Mai Tai Group

Achieving success as a professional is something that most people can do but how much effort are you putting into being a great partner? When it comes to relationships what are you like with the basics such as communication, love and trust? Are there any aspects of a relationship that you tend to neglect? Knowing these 5 basic essentials about attachment styles will help you master any romantic relationship.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be eager to uncover any little morsel of information that will help you to identify why relationships haven’t worked in the past. Once you have that knowledge and you can apply it, you’ll probably start to understand relationship dynamics more effectively and you can tackle any issues that arise in your relationship a bit more effectively.

 Why is it worth knowing about attachment styles?

I improved every relationship in my life once I understood the four attachment styles and how they relate to each other. So, the good thing is that the tips and facts that you’ll learn will help you with any close relationships you might experience and not just the ones you have with romantic partners (or potential ones)!

Have you ever noticed that you are dating the same kind of person over and over again? Knowing which category, you fit into is a good thing because it can be a big indication of how successful you are in new relationships and what you might need to work on. Our attachment style describes the patterns and trends we have shown when we connect with new people and form relationships. Although Psychologists say that the pattern setting takes place during childhood, like most things it can be worked on and improved.

What types of attachment styles are there? 

  • Secure Attachment – This is the most common form of attachment with 62% of the population fitting into this category. As the name suggests, it’s the most stable form and it basically means that love and trust come easily to a person. For a romantic relationship, this would mean that there’s little fear of abandonment or the fear of what will happen if someone gets close to you.
  • Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment – This category is built on the anxiety a person has to make a connection with another person. We’ve all seen those relationships where someone needs to be reassured and clings to an idea of safety but all it does is drive a wedge between them and the other person. That’s what an anxiously attached individual does.
  • Avoidant Attachment – It’s not pleasant to be on the receiving end of this attachment style. There are two subgroups of this one – “dismissive” and “fearful”. While dismissive people are likely to focus on their independence, the fearful type is often overwhelmed by their attachment anxiety and can be unpredictable to be around.
  • Fearful-Avoidant Attachment – Only between 1-5% of the population fits into this category. Someone is fearful avoidant is either scared of getting close to and connecting with someone or they overanalyse the depth of the relationship constantly.  They are unpredictable and get overwhelmed easily. These partners are known for smothering their partner at one minute and then disappearing for a day or two without any explanation.

How can you apply these attachment models to your new relationships? 

You might think that you’ve got enough to be worrying about when you start a new relationship. Navigating the pitfalls of dating can be tricky enough but looking at someone else’s attachment style can help you form a better relationship with them. At the very least, you’ll start to understand more about why people respond as they do to your attention. Maybe you’ll even learn something about yourself and help someone else to understand it. You should be able to work out other people’s attachment style using the descriptions and you can use it be more understanding about their needs by showing empathy and making sure your conversations allow any potential issues to be discussed. 

How do I work out if I’m any good at relationships?

Check out the summary below, select your profile and then check which traits in the secure attachment that you lack. Try to incorporate specific behaviours from this category into your everyday life, make sure your partner knows what specific trait you are working on so that they can support you.

 Secure attachment profile:

  • Self-sufficient
  • Comfortable with intimacy
  • Wants an interdependent relationship
  • “I’m okay you’re okay” are the basis of most thoughts
  • Find it easy to form new relationships
  • Less doubt about equality in a relationship

You are not doomed to your attachment style. Awareness is the first (and most important) step. What are your patterns? Do you tend to pull away or smother? Being honest with yourself and your partner is crucial. Second, it’s important to treat your relationship as a foundation and develop it as a secure base. Researchers say people who change their attachment style are forming an “earned secure attachment.” To do this you’ll need to look at your past dating patterns which was written one of our Dating Experts Ariadna Peretz.

 What is the background to attachment styles & healthy relationships 

To give you a bit of background, the model of attachment was analysed by Dr Phillip Shaver and Dr Cindy Hazan in 1987 and they identified three styles of attachment that apply to the whole population. If you’re interested in the background and want to delve deeper, you can have a read of the journal article here, but these are the basics that you need to know:

Watch this video clip by The School of Life to find out why relationships between fearful avoidant and anxious preoccupied partners have fiery relationships