I was in awe the first time I learned and understood how attachment style makes or break a relationship. Suddenly everything made sense!
The up and downs, the addictive emotional swings of my partners, the heartbreaks, all my relationship history became clear when I saw it through the lenses of attachment styles.
I was an avoidant. And my partners weren’t crazy, clingy or overly emotional: they were anxious attachment types.
Read on and it will all become clear for you two.
The Four Attachment Styles
1. Secure attachment type
The secure type is comfortable with intimacy and emotional closeness, both giving intimacy and receiving it.
They play little games and tend to be honest and upfront. These are the guys and girls who say things like “I like you” relatively early without being afraid of “showing their hand”.
And they don’t pretend not being interested if they’re interested and don’t call it “hanging out” if it’s a date.
No, they’re not supermen and they come in all different shapes and sizes: from the 30 YO virgin to the extremely successful. And they can be confident and not so confident too.
2. Anxious attachment type
The anxious attachment craves and needs intimacy but is afraid the partner doesn’t want it as much.
The anxious type gets very nervous when their partner is away and they will seek to re-establish contact very early.
If the anxious is mismatched with an avoidant, the relationship will be hell for both. But most of all it will be hell for the anxious.
Gender-wise, albeit there are plenty of anxious types in both genders, studies seem to point to more women with an anxious attachment style.
3. Avoidant attachment type
Avoidant, deep down, also need intimacy -like almost everyone else-. But they subconsciously cut off that need and whenever things get too close -that’s when they need to get away.
Sometimes people confuse them with unemotional people, but that’s not true. When avoidants face life difficulties or trauma, or when they are alone, they need intimacy. But as soon as they get, they crave freedom and independence again.
Studies seem to point to more men than women among avoidants.
4. Fearful-avoidant type
This is rarer -less than 5% of the population. Sometimes people abused in childhood tend to develop into fearful-avoidant types. They want intimacy but are afraid of getting close at the same time. Basically, they mix both negative qualities of avoidant and anxious.
Picking the perfect partner
Anxious + Avoidant
This is the worst match you can get.
It’s a rather common one and it’s also difficult to break up from. The emotional up and down of separation and re-pacification are addictive for the both of them, and especially so for the anxious type.
And some anxious types mistake the up and downs for signs of love.
They are not, they are the signs of the attachment system going awry. Beware of it if you’re anxious and when you feel your emotions are swinging a bit too much in the relationship, take it as a warning sign (or as an exit sign).
La Dolce Vita is a movie with a clear example of an anxious/avoidant relationship.
Secure + Avoidant / Anxious
The secure type is a thing of beauty as it has the power to make the other attachments less extreme. In a way, it helps them cure themselves.
This is especially good for the avoidant.
To end up with a secure, you must overcome your initial feelings of ambivalence as avoidants tend to find the secure type less exciting in the beginning.
Your attachment style can make or break your marriage. If you’re an anxious woman -more likely- or man, make sure you pick a partner who’s secure -ie.: comfortable with intimacy. You will spare yourself years of pain and you will build your marriage on the strong foundations of a safe and intimate relationship.