Attachment theory is a psychological and evolutionary theory that centers on human relationships. John Bowlby originally developed the theory in an attempt to understand the distress experienced by children who had been separated from their parents. Mary Ainsworth both studied and documented the individual differences in infant attachment patterns. Even though Bowlby and Ainsworth’s research focused on infant-parent relationships, they believed that attachment styles impact people for the entirety of their lives, dramatically influencing the way we then connect with romantic partners.
There are four different types of attachment styles: Anxious, Disorganized, Avoidant, and Secure. Understanding your attachment style, as well as your partner’s, will help you navigate your relationship with ease.
We’ve gone ahead and come up with an in-depth look into the different types of attachment styles and how you can use yours to improve your relationship.
If you are someone with:
- Anxious attachment style:
This attachment style is characterized by, you guessed it, general anxiety about the thought of being without your partner. You may struggle with self-esteem issues and think of your partner as “your better half.” Being around your partner eases your anxiety, but being away from them heightens it to an extreme – which can place a burden on both of you. If you or your partner have this attachment style, have regular emotional check-ins with them to clarify any concerns or pressing feelings.
- Disorganized attachment style:
If you have this attachment style you might have a hard time articulating what you’re feeling. You might also seek intimacy but are fearful that you will get hurt if you become fully dependent on a romantic partner. Figuring out where these fears originate from can help you minimize your disorganized attachment. Once you’ve pinned them down, it’s a good idea to share them with your partner – it will help you two feel secure in your relationship.
- Avoidant attachment style:
People with avoidant attachment often see themselves as fiercely independent and self-sufficient. If you’re someone with this attachment, you probably don’t think you need someone else to ‘complete’ you and tend to avoid emotional closeness – causing your relationships to never progress into more serious partnerships. It can be helpful to look for the root of your avoidant attachment. Regardless of whether or not you find it, you should push yourself to open up to your partner.
- Secure attachment style:
This is the healthiest and most secure attachment style. It’s characterized by honesty, tolerance, and emotional intimacy. Even if you identify with this attachment style, it’s possible that you exhibit some insecure attachment behaviors. Evaluating your relationships with the people around you will allow you to be more open and honest with them as well as with yourself.