Not all our dating woes are because of mindless swiping or having a lackluster dating profile, or because “all the good ones are taken.” The problem that you’re facing in your love life could actually be staring right back at you in the mirror.
Perhaps you’re a serial dater who falls hard for someone in the initial stages of a relationship only to lose interest later, or you get overly possessive and clingy to your partners because you can never fully trust them. Or maybe you’re attracted to people who displayed these behaviors, who left you feeling emotionally drained because they filled your life with constant drama.
When this happens repeatedly, self-doubt and worry set in. You have no idea why you behave the way you do. You wonder if there’s something wrong with you and if you’ll die alone and unloved with 72 cats.
The good news is that you can put an end to those lonely nights of binge-watching Netflix shows. If you find yourself in a never-ending cycle of doomed relationships, knowing your attachment style can provide some invaluable insights and unlock the door to coupling bliss.
Attachment theory is one of the most well-researched phenomena in the field of relational psychology. It was developed in the 1960s by psychologists who discovered that many of the beliefs, fears and behavior we display as an adult originate from the early relationships we had with our parents or primary caregivers.It informs how we relate to others in relationships and creates our expectation for how love should be.
How we view ourselves and the role we expect our romantic partners play in our life depends on how responsive our caregivers were to our emotional and physical needs. The more disharmony we experienced in our younger years, the more likely our attachment system gets triggered, causing us to think and behave in irrational ways.
It can make us to do stupid things. It’s what causes a guy to text you 40 times and leave you 10 voice mails if you don’t receive his phone calls, or a girl to become the “runaway bride” at the mere mention of taking your connection to the next level, even if everything is going well between the two of you.
We may never really find out what happened when we were little and how we were parented, but we can get clues and deduce what could have happened based on how we behave in our adult relationships.Knowing your attachment style will make you aware of behaviors that aren’t working for you.
Although attachment styles exist on a continuum, the three main distinct attachment styles, anxious, secure and avoidant, offer an overview of where you stand. Read the descriptions of each one to see if you, or the people you usually date, show any of these patterns.
If you notice that you tend to live in your head too much because you’re perpetually insecure in your relationships, there’s a strong chance you have an anxious attachment style. If you’ve ever dated someone with a similar type behavior, you probably found them clingy and needy. They constantly wanted your assurance because they were worried about being too much or too little for you. The more anxious types are controlling, demanding, jealous and prone to angry outbursts. Any hint of desperation and an unhealthy need for closeness is a big dating red flag!
People with secure attachment styles are, well, secure in relationships. They are comfortable with having a life of their own and allowing their partners to do the same. Dating someone with this style puts you at ease (no bad boys or girls in this category!) They are comfortable with emotional intimacy, being affectionate and openly showing their interest in you. If you have this attachment style, your odds for finding a partner who mirrors your relating approach is high. That’s not to say that you and others with this attachment style are perfect—you’re prone to ups and downs like everyone else. But, you tend to handle those fluctuations better than others.
If you ever date someone with an avoidant attachment style, be prepared to do some chasing. Even though these lovers desire a loving and balanced connection, they're plagued by an unconscious fear of abandonment and rejection if they get too close to someone. These are your classic commitment-phobes, who either avoid relationships altogether or keep anyone they date at a distance to avoid feeling suffocated and caged-in. If they ever reach that point of feeling restricted, they use exit strategies: they make excuses, ghost or take indefinite breaks.
If you display any attachment styles, it might be worth seeking the help of a professional mental health professional to work through the deeper issues causing this behavior. If you put in the inner work, you’ll be well on your way to finding your perfect match before you know it!