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Dating, Relationships, and Attachment Styles

Updated: Jul 18, 2019

It makes sense that the way we were cared for as babies influences the way we behave in later relationships. Attachment Theory has identified three main styles in which people approach intimacy in romantic relationships: Secure, Anxious, and Avoidant.

Basically, secure people feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and loving; anxious people crave intimacy, are often preoccupied with their relationships, and tend to worry about their partner's ability to love them back; avoidant people equate intimacy with a loss of independence and constantly try to minimize closeness.

Initially it was assumed that these attachment styles were primarily a product of our upbringing. But how about the major impact our adult romantic relationships have had on us? Dating and relationships are hard and can be traumatizing. They can also be incredibly healing. Thus, our attachment styles can change as a result of these experiences.

Which attachment style do you identify with? Hint: If you're "anxious," you may be attracted to "avoidants" and vice-versa, often resulting in an unhealthy cycle for both parties.

If you don't resonate with either of the others, default to "secure."

Avoidant Attachment

≫ Describes Me? ≪⁣⁣

⁣My independence is more important to me than my relationships⁣

I miss my partner when we're apart, but then when we're together I feel the need to escape⁣⁣

My partners often want me to be more intimate than I feel comfortable being ⁣

I sometimes feel angry or annoyed with my partner without knowing why⁣⁣

I prefer casual sex with uncommitted partners to intimate sex with one person⁣⁣

I hate feeling that other people depend on me⁣⁣

≫ Describes My Partner / The People I'm Attracted To? ≪⁣⁣

⁣Value their independence greatly - "My work takes up so much time there's no room for relationship" ⁣Plans are left unclear, like when you will meet again, move in together. Send mixed signals⁣⁣

Have difficulty talking about what's going on between you. Certain topics are off-limits⁣⁣

During a disagreement, need to get away - get up and walk out⁣

Have an unrealistically romantic view of how a relationship should be ⁣

≫ Do you recognize any of these behaviors in yourself or in the people you're attracted to? ≪⁣⁣

Anxious Attachment

≫ Describes Me? ≪ ⁣

I think about my relationships a lot⁣

I tend to get very quickly attached to a romantic partner⁣

I am very sensitive to my partner's moods⁣

I often worry that my partner will stop loving me or that I'm not attractive enough⁣

When I'm not involved in a relationship, I feel somewhat anxious & incomplete⁣

≫ Describes My Partner / The People I'm Attracted To? ≪

They worry about rejection - Ask a lot of questions about your past partners

Try hard to please you. Let you set the tone in the relationship

Want a lot of closeness - want to spend all your time together⁣

Suspicious you may be unfaithful. Hypervigilant about your whereabouts⁣

Take things very personally - you come home tired and don't want to talk = "You don't love me anymore"

They are preoccupied with the relationship - call or text a lot, hash out every detail of your dates with their friends⁣

≫ Do you recognize any of these behaviors in yourself or in the people you're attracted to? ≪⁣

Ideas from "Attached" by Amir Levine

Art by René Margritte - The Lovers/ 1928


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