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The Scientific Explanation on Why We Attract What We Are

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.

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.

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We are all wired to one of the 4 types of attachment styles.

According to attachment theory, there are 4 types of attachment styles[3]:

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.

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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?

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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?

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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]

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

More by this author

Amber Pariona

EFL Teacher, Lifehack Writer, English/Spanish Translator, MPA

What Makes a Relationship Boring and How to Avoid It How to Know If You’re Really in Love or Not (Yes It Can Be Confusing) Why You and Your Partner Don’t Need to Speak the Same Love Language to Stay Together Why Worrying About Losing a Friend Is Unnecessary No.1 Relationship Killer: Your Good Intention to Advise Your Partner When They’re Upset

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Last Updated on May 7, 2019

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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    They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

    Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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        1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
        2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
        3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
        4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
        5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

        How to Spot a Wolf

          Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

          Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

          A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

          A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

          Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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          Ask Questions, the More the Better

          There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

          When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

          Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

          They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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          Wolves Are Everywhere

          As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

          Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

          Reference

          [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
          [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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