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Most people think of attachment styles or attachment theory as being associated with their intro to Psychology or Psych101 class during their undergraduate studies.

During college is where we commonly learn about attachment theory and it being associated with babies and the relationship with their parents.

Well, that is common misconception that attachment ends in childhood! There is much more to attachment style than just our relationship with our parents. Attachment styles develop and affect all relationships from childhood to adulthood and on. Recent research shows how much attachment style plays a role in our relationships as adults. In a romantic relationship, do you triple text, put another person as your priority, and let them lead the relationship? These are signs that you might have an anxious attachment style in your relationship. Anxious attachment style is not a desirable attachment because it does mean you might be overanalyzing the relationship, you get more anxious and want that reassurance, but as a result it does not allow you consistent peace of mind in the relationship. On the other hand, someone with an avoidant attachment style would prefer to walk away during an argument or confrontation. They are also strict about creating heavy boundaries in their relationship and distance themselves both physically and emotionally. Do you think you might know someone that fits this attachment style?

The preferred attachment style we often strive to work towards is the secure attachment style. Securely attached people do not play mind games, are able to communicate and address problems in a healthy way. They are also able to have a healthy distance in the sense they do not feel the need to constantly be with or talk to their partner. Thesecure attachment style is an ideal attachment for every person because it allows you navigate life with confidence and comfort of handling your relationships.

Statically, only 50% of the population have a secure attachment style in their relationships. (This means even when conflict arises, they are more likely to be able to manage it rather than walk away). Keep in mind, your attachment style has fluidity and it may change after being in a long-term relationship, which is something to watch out for.

For the additional 50%, they are often a mix of either anxious, avoidant, or anxious-avoidant. This representationdemonstrates that people more than likely met someone, became friends with, dated, or even married someone who might not been securely attached. Navigating a relationship in the state of being insecurely attached can be complex, challenging, and frustrating. For instance, let’s say you are a part of a couple who have been dating for around 4 years. Partner A is secure, and Partner B is anxious. Due to the anxious attachment style, Partner A who is also unaware of attachment styles, may get frustrated and want to back away from Partner B, resulting in Partner A seeming avoidant. Do you see the effect it has on each partner? Seeking therapy can be considered to help each partner see and talk about their attachment styles. Working with your partner in therapy allows for clear understanding of how your relationship is currently doing and ways to improve it if needed.

Attachment style is significant. Improving your attachment style will benefit your romantic relationship and your relationships with others overall. As we work on attachment styles, the clients I have worked with begin to notice a shift in their relationships and in their communication style. They have a greater sense of ease when communicating with loved ones and even coworkers! Getting to a secure attachment style will take work and time though it is possible to become securely attached once we begin to observe the current patterns and understand them. Once we complete this, we can come to understand the whys and hows, and work on moving towards a secure attachment style.

Let’s kick other attachment styles to the curb and start working on getting you to the ideal attachment style. If you have any questions and would like to contact me, please feel free to do so at 312.600.8912.