CERTAIN this ship would not sink.

It is guaranteed to never sink!

Titanic Dining Room

This relates back to how our relationship begins. The honeymoon stage we are sure this person loves us and won’t leave us. Feeling all smooth sailing and often we search for a SAFE and CERTAIN relationship – nothing can go wrong, the future is set.


The ship entered an area known to have icebergs. Just over a week since it set sail. The sea water temperature is -2 degrees, freezing in temperature. The ship hits an iceberg, the bedrooms start filling with water. The Titanic is beginning to sink. This is an UNSAFE and UNCERTAIN situation. How are you going to get out? How am I going to survive?

Titanic is sinking: UNSAFE and UNCERTAIN


You are in the water – you’ve jumped off the ship and found a door to lean on. Life expectancy in the freezing cold water is between 15-45 minutes. You can see life boats in the distance but you are in shark infested waters and the life expectancy is not long. You are UNSAFE but CERTAIN there are life boats.



You find a rowboat or a lifeboat, people start climbing in the boat. Suddenly, you are SAFE in this lifeboat however, you are UNCERTAIN of the future. Sometimes within our relationship when we are are SAFE and UNCERTAIN, we need to trust each other, keep ourselves safe but be okay with the uncertainty of the future.

There are 2 ores to row the boat, (one person per ore) 2 people need to row the boat, you have to work together to avoid going round in circles and there is an element of trust with the other person rowing the boat with you.

For example: your partner has gone out and you don’t have full trust in them and you are SAFE but UNCERTAIN about their whereabouts or if they’re cheating and you feel this need for CERTAINTY (anxious or disorganised attachment style) that they’re still devoted to you – so you may call them, message them or maybe question them because the thoughts are taking over and this is the ideal SAFE CERTAINTY you are looking for. Which can result in destructive behaviour to have this CERTAINTY. But with SAFE UNCERTAINTY, you are SAFE and although you are UNCERTAIN, you are okay with the fact you don’t know what he’s doing. Because you TRUST them and WILL be okay if anything did happen.

But in actual fact, you are SAFE. You are physically SAFE but you are UNCERTAIN about the future, which can cause anxiety and to cause emotionally driven behaviours: impulsively calling your partner, arguing, shouting etc. But there are skills to help regulate these emotions. You can read more about this here:

Therefore, SAFE CERTAINTY isn’t the best place to be with a relationship because you have to have an element TRUST and awareness that the future is UNCERTAIN and there are no guarantees that the future is set but as long as both partners are willing to work toward there relationship, then you can survive and be safe knowing the future isn’t CERTAIN and you are SAFE.


  • uncertainty is the only constant in life – we cannot tell the future – we don’t know and have no control of whats going to happen
  • how committed are both people in the relationship to work towards making it work?
  • Compromises, boundaries and negotiations of expectations
  • Nobody is perfect
  • Having security in your safety but also being okay if the future isn’t guaranteed

By being SAFE and UNCERTAIN, you have the flexibility incase things do change in the future, being SAFE and having the skills to get through anxiety in relationships will help you to achieve the SAFE UNCERTAIN mindset and avoid having unmet expectations.


“Although it may hurt, I will be okay if they cheat”

“I am strong enough to survive this”

“I am okay with not knowing the future because I am whole within myself”


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