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The Scientific Explanation on Why We Attract What We Are
Have you ever noticed a pattern in your romantic relationships? We tend to have very specific behaviors with our partners and these behaviors tend to repeat themselves. Maybe you’ve been called “clingy” a couple times? Or maybe you run from relationship problems rather than work through them. Whatever your particular relationship pattern, it can all be explained by attachment theory.Have you ever noticed a pattern in your romantic relationships? We tend to have very specific behaviors with our partners and these behaviors tend to repeat themselves. Maybe you’ve been called “clingy” a couple times? Or maybe you run from relationship problems rather than work through them. Whatever your particular relationship pattern, it can all be explained by attachment theory.
Attachment theory helps explain the attachment style we use in our adult relationships. Understanding this, is the key to finding a lasting relationship.
Your attachment style determines who you attract.
How can understanding attachment theory help you find a partner? Well, your attachment style affects every aspect of your romantic relationships, from being attracted to a particular person to how the breakup goes.1 Learning more about your attachment style, helps you learn more about your personal needs and how to get those needs met.2
Attachment theory can help you understand what strengths and weaknesses you bring to a relationship and how you can make those traits work in your favor. The more you understand your attachment style, the more likely you are to find somebody that matches and complements that style.
We are all wired to one of the 4 types of attachment styles.
According to attachment theory, there are 4 types of attachment styles3:
1. Secure Attachment
If you experienced a secure relationship with your parents and grew up feeling safe to grow and explore independently, you probably have secure attachment. This means that you tend to feel secure and close to your partner, but still respect each person’s independence in the relationship.
2. Anxious Preoccupied Attachment
If you have an anxious preoccupied attachment style, it might be hard for you to feel satisfied in your romantic relationships. In fact, you might be described as clingy or possessive as you rely on your partner to make you feel happy or to help you overcome your fears. You might even spend a lot of time worried that you will lose your significant other.
3. Dismissive Avoidant Attachment
If you are a dismissive avoidant, attachment theory says that you tend to isolate yourself from your partner. You might come off as unconcerned with your relationship and may go so far as to say that having a romantic partner isn’t that important. You try to avoid emotional connection with another person.
4. Fearful Avoidant Attachment
If you have fearful avoidant attachment, you probably experience two kinds of fear simultaneously: the fear of letting yourself get to close to your partner and the fear of being too distant with your partner. Living in this constant state of confusion takes a toll on your emotions. People have probably told you that you’re emotional and unpredictable because your moods tend to change dramatically and with no warning.
According to research, around 50% of the general population has a secure attachment style, 20% has an anxious attachment style, and 25% has an avoidant attachment style.4
In the dating world, that is single and available adults, you’re more likely to find somebody who fits one of the avoidant attachment styles. Why? Because people with secure attachment have a higher probability of being in a committed relationship.5
So, you’ve looked over the relationship styles of attachment theory and think you know which category you fit in. So now how do use that information to help you find a lasting relationship?
Some people tend to be drawn to a specific type of people.
Attachment theory tells us that people with certain attachment styles tend to be drawn to somebody of a complementary nature. What does this mean? If you’re an anxious or avoidant person, you might find a secure person to be a little boring. You crave drama, mistakenly believing it is the same as sharing romantic chemistry. A securely attached person isn’t going to provide that.
As a result, avoidant and anxious people often end up together. Two avoidant people make for barely there relationship; both people spend all their time avoiding each other. Two anxious people make for an unpredictable and high stress relationship; each convinced the other is going to abandon them.
But an anxious and an avoidant person together? These 2 attachment styles complement each other in that an anxious person is willing to wait around for their avoidant partner to commit to the relationship. This anxious attachment actually validates avoidant behavior by letting the avoidant know their behavior will be tolerated.6
Securely attached individuals can be with any of the style according to attachment theory. This is because they can validate their partner’s feelings and help them overcome their fears. So how can you achieve a secure attachment style?
It’s possible to change your attachment style.
First, you need to accept your attachment type by being honest with yourself. If you are an anxious partner, admit it.
Then, ask yourself why. Think back to your childhood, write down all of your memories if you need to. Really look at what happened to you while growing up and try to make sense of it, try to determine how it is affecting your adult relationships today.
Making this connection can help you develop a more secure attachment style, which can help you find a lasting relationship.7
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