Attachment Styles and Your Relationship

Have you ever dated someone and wondered why he or she seems so secure, avoidant, anxious, etc in their interactions with you? Those behaviours could be a direct result of their attachment styles caused by their earliest experiences or lack thereof with their caregivers or parents.

The Theory

The Attachment Style Theory by John Bowlby puts forward that the early care and the nature of our relationships with our parents as children now forms a major part of how we behave in our adult relationships. This is especially as it relates to romantic or intimate relationships.

Main Attachment Styles

But let us take a theoretical look at the different attachment styles by John Bowlby as listed on

  • Secure Attachment: These adults are more likely to be satisfied with their relationships, feeling secure and connected to their partners without feeling the need to be together all the time. Their relationships are likely to feature honesty, support, independence, and deep emotional connections.
  • Dismissive-Avoidant (or Anxious-Avoidant) Attachment: One of the two types of adult avoidant attachments, people with this attachment style generally keep their distance from others. They may feel that they don’t need human connection to survive or thrive, and insist on maintaining their independence and isolation from others. These individuals are often able to “shut down” emotionally when a potentially hurtful scenario arises, such as a serious argument with their partner or a threat to the continuance of their relationship.
  • Anxious-Preoccupied (or Anxious-Resistant) Attachment: Those who form less secure bonds with their partners may feel desperate for love or affection and feel that their partner must “complete” them or fix their problems. While they long for safety and security in their romantic relationships, they may also be acting in ways that push their partner away rather than invite them in. The behavioral manifestations of their fears can include being clingy, demanding, jealous, or easily upset by small issues.
  • Fearful-Avoidant (or Disorganized) Attachment: The second type of adult avoidant attachment manifests as ambivalence rather than isolation. People with this attachment style generally try to avoid their feelings because it is easy to get overwhelmed by them. They may suffer from unpredictable or abrupt mood swings and fear getting hurt by a romantic partner. These individuals are simultaneously drawn to a partner or potential partner and fearful of getting to close. Unsurprisingly, this style makes it difficult to form and maintain meaningful, healthy relationships with others (Firestone, 2013).

Naturally the preferred attachment style is Secure Attachment and one that we should all be working towards to have healthy relationships.

Questions For You

1. What is Your Attachment Style and what impact does it have on your current relationship?

2. Can you identify linkages or a connection between your current attachment style and your upbringing.

3. Does the attachment style that you most identify with require improvement? If so what are you willing to do to improve it?

4. Or even more interestingly, do you now have an idea or understand the attachment style of your spouse? If it requires improvement, have you identified ways in which you can help?

© 2022, Stacy-Ann Campbell. All rights reserved.

10 thoughts on “Attachment Styles and Your Relationship

  1. My attachment style is secure, but it’s only because I was married before and realized that my upbringing had screwed me up in many regards. While every relationship can have issues, I am much stronger now

  2. Undoubtedly Interesting! A great eye opener, as well as a reminder that our past often influences our present. However, the onus is on us as individuals to know what needs to stay as is or what needs adjustment or letting go.
    Great reading!

Happy Reading !