4 Attachment Styles in Relationships

Do you feel that when you're only interested when you know they are unavailable? Or if you're partnered, do you feel like your partner become distant when something bothers them? Or do you feel that your partner is too demanding and don't give you enough space in the relationship?

Relationships are central to your existence as a human. You need others to feel loved, cared for, and emotionally safe.

But did you know that how you but that there are patterns to how you connect with others. If you feel like your relationships keep turning out the same way, or if you keep having same issues in different relationships, then you NEED TO know about the single most important factor that impacts all of your relationships - Your Attachment Styles.

Your attachment styles developed in the first years of life - when you had the first interactions of your life with your mother, your father, your siblings and grandparents. These interactions shaped your brain to understand the world around you, and where you belong in this world. Based on these interactions, your brain developed an understanding of how you can best meet your emotional needs, and developed an attachment style - Your style of managing relationships and emotional closeness.

It is estimated that half of the people in the world have a secure attachment style, but the other half have one of the three insecure attachment styles.

Now I am going to give you 4 set of statements, and I want you to pick one of these four that you can relate the most to when it comes to your current or past relationships. You may not agree with all the statements in a set, but pick one that you can relate the most to - because relationships aren't a complete science, they are equal parts art.

Set #1

  1. When I am emotionally close to someone, I look forward to spending time with them, but also like to have some time for myself.
  2. I have complete trust in my relationship and my partner. I don't get jealous or worry about my partner leaving me.
  3. When I feel insecure or worried in a relationship, I can talk about it with my partner easily.

Set #2

  1. I feel happy and complete only when I am in a relationship.
  2. I like spending as much time as possible with my partner. It helps me feel calm and loved.
  3. I worry a lot about relationships. I worry whether my partner is happy in the relationship or not.
  4. When I am upset, I can not be alone - I need other people around me to give attention to me.

Set #3

  1. When I start feeling emotionally close to someone, I need to pause to make sure things aren't moving too fast.
  2. When I am upset, I do not like to be near people. I need space to manage my emotions on my own.
  3. I sometimes feel that my partner wants too much from me.
  4. Other people often disappoint me, which makes it harder to trust them.
  5. I am smarter and emotionally more mature than most people around me.

Set #4

  1. When I start feeling emotionally close to someone, I need to pause to make sure things aren't moving too fast.
  2. When I am upset, I don't like to be around people. I feel like a failure, and it's easier to be by myself.
  3. I'm afraid that once people gets to know me, they won't like who I really am.
  4. I don't want to give others a chance to hurt or reject me. I would rather leave them first.

A great relationship is about two things: First, find out the similarities. Second, respect the differences.

If you chose set #1 - then you have what is called a secure attachment style - It's the best kind of attachment style, where relationships feel uncomplicated. You likely grew-up with a good balance of independence and emotional comfort from others around you. You feel safe to explore the world, to chase your dreams because you feel supported in your relationships - you can trust others to be emotionally present for them, and are able to reciprocate this form of connection. You are in-tune with your own emotions and feel comfortable in expressing and communicating your emotions. You feel comfortable making room for other's emotions.

If you chose set #2, - then you have an anxious attachment style. It is estimated that about 30% of people in the world have an anxious attachment style. You likely worry a lot about feeling secure in your relationship, or about your partner getting upset with you, or your relationship falling apart, and spending as much time being close to your partner relieves some of this anxiety.

This attachment style develops among people whose parents were sometimes present for emotional comfort, but not at other times - there was no consistency or guarantee that for the child that their emotions needs will be met. Sometimes their caregivers are sensitive and loving, while other times they aren't able to attend to the child's needs and emotions.

As an adult, this leads you to be in this constant state of uncertainty where different fears keep popping-up and you feel the need for reassurance from your partner - whether that's in words, or whether that's being close to them physically, or even constantly thinking about your relationship in your head - your relationship becomes the main focus of your life - sort of like an emotional hunger that you are trying to satisfy.

Another common thing that in anxious attachment style is this constant need to be proving your value in a relationship - to do something to earn your partner's love, or always go along with what your partner says- as if you need to constantly do or give something for the other person to love you and be with you. You simply being you doesn't feel enough.

If you chose either set #3 or set #4, then you have an avoidant style - It is estimated that about 20% of people in the world have an avoidant attachment style. You do not rely on others for your emotional comfort. The difference between the set #3 and set #4 is the reason why you don't want to rely on others. This attachment style is commonly seen among people who are didn't have a lot of emotional support growing-up, and that results in one of the two possible responses - You either learn that you can only rely on yourself to feel safe and emotionally comforted, and don't trust others. If you chose set #3, then this is you - dismissive attachment style

You are confident in yourself, you know your worth and have strong opinions, but you're not so sure about others - you don't like getting too emotionally close or intimate, because deep down you don't believe that you can trust others. You take pride in their strong independence and self-reliance, but in doing so, they loose the balance of let others get close to them.

Another thing that's common in this dismissive attachment style is the need to withdraw things aren't going your way in a relationship. Essentially, you are very sensitive to others not meeting your expectations and emotional needs - by default, you expect them that they will fail you, but by withdrawing you deprive yourself and your relationship of the growth that comes with working through the difficult stuff.

If you chose set #4, then you have an fearful attachment style, which is another type of avoidant attachment style - you still avoid people, but not because you think they won't meet your needs, but rather because you don't believe that you are good enough for others to be interested in you, or to care about you enough to want you, to truly love you or emotionally comfort you. And you don't want to be disappointed - you don't want to feel that way, so when things get tough, you withdraw from other people, before they have any chance of hurting you or rejecting you. But by doing so, you also deprive them and yourself of a chance to prove you wrong - to show you that you matter to them, and that your emotions are important to them. Fear and avoidance drives this attachment style.

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