Attachment Theory in Relationships
Have you ever jumped from relationship to relationship every few months, wondering why you can’t find the perfect partner? Or maybe you’ve been left wondering why the partners you choose are always emotionally unavailable.
What if you knew that your relationship choices and the way you attach to others has been established since you were in the womb?
Attachment theory identifies the way you relate to and depend on others. Attachment theory also shows the patterns of how we show up in our relationships.
How does the way you attach to others affect your relationships today?
Although there is a lot of nuance and variability that goes into defining your individual attachment style, there are four general styles of attachment:
1 Avoidant. People with this attachment style see intimacy as a loss of independence. Because they see dependence or needing others as a weakness, they subconsciously tend to find fault in their relationships. Avoidants want to be close but push potential partners away as a means of protecting themselves.
- Shift your belief: sharing experiences and closeness with others can bring happiness and meaning to your life.
2 Anxious. People with this attachment style crave physical and emotional closeness. Because they fear they are not good enough, they often worry about being betrayed or left by their partner. Being pushed away by their partner can make these people more anxious and increase their clinginess.
- Shift your belief: you are good enough.
3 Disorganized.People with this attachment style can feel both a fear of connection and a fear of rejection. Because they have conflicting fears, they have difficulty creating appropriate boundaries and can be emotionally hot and cold with their partners.
- Shift your belief: you deserve the closeness which can bring meaning and happiness to your life.
4 Secure. People with this attachment style are comfortable with intimacy. They are reliable, trustworthy, and consistent partners who know how to communicate expectations and respond to what their partner needs.
- Studies show secure attachment style indicates greater happiness and satisfaction in your relationships.
Do you identify with an anxious, avoidant, or disorganized attachment style? Research today shows that you are not cemented into that attachment style for life.
You can make a conscious effort to have a secure attachment style. They are not necessarily set in stone.
If you are anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, you can take steps to have more fulfilling relationships and move towards a secure attachment style with greater fulfillment in your relationships.
Consider these steps for more fulfilling relationships:
1 Understand what you need in a relationship. Make an effort to understand your needs. Learn to communicate and express them.
- If you are avoidant, avoid talking down about your partner. Instead, tune in to what you need from the relationship.
- If you are anxious, think about what you need and be able to communicate it.
2 Be in tune to when your attachment system might be activated. If you have an avoidant, anxious, or disorganized attachment style, you might confuse love with anxiety. Learn to associate love with feeling calm.
3 Make yourself available to your partner. Be reliable, consistent, and trustworthy. Check in with your partner regularly. Be a reliable rock your partner can turn towards.
4 Set aside time to communicate about how you feel in the relationship. How can you and your partner support each other? What do you need to be happy in the relationship?
5 Encourage your partner. Be the support net for your partner. Encourage and empower them in their goals and dreams.
6 Be willing to walk away if your partner cannot meet your needs. It takes two to tango. If you and your partner cannot come to a compromise to meet each other’s needs, it might indicate that you are incompatible.
Understanding your attachment style can help give you insight into how to have deeper and more fulfilling relationships.
When you take the steps to understand what you need in a relationship and to communicate how you feel regularly, both partners can feel secure and supported.
Relationships are a fulfilling part of life and it helps to know you have someone encouraging to depend on.