I first heard of attachment styles while listening to my favourite podcast which centres around relationships, singlehood and marriage. The wife asked her husband what his attachment style was, and he said secure, but it used to be avoidant. When asked what influenced the change, he said that during their years of dating the style changed. This change was influenced by her secure attachment style.
An attachment style is a pattern of behaviour in and around relationships. Attachment styles are often influenced by the relationship we had with our parents as children. The reason being as children this is the first relationship; we encounter in our lives, therefore, setting the pace for how we perceive other relationships as we grow. However, in some cases the bond we formed with our parents isn’t the only factor that influences our attachment style. As we grow the people we deal with and the experiences we encounter also play a role in our attachment style.
The Four Styles of Attachment
According to psychology, there are four styles of attachment: secure, anxious, avoidant and anxious-avoidant.
People with this attachment style are comfortable being alone and independent. However, they thrive in intimate relationships since they are good at drawing healthy boundaries and sticking to them. Secure attachment types also prioritize their relationships and are capable of being loyal. They sacrifice when necessary and have no issue trusting the people, they are close to. Having a secure attachment style does not mean that a person is perfect. They just tend to be more in touch with their emotions. This enables them to take responsibility when they do something wrong, seek help when they need it and offer support.
Have you ever dealt with someone who calls you 20 times after you don’t pick up and wondered why they would behave like that? Well, unlike the secure type, people with an anxious attachment tend to be overly needy. They are often stressed about their relationships and seek constant reassurance. Their behaviour is usually drawn from their fears of abandonment. Anytime they feel unsure about their partner’s feelings they become clingy or demanding. Anxious Attachment: Causes, Symptoms, Triggers And Coping Methods
People with avoidant attachment tend to emotionally distance themselves. They are extremely independent and are often uncomfortable with intimacy. In their intimate relationships, they lead more inward lives and end up denying the importance of loved ones. A perfect example is a person who consistently invalidates your feelings when you raise an issue. They live their lives being paranoid that other people want to control them. This leads them to take control of relationships and are never afraid to leave.
Anxious Avoidant Attachment
Also known as fearful-avoidant or disorganized people are often afraid of being too close or too distant. They are not only afraid of relationships, but they also have trust issues and tend to lash out at anyone who attempts to get close to them. Their moods are usually unpredictable. They like their needs to be met in relationships but fear that if they get too close, they will get hurt. The major problem with this attachment style is that people who fall into this group have a hard time sorting through their issues.
How Attachment Styles Affect Relationships
Your attachment style plays a key role in how you function in a relationship and how you build your bond with your partner. Knowing the behaviour type of the person you are dating can help you understand whether the relationship is healthy or not. Secure types are the best kind to date since they have the patience and care to deal with both anxious and avoidant types.
They have no issue giving reassurance when needed as well as giving space. However, sometimes the bad characteristics of one person can affect the other person. Secure types are known to change the attachment style of their partner to resemble their own. The issue starts when the relationship becomes too toxic meaning the secure person can end up changing to a different attachment style.
Avoidant and anxious types often end up dating each other rather than their types. The reason being avoidant types easily put off other people’s emotions and so the only people who are willing to stay are the anxious attachment type. Although this works it is not necessarily healthy and can take time to mature into something deeper. The relationship relies on one party to consistently put in the effort out of fear of not being loved and another finally caves knowing the other won’t leave. Anxious avoidant types often date each other or occasionally find partners with avoidant or anxious styles of attachment. These relationships usually end up being messy and abusive.
What is Your Attachment Style?
Knowing your attachment style is the first step to working on building a good relationship. The best way to know is to take a test. You can also urge your partner to take one as well. This will help both of you to see where you are in your relationship. Here is a good test you can take to find out your attachment style.
If you recognize that you have an insecure or avoidant attachment style, then it’s best to deal with it. The most important thing to remember is you don’t have to endure attitudes, expectations and bad patterns of behaviour in the name of love. You can change your attachment style. Therapy is the best way to help you and your partner to become secure. You can work one on one in couples counselling. Aside from therapy, there are also other things you can do to build a secure attachment style like:
- Improving your nonverbal communication skills – You can learn to improve these skills by learning stress management, being present in the moment and reading emotions through expressions.
- Boosting your emotional intelligence – Understanding your emotions and how to control them helps you to effectively express your needs to your partner. It can also help you to understand how your partner is feeling.
- Resolve any childhood trauma – When childhood trauma is not resolved it causes insecurity, fear and helplessness in your adult years. Personal therapy can help you to deal with the trauma and resolving it will with time change your attachment style.
Here are other articles you can check out
7 Signs You Are In A Healthy Relationship
5 Signs That You Are In An Unhealthy Relationship
Common Relationship Deal Breakers And How To Figure Out Yours
Love Bombing: Signs, Reasons And Solutions
Relationships: 5 Apology Languages/Styles
Relationships: A Guide To Learning Your Partner’s Love Language
11 Green Flags To Look Out For In A Relationship