Do you ever think about why you’re more inclined to attract or be attracted to certain types of people? Let’s look into attachment styles and what style you may be.
John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth’s Attachment Theory stems from developmental and interpersonal psychology and is often used to address the fundamentals of how we conduct ourselves in a relationship.
Attachment Theory is helpful in providing insight into why some of us dive so quickly in relationships, why others are more cautious of commitment, crazy jealous and insecure or completely nonchalant about the whole thing. As always there’s a bunch of psychological influences both past and present, learnt and innate at play. Attachment theory is defined by three categories: anxious, avoidant and secure.
Anxious: It’s been 22 minutes and no response to my text!?!?
If you fit into the anxious category, chances are you know it and you probably tell everyone because you’re deeply apologetic for even being the way that you are. Sorry.
Anxious partners (bless their cotton socks) get wound up over analysing
every-single-thing. They will be worried if your tone seems off, you don’t reply to a text or if the wind blows the wrong way. Anxious types can be riddled with self-doubt and criticism and they often make the mistake of seeking validation from outside means. Unfortunately being in a relationship with an anxious type is a complex dance of helping them to understand how they can love themselves as much as possible, without seeming disingenuous or, doing it all for them. The anxious are also incredibly talented at the art of catastrophizing; using their anxiety to imagine a worst case scenario then causing themselves extreme distress as they wait for disaster to strike.
If catastrophizing doesn’t win, their masochism might and they’ll either self-sabotage or blame any problem in a relationship (or break up) on themselves. The anxious also have convoluted preservation tactics like the silent treatment or one-upping in the place of articulating their concerns. These are simply avoidance strategies that displace problems in the hope that they won’t be abandoned when they slowly and cautiously express their true feelings. Handle with care.
Avoidant: I don’t really like to label things.
Textbook commitment-phobes are the most well-represented (arguably satirised) attachment style of the three in the media. The avoidant is every (wo)man that doesn’t text back, ghosts after two great dates, cheats, refuses to partake in monogamy or develops an addiction to transactional sex and false intimacy. They’re classic purveyors of the classic hot and cold treatment and billions of scripts pivot on their default manipulative and negligent behaviour.
The avoidant will stringently cultivate themselves and their image for optimal aesthetic superiority and use it to foster false closeness before they resume nonchalance from a safe distance. Of course the avoidant still crave intimacy and connection but they employ stringent measures of control to make sure they maintain their independence and space.
Secure: I understand me, I understand you.
No prizes for guessing what the secure attachment type is like, which is rather fitting really. There’s minimal surprises with a secure type because ultimately they know who they are and what they need. Two secure types together are likely to live a drama free, satisfyingly static life with very few bumps in the road.
They are emotionally balanced enough not to feel the need to act out, behave erratically or pull away. Of course, this doesn’t mean that they will never nose dive into emotions, it just means their baseline level of self-assurance is solid enough to provide them with stability.
In a relationship they’re not needy, don’t over dramatise situations and provide a solid support for their partner. Perhaps an ideal world might contain couples of at least one partner in each relationship as a secure type.