Why do you always pick the same type of partner for a relationship? Well, attachment styles have to do with that. Knowing your attachment pattern helps.
Most of us thought that how we pick a partner has to do with connection and physical attraction, which isn’t wrong. These are also factors in how we choose our partners. However, our attachment styles are also another huge factor.
Attachment patterns are established in us from childhood, it’s how we respond to relationships, what we do when we’re hurt, feeling threatened or abandoned. You may have thought that your relationship with your mom or dad isn’t an influencing factor in your future relationships but they really are important.
The 4 attachment styles and what they mean
This may sound a little too sciencey but the relationships you have with your caregivers actually help in a child’s social and emotional development. Now, of course, these attachment styles can vary between people since we’re all different, we’ve all grown up in different environments and process emotions in various ways.
There are only four attachment styles, so, if you start to identify your own attachment style, you’ll be able to see how it affects your relationship and what you need to do to change it. Who thought that relationships could be this complex?
#1 Secure Attachment. With secure attachment, adults in this category are more satisfied in their relationships. When you’re a child, if you have a secure attachment, you see your parent as a safe area to be around. You’re free to explore the world and be independent. So, as you grow up and enter adulthood, you’re more likely to share these positive behaviors with your partner. You feel secure and connected with them which allows you to explore with your partner in a safe space.
When someone with a secure attachment is in a healthy relationship, they provide support when their partners are stressed. In addition, if they themselves are feeling stressed, they’ll look for support and comfort from their partner.
These relationships tend to be open, equal, and honest because both people feel safe and independent. What happens is that people with secure attachment engage in healthy and safe relationships. [Read: The 15 signs of a healthy relationship]
#2 Anxious Preoccupied Attachment. This form of attachment is completely different from Secure Attachment. People who identify with Secure Attachment are usually anxious in relationships and form a fantasy bond. A fantasy bond is this illusion where you have a false sense of feeling safe when in reality, you’re not.
Basically, you do all the actions of showing love but you don’t actually emotionally invest into the relationship, not too healthy. You don’t actually feel satisfied with love, instead, you feel more desperate for love and because of this, you’ll be seen as more clingy which results in your partner pushing you away.
So, usually, people with this attachment tend to be insecure and desperate when in reality, you’re just scared. You don’t actually know how your partner feels about you and this makes you feel unsafe in your relationship. For example, if you don’t hear from your partner for a couple hours, you assume they’re cheating on you.[Read: 12 obvious signs you’ve got major commitment issues]
#3 Dismissive Avoidant Attachment. Now, this is also the opposite of Anxious Preoccupied Attachment in the sense that instead of being desperate for connection, you’re emotionally distant from your partner. So, instead of focusing on your partner, you focus on yourself which usually comes across as cold and self-centered. People with this attachment style gravitate to isolation and have this illusion that they’re independent.
You usually live a more private and internal life, by rejecting the love from others and emotionally blocking yourself from others. These people are experts at shutting down their emotions whether they’re in heated situations or not.
For example, I was dating a guy with this attachment style and when I addressed my emotions, he simply would say, “so?” So, regardless of how the other person is reaching out or reacting, they put the emotional wall up. [Read: How to be emotionally available so you can find love]
#4 Fearful Avoidant Attachment. You’re too afraid to be with someone but you’re also too afraid to be alone. Essentially, you’re scared for closeness and distance. However, this isn’t easy. You want to express your emotions while at the same time, pushing them away.
Though, it’s impossible for people with Fearful Avoidant Attachment to shut their emotions off. So, what ends up happening is they become overwhelmed and freak out. They may have an emotional outburst when they realize what happens. They want the emotional connection but they also don’t want to get hurt. What usually happens is they have no game plan for when this happens.
As an adult, they end up in dramatic and unhealthy relationships. It’s like they live in a Turkish soap opera. They’re scared of being abandoned by this person while also struggling with being intimate with them. So, there’s always this issue with timing, it seems. You’re always a bit off with your partner.
Your attachment style is not permanent
If you went through the four attachment styles, you may be concerned about the one you identify with. Listen, just because you have Fearful Avoidant Attachment doesn’t mean it’s going to stay with you for life.
In fact, you have the ability to work through your attachment style. Becoming aware of your style is the first step. Now that you know, it’s time to confront your emotional issues and work towards an earned secure attachment. [Read: How to change directions in your life]
Talk to your partner about it
If you’re in a relationship, talk to your partner about this. They’ll support you and help you through the process. Now, if you’re not in a relationship, try to look for people with secure attachment, whether you have a secure attachment or not. You need to be given the chance to work on developing a healthy relationship with someone already stable.