Have you ever found yourself wondering why you keep attracting the wrong people? Are you the type who struggles to stay single or does the thought of commitment make you want to crack open a window for some air? These traits actually stem from your relationship attachment style.
Our attachment styles go way back to our first long-term relationship – the emotional bond we develop (or are deprived of) with our parents and caregivers. We’ve all been raised differently, depending on the attachment styles of those who raised us and the way they addressed our emotional needs. These early experiences of emotional relationships influence the way we view love and relate to others. It forms the attachment styles we carry into adulthood and express in both romantic and platonic relationships.
According to research based on John Bowlby’s attachment theory, there are four general relationship attachment styles:
Confident in their relationship and their partner, someone with a secure attachment style is not afraid to reciprocate love. They are trusting, trustworthy, and are able to communicate their feelings as a response instead of a reaction.
Those with an anxious attachment style are codependent, requiring constant attention and reassurance from their partners. They fear being alone and struggle with setting or respecting boundaries.
Individuals with an avoidant attachment style are independent and self-reliant, downplaying the importance of relationships. They are emotionally-distant and tend to isolate themselves during conflict.
A combination of anxious and avoidant, someone with a fearful attachment style craves intimacy but fears rejection. In turn, they send mixed signals by pushing their partners away while still wanting a connection.
Don’t feel bad about having an insecure attachment style – if it was caused by trauma, please remember that it is not your fault. By understanding your attachment style, or your partner’s, you’ll be able to start healing by actively changing the way you approach love and relationships. It’s not going to be easy, but a healthy attachment style can help you build more positive relationships with yourself and others.