Attachment Theory: What’s Love Got To Do With It

Our attachment style impacts many elements of our romantic lives, from selecting a partner to how we engage in the relationship and how they progress or diminish. However, it is shocking how little we are taught about our attachment types, I only discovered it through my AQA Psychology class and through that class I began to understand my patterns of attachment which were established during my early childhood. The lack of fundamental understanding of your own personal attachment pattern seems insane when we consider how important it is in our romantic decisions and that is where this article will come into play.


Secure Attachment

A secure attachment pattern means a person is confident and self-possessed. They easily interact with others and can get what they need and want from a person or situation. These individuals are happy in their relationships, they view their parents as a secure base and have moulded their own relationships on their foundation. They are independent yet loyal and committed in a relationship, feeling secure and connected is a must for these individuals, however they also understand the need of distance and alone-time within a relationship.


They are the most supportive of partners, going up and beyond in times of need but can also be vulnerable and accept comfort when they are going through bad times. Their relationships are always honest, equal, and open, wishing for their partner to have their own life outside of the relationship.


Signs that you are this attachment pattern

  • Feel comfortable being yourself within your relationship
  • Do not feel the need to spend every second of your day with your partner
  • Have an open and honest relationship with a safe space for discussion
  • Do not feel jealous of their partner doing their own things or having their own friends


Anxious Preoccupied Attachment

These individuals tend to have a ‘fantasy bond’ – an illusion of connection which provides a false sense of safety – they feel emotional hunger rather than love and trust towards their partner. They wish to be completed by their partner, to be recused. These actions normally do the opposite and push their romantic partners away.


They act desperate or insecure. When they feel unsure about their partner’s romantic feelings within the relationship, they become clingy, demanding, and possessive. 


Signs you are this attachment pattern

  • Only feel complete when you are with your partner
  • Have anxieties about your partner being on social media or hanging out with friend groups
  • You demand attention from your partner 24/7


Dismissive Avoidant Attachment

These individuals seek distance from their partner. They are focused on themselves and the relationship is a side plot in their main story. These individuals live inwards lives, detaching from family and romantic partners. They are able to shut down their emotions and turn off their feelings instantly, never reacting and can come across cold.


Signs you are this attachment pattern

  • Enjoy your own company, isolating yourself from others even online
  • Have trouble with reacting to emotionally stimulating events
  • Can come across cold or emotionless


Fearful Avoidant Attachment

These individuals are afraid of being too close and too distant from people. They wish to keep their feelings to themselves yet are unable to, they cannot avoid anxieties or run away from their emotions no matter how hard they try. They have unpredictable moods.


These individuals believe that the person they care for the most is also the person who can cause you the most harm. These relationships tend to be rocky or dramatic. They are full of highs and lows, with the individual usually abandoning the relationship in fear of being rejected. A double end sword, so to say. These individuals can find themselves in abusive relationships easily.


Signs that you are this attachment

  • You cannot trust your partner
  • You are afraid to commit to someone yet also afraid to leave the relationship
  • You are in an abusive relationship and cannot leave


These attachments do not always define your romantic paths and they do not determine them either. However, they are useful in understanding why you may fall into bad times romantically or find yourself in toxic relationships. You can work towards a healthier attachment type, earning a secure attachment by working through your issues. Therapy is a good way in uncovering your attachment pattern and will provide you a safe space to discuss your childhood and current romantic relationships.


This is not to say that you are doomed in these attachment patterns. Like most parts of psychology, you can work your way through it with understanding and knowledge.


What attachment pattern are you?

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