19 Jul Attachment Types in Relationships
There are different attachment types in relationships we all need to be aware of to ensure we know why we feel the way we do with our partners. This article will define and discuss the different attachment types in relationships and hopefully demystify each type for you.
Attachment theory British psychiatrist John Bowlby and American psychologist Mary Ainsworth pioneered the attachment theory. According to this theory, the quality of the bonds you experienced during the first relationships of your life (parents) often determines how well you will relate to other people and respond to intimacy throughout your life. Pretty scary, huh?
(We will walk about how each attachment style is formed through the relationships with your parents in the first few years of your life in a later post!)
Attachment styles or types are characterized by the behavior shown within a relationship, especially when the bond between you and your partner is threatened. According to Bowlby and Ainsworth’s theory, there are four main attachment types prevalent in adult relationships.
Attachment Types in Relationships
The four main attachment types are:
Ambivalent (or anxious-preoccupied) attachment
Having a secure attachment style doesn’t mean that all of your relationships are perfect. However, people with this attachment type in relationships likely feel secure enough to take responsibility for their own mistakes and are willing to seek help and support when it’s needed. Those who have a secure attachment type are usually self-contented, social, warm, and easy to connect to. They are able to express their feelings and also tend to build deep, meaningful, and long-lasting relationships.
Those with an anxious attachment type tend to be a little needy and clingy with their partners. They crave intimacy and love but fear that their partner doesn’t really like them or want to be around them. Someone with an anxious attachment style in relationships tends to let their relationships consume them and become fixated or obsessed with their partners. Unfortunately, people with this attachment style base their sense of self-worth on how they feel they’re being treated in the relationship. They usually hate spending time away from their partners and require constant reassurance that they are loved.
Somebody with an avoidant attachment style in a relationship may appear independent and confident. Unfortunately, it’s not because they are secure in the relationship, but rather because they fear intimacy. Unlike those with an anxious attachment style, they do not feel jealous or rejected if their partner spends time away from them. They can come across as distant in relationships and often struggle to form long-lasting connections. Those with avoidant attachment styles in relationships tend to have fleeting, casual flings as it prevents others from getting too close to them.
The last and the most difficult of the attachment types is the disorganized attachment style. This style of attachment stems from intense fear, usually coming from traumatic childhood events. Those with a disorganized attachment style have serious trust issues, and their behavior in relationships is often very inconsistent. They often go from loving their partner intensely to despising them and blaming them for all of their misfortunes. They may be insensitive towards their partners, selfish, controlling, and untrusting, leading to explosive or even abusive behavior.