The Science of Adult Attachment: How It Can Help You ‘Secure’ Love

Love is a complicated thing. Sometimes we think we are in love when actually what we’re feeling is attachment. Attachment can be good, but attachment that causes pain and anxiety is anything but. In this blog post, you’ll learn about attachment styles and how they affect your relationships and why attachment style matters in adult romantic relationships.

How much attachment do you have to your partner? Do you believe that they will always be there for you, no matter what life throws at you? A lot of people automatically assume that an attachment style is a sign of weakness but this isn’t true. In fact, most people have some sort of attachment style. But it’s more important to know is that understanding your attachment style can affect more than just your relationship status. Studies have shown adult attachment style also relates to our attachment systems and how trauma and loss are handled, and has been shown to have an influence on career choice.

Attachment theory is a psychological concept describing attachment styles in adults. It’s based on attachment styles observed in babies and children which are also categorized as secure attachment, avoidant attachment, anxious attachment & fearful-avoidant attachment. These bonds have been linked to personality traits that can affect how we behave in relationships with partners or friends.

World-renowned psychologist, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst, John Bowlby and psychologist Mary Ainsworth are largely credited for their research of attachment theory which suggests the following four types of adult attachment styles:

Anxious/preoccupied styles are often fixated with their relationship statuses and tend to worry about their partner’s ability to love them back; Positive view of others, negative view of self

Avoidant/dismissive styles equate intimacy with a loss of independence and constantly try to minimize closeness; Overly positive view of themselves and a negative, cynical attitude toward other people.

Fearful-avoidant, sometimes referred to as disorganized attachment styles are extremely inconsistent in their behavior and have a hard time trusting others; Negative view of self and others

Secure attachment styles feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and loving; Positive view of self and others

Researchers believe that attachment styles are formed during childhood based on the type of relationship we had with parents or caregivers as children. Attachment styles can be assessed by asking individuals to describe their attachment figures and thoughts about relationships in general, but there is no definitive way to assess attachment style because it requires self-reporting which isn’t always reliable.

Attachment styles describe how people bond and connect with others. Attachment styles, and attachment theory in general, are a hot topic these days because of the popularity of attachment-based psychotherapy. We often hear about attachment disorders and attachment fears in psychology classes or from our friends’ therapists, but attachment styles can also be an important factor when it comes to finding love. How do attachment styles affect your romantic relationship? Are you looking for someone who has the same attachment style as you? How do you know which attachment style you are?

Anxious (preoccupied) attachment style is characterized by attachment behaviors of anxiety, fear, and avoidance. People with anxious attachment styles crave love and connection but their constant need for reassurance makes them seem needy or insecure to others.

Avoidant (dismissive) attachment style is characterized by attachment behaviors of insecurity, detachment, and hostility towards romantic partners. The avoidant attachment style has a history of being more prevalent in men, specifically those high on the dark triad personality scale.

Secure attachment style is characterized by attachment behaviors of trust, openness, and affection towards their romantic partners. A secure attachment style means that you have a positive view of yourself and others which contributes to healthy relationships in adulthood. People with secure attachment styles are able to recognize their own needs without feeling threatened or overwhelmed when their partners have different wants and desires.

Fearful-avoidant attachment style is characterized by attachment behaviors of fear, resistance, and distrust. People with fearful-avoidant attachment styles crave love but always seem to self-sabotage relationships due to their anxious attachment style which makes them feel afraid or unworthy of being loved.

Attachment styles affect both romantic relationships and friendships because attachment is ingrained in how we form social connections as humans. Attachment styles can be changed but it takes time, commitment to yourself, and willingness from your partner or friend. Understanding your attachment style is the first step toward finding a healthy relationship.

3 Ways to Overcome Anxious Attachment in Your Relationships

Here’s what you can do NOW to get out of your own way and secure the love you really want.

Why Do Anxious and Avoidant Attachment Styles Attract?

Learn how to love (or leave) an avoidant partner.

Can Anxious and Avoidant Relationships Work?

The short answer is yes.

5 thoughts on “The Science of Adult Attachment: How It Can Help You ‘Secure’ Love

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