Attachment in Adults

Attachment in Adults

John Bowlby quote

In this article, Part Two of our attachment series we focus on adult, romantic relationships are where we truly see the ways in which we attach to our partner. One who is secure in their attachments will behave differently than one who is considered to be avoidant in relationships. Joseph refers to the work, Attached, as a guide for this discussion. Learn how the three types of attachment—secure, avoidant, and anxious—affect one’s relationships and the ways in which we can work towards healthier relationships in each of these instances.

The 3 Attachment Types

There are three types: Secure, avoidant and anxious

A secure person in a relationship exhibits many of the following:

  • Reliable and consistent
  • Can makes decisions together with you
  • Has a flexible view of the relationship
  • Communicates well
  • Has healthy dependency
  • Relationship is not viewed as hard work
  • Closeness breeds closeness
  • You’re introduced to friends and family early on
  • They don’t play games
  • Available and doesn’t control you

A person who is avoidant in a relationship:

  • Sends mixed signals
  • Values independence above all
  • They devalue the partner
  • They use distancing strategies to try to pull close
  • Puts boundaries in a relationship
  • Has unrealistic romantic views
  • They fear being taken advantage of
  • Has a rigid view of relationships
  • Uncompromising
  • Difficulty talking about issues

4 things that are common: not ready to commit, not pursuing the relationship, phantom ex, there is someone called “the one” and you’re not it

An anxious person in a relationship:

  • Craves closeness
  • Expresses fear of rejection
  • Unhappy when not in a relationship
  • Expects their partner to guess and know what they want
  • They act out
  • Makes things about themselves and the relationship
  • Lets you set the tone
  • They are preoccupied
  • Afraid small things might ruin the relationship
  • They are suspicious and distrustful

50% of people are secure, 25% are avoidant, 20% are anxious and 5% are mixed. The most common relationship dynamic: an anxious person marrying an avoidant. Many secure people marry other secures. Avoidant vs Anxious dynamic has a big spectrum of dysfunctional situations. When one partner realizes the pattern, they shift the entire relationship

Advice on the avoidant type:

  • Show more concern
  • Focus on the problem at hand
  • Don’t generalize the conflict
  • Be willing to engage
  • Communicate feelings and needs

Advice on the anxious type:

  • Wear your heart
  • Focus on your needs
  • Be specific
  • Don’t blame
  • Be assertive and non-apologetic in a healthy way

There is a tremendous amount of work that can be done in your relationships. Do the research, understand how you and your partner behave, and make the change. Life gives us experiences and it teaches us so many things. Learn from your past and present for your future.

Resources Mentioned:

  •     Attached – Book Joseph highly recommends on the topic of attachment

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