What Are the Main Relationship Attachment Styles?

Why do some people seem detached and withdrawn, while others are open, outgoing, and even a little intrusive? It's a matter of attachment styles. But what does this mean? What is your attachment style? How is it formed? Can you change your attachment style at all? Today, you will discover answers to these and other important questions about relationship attachment styles!

relationship attachment style test

What are relationships attachment styles and how they affect relationships?

An attachment style is a relationship model that is formed in relationships with parents during early childhood. An infant becomes attached to a “significant” adult who cares about them (most often, this is a mother). An attachment model develops in a person gradually during the first year of life and is usually formed completely around the age of eight months.

Let's take a look at how your attachment style impacts your relationships. An attachment style determines your opinion about:

you yourself (“I’m sufficiently valuable and worthy of love” or “I’m not valuable and not worthy of the love of other people”);

other people (“I can rely on other people and trust them”, “people are caring and responsive to my needs, they accept me” or “other people are unresponsive and do not accept me, I cannot trust them”);

the world as a whole ("the world is full of opportunities" or "the world is dangerous"),

as well as about how you treat people, how you build relationships with them (both in real life and when meet ladies online), and how you react to different events in your life.

Main relationship attachment styles

The attachment theory was developed by the English psychiatrist John Bowlby based on the work of the child psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott. It describes the 4 basic attachment styles, which are described below:

1. Secure attachment style

“Emotions do not overwhelm me, but I also do not suppress them. I get along with others, but at the same time, I feel completely good when being alone – I know how to enjoy solitude and don’t experience any anxiety. I treat my partner's requests with attention and do not perceive them as a threat or obligation."how to be in a relationship with an avoidant attachment style

This attachment style is developed in children who know for sure that a significant adult will always be there when they need it and come to their rescue. Such confidence allows children to feel safe and to explore the world around them with interest. At a mature age, they enjoy being close to their loved ones, trust their partners, enjoy spending time with them, and happily come up with home date night ideas.

2. Detached or avoidant attachment style

“I avoid intimate relationships, I tend to mistrust, I find it difficult to express my feelings and emotions and to turn to other people for help or advice. I usually perceive romantic partners as uninterested in me or detached. I don't want to be rejected, so I pretend that I don't need any love and attachment."

This attachment style occurs when a child's calls and appeals remain unanswered and the needs are not met. Such kids conclude that their desires are indifferent to parents and try to adapt to this situation, suppressing their need for love and care. Growing up, they may appear indifferent and disinterested in relationships at all, but such behavior just hides the fear of rejection. Dating is quite a complicated task for such people and they should learn how to be in a relationship with an avoidant attachment style.

3. Anxious attachment style

“I often feel anxious, jealous, and overwhelmed with emotions that I can't handle. I’m afraid of becoming addicted to someone, being abandoned, or seeming intrusive. In a difficult situation, I try to withdraw into myself, but soon, I feel lonely and anxious, and everything repeats itself." This attachment style forms as a consequence of the unpredictable behavior of adults: parents are sometimes rude, sometimes tender, sometimes indifferent to a child, they can suddenly come away, leaving the kid, and the child does not understand why they act so and what to expect. Such children are afraid of communicating with strangers even in the presence of their parents and are very upset when their beloved people get away somewhere, but at the same time, they do not rejoice much when parents return home because they do not feel safe with the closest people.

4. Insecure attachment style

“I’m lonely because of distrust in outside persons. Close relationships scare me, but I also need moral support and afraid of being alone. I’m extremely sensitive to rejection, and it’s difficult for me to assert myself."

This attachment style forms in children who are accustomed to suppressing their feelings because they do not receive so desired help and approval from parents but only forced to withstand jeering and intimidation from them. People with such a style of attachment tend to have the most destructive personality traits. In addition, they are prone to neuroticism, anxiety, and self-doubt.

5. Mixed attachment style

People with a mixed type of attachment have average characteristics for most of the studied personality traits. Based on researches, it is possible to conclude that people with this attachment style are quite self-sufficient individuals who have a desire for self-actualization. However, this group of people has a reduced level of anxiety, which may indicate their inability to predict force majeure situations. Also, people with a mixed attachment style have a low level of emotional intelligence. In communication, they are not ready for self-disclosure and are not sure of mutual interest and sympathy on the part of their interlocutors.

Do you want to know the exact answer to the question: “What is your relationship attachment style?” Everything is plain and simple! You just should browse the Internet for relationship attachment style tests and check yourself.

Can this be changed?

An attachment style is fairly stable. Many studies have shown that children experience the same attachment style at the age of six as they do at 12 months. Attachment style, with all its characteristic traits, becomes an integral part of the human personality and it is difficult to change it. In addition, more often than not, the same style of attachment is passed on in the family from generation to generation. That is, parents raise their children as they were raised themselves. And when children grow up and become parents, they repeat the behavior of their moms and dads. Nevertheless, this process is not irreversible. You can deal with negative childhood experiences and learn to build relationships with others more successfully. Of course, you have to work hard on yourself and your romantic relationships, and it is not easy, but still, it is possible to change your attachment style.

Main ways how to fix attachment style in your relationships

Now, let's take a look at 7 helpful tips on how to change your attachment style to make relationships with a loved one much stronger and happier.

1. Sort out your feelings

As soon as you start feeling somehow uncomfortable in a romantic relationship, for example, get angry or sad, become irritated, occupy a defensive position, or lose your temper, you should ask yourself questions about your attachment and the feelings that make you aggressive or helpless. In general, such research is easier to carry out with the help of a professional.

2. Change your social circle

You should get a load of people and create lasting relationships only with mentally healthy individuals: people who do not like to feel distressed and who know how to manage their attachments. How can you recognize such people? They are usually characterized by a cheerful mind, a sense of humor, well-developed self-control, and a tendency to take actions rather than worry about something. By changing your social circle, you begin to change yourself.

3. Feel free to discuss your needs with a loved one

To begin with, get across your needs without expecting a partner to guess them. People often think that a loved one will read their minds, but this is not so. So, feel free to say your beloved that you consider mutual support and attention to be the foundation of love relationships. Also, you should explain to your partner what kind of support you need: simple listening, encouragement, search for solutions, or something else. If at this point in time, your partner is unable to fully satisfy your need, try to seek support elsewhere (family, friends). But then, be sure to return to the conversation with your beloved about the importance of such help for you.

4. Take mind off thingswhat is your relationship attachment style

Another way to fix an attachment style in your relationships is to find new hobbies and interests. This will give you a lot of positive emotions and bring variety to your life. Moreover, it will distract you from worries and daily problems. In addition, you can take up a new hobby together with your loved one. This makes romantic relationships much stronger!

5. Become self-sufficient

Attachment is the habit of receiving positive emotions from the outside. Therefore, you should become self-sufficient and learn to receive the necessary emotions without the help of other people. Think about what makes you happy and evoke a smile on your face, maybe it is delicious ice cream, a good movie, or a simple stroll in the woods. Do what you really like more often and you will notice how your attachment style changes!

6. Be honest with your loved one

The main problem of most people is that they are afraid to admit true feelings to their partners. They are used to keeping everything to themselves, and therefore, their internal state only deteriorates with time. If you really want to fix an attachment style in your relationships, you should be completely honest with your loved one. After all, this person is very close to you and wishes you all the best.

7. Do yoga

Yoga classes help you to find support within yourself. Various mindful movements, static exercises, and meditation direct your attention inward and develop a sturdy frame. Thus, you are gradually approaching the harmony of mind and body. What's more, yoga helps you to understand your feelings and emotions, raise your self-esteem, and significantly improve your physical condition. And mantras during meditation will steer your thoughts on the right course.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, an attachment style influences your self-conception, relationships with people, the choice of a romantic partner, your outlook at life, and the ability to cope with life problems. Although the style of attachment is formed during infancy, it is still possible to change it if you work hard on yourself and follow the above-mentioned advice. So, take care of your spiritual welfare and live happily!

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