Have you ever had a relationship with someone who was emotionally unavailable? What about someone who was emotionally drained?
After one or two relationships with someone with either style, people give up on finding “the one.” Self-doubt sets in and you think, “There must be something wrong with me.”
To understand this phenomenon, we must first understand attachment theory, is one of the most well-studied theories in the field of relational psychology. Attachment theory explains how early relationships with primary caregivers, most commonly parents, create our expectations of what love should be.
The way we view ourselves and others is shaped by how responsive and responsive these caregivers are to our physical and emotional needs.among us adult relationshipour attachment system is triggered by our romantic partners.
How are we caused? Consider whether your primary caregiver is available.
- Were they neglectful, always there for you, or inconsistent?
- Who did you turn to when you had a problem?
- Was there anyone there that you could really trust?
It’s important to identify your own attachment style, as it affects the success of your relationship. Learn her four main patterns of adult attachment and how they commonly affect couples’ relationships.
Attachment theory suggests that if your caregivers were empathetic and made you feel secure as a child, you will have a secure attachment style. Developing a secure attachment is important for a healthy dating relationship. In a safe relationship, your partner is there for you and has your back. If you are someone with an insecure style (and if you choose someone with an insecure style), you will be constantly stimulated and unable to feel safe or secure in the relationship.
insecure attachment patterns
If your caregiver is unresponsive, you develop an insecure attachment pattern. Insecure attachment style manifests itself in three main ways.
Uneasy attachments: It occurs when caregivers are inconsistent in their responses and responses, leaving the child confused about what to expect. As an adult, this person sometimes acts clingy and finds it difficult to trust her partner.
Avoidant attachment: It occurs when caregivers are negligent. These children play alone and develop the belief that no one can meet their needs. As adults, they usually label themselves as very independent.
Disorganized attachments: It develops from abuse, trauma, or family turmoil. Children learn to fear their caregivers and have no real “safe base.”
All of these styles influence how you act in relationships and how you find a romantic partner.
The question then arises: Can people change their attachment style to a more secure way of relating?
Change attachment style
The answer is yes, but it takes a lot of effort. Therapy is often incredibly helpful. It’s important to be aware of your attachment style and choices about your partner. A quality therapist will guide you through the cognitive development necessary to discern whether you are reacting to past hurts.
Even as adults, we tend to repeat the unhealthy relationship patterns of our childhood. Some people may dislike it, but this familiarity is comforting. You may even confuse a sense of compatibility in a relationship with the familiarity of early life experiences.
By choosing a partner with a secure attachment style, you can overcome your insecurities and work on growing yourself within the relationship. By facing your fear of love, you can develop a new style of attachment to sustain satisfying, loving relationships.
The following books will help you understand attachment theory and how it affects relationships.
Levin explains how the three attachment styles create the types of relationships we find ourselves in as adults, and how to break those patterns and build healthier relationships.
What makes love last: How to build trust and avoid betrayal Written by Dr. John Gottman
Trust and attunement are the foundations of safe and healthy relationships.
Wired for Dating: How Understanding Neurobiology and Attachment Styles Can Help You Find Your Ideal Match Stan Tatkin, Ph.D. in Psychology
Learn how to recognize and avoid “blind spots” in dating to find lasting love.
Your Brain on Love: The Neurobiology of Healthy Relationships Stan Tatkin, Ph.D. in Psychology
Tatkin shares the intricacies of attachment styles and how to love an emotionally unavailable partner in a way that makes them more available, and how to love an anxious partner with peace of mind.
Hold Me Tight: 7 Conversations for a Lifetime of Love Written by Dr. Sue Johnson
Johnson offers seven important conversations to help partners address their unique insecure attachment styles and create more secure and meaningful relationships.
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