It’s natural to want to connect with and be cared for by others, especially in relationships. The way you maintain those relationships can say which type of attachment style you have. Studies show that your relationship with your parents is influential on your attachment style.
There are four types of attachment styles:
- Anxious (preoccupied)
- Avoidant (dismissive)
- Disorganized (fearful avoidant)
Anxious/preoccupied: you often feel that your partner is the better part of you and your relationship. The thought of being without your partner can cause you anxiety. This attachment style is most common for people with anxiety, separation anxiety, and people who have past relationship traumas. The anxious partner will often seek certain things like approval, support, and reassurance from their partner.
Partners with this attachment style typically value their relationships but are worried they are more invested than their partner. They may also be worried that they are not enough for their partner. There is typically a fear of abandonment and they want to make feeling safe a priority. Getting the attention, care, reassurance, etc. is what helps the anxious partner feel more secure. When there is a lack or absence of this support, it typically leaves the anxious partner more clingy and demanding.
Avoidant/dismissive: you often think of yourself as an overly independent person. You describe yourself as strong, self-sufficient, and don’t rely or depend on others. People with this attachment style typically have a higher self esteem and have positive views about themselves. They don’t believe they need to be in a relationship to feel complete. Partners with this attachment style usually try to avoid emotional bonds and try not to be vulnerable. They hide their feelings and emotions.
Disorganized/fearful: you tend to show unstable, unclear, or ambiguous emotions and behaviors in your relationships. Your partner and the relationship both are a source of desire and fear at the same time. People with this attachment style want the intimacy and closeness that a relationship brings but have a hard time trusting and depending on others at the same time. It is hard for them to regulate their emotions and typically avoid serious bonds due to them being scared of getting hurt.
Secure: you tend to be comfortable in expressing emotions which leads to you maintaining healthy relationships. People with this attachment style typically depend on their partners while letting their partners rely on them. Their relationships are based on mutual honesty, trust, and emotional closeness. While they thrive in relationships, they are also okay with being on their own. They do not depend on the approval of others and have a positive view of themselves and others.
The first three attachment styles were insecure attachment styles, whereas the last one is obviously secure. You may relate to one more than others or have a combination of two or more styles. It’s normal to see areas of these that you relate to. Even if you are in the secure category, you may have times where you relate to one of the insecure categories, and that is normal too. If you find yourself relating to the insecure style(s) more, it may be time to address your issues and have a conversation with your partner about it. If you both feel necessary, getting professional help alone and/or together might help. Ignoring these things may lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.