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Identify Your Attachment Style and Find Someone Who Fits Yours

Identify Your Attachment Style and Find Someone Who Fits Yours

Ever heard of attachment theory? It’s the theory that explains what kind of attachment we form in our adult relationships, particularly with our romantic partners.

Some relationships have compatible attachment styles. Others are not so lucky. When you end up dating somebody with a different attachment style, it can lead to all kinds of conflict in the relationship. One of these conflicts could be about time. For example, attachment theory explains that some people expect to spend all of their free time with their partners. Other people, however, neither want nor need to spend so much time with their partners. This difference can cause a struggle between two people as they try to agree on how much time to invest in the relationship.

Changing your attachment style is a long and difficult process.

You can definitely try to change your particular attachment style, but that’s a really long and difficult process. According to attachment theory, we develop our attachment style when we are small children. It’s usually based on the relationship we had with our parents.

Instead, we’re going to talk about the different types of attachment styles and which combinations are better for relationships. If you can identify your exact attachment style, you can find a partner who fits your needs. This, of course, is the ideal situation. If you’re already in a relationship, however, and your attachment combination isn’t so good, don’t worry! There’s still hope for you and your significant other.

Four attachment styles.

Attachment theory identifies 4 types of attachment styles:

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Secure – You tend to feel secure and close to your partner, while still respecting each person’s independence.

Insecure Anxious – You tend to feel unhappy in your relationships and sometimes act possessive of your partner. You worry a lot that you will lose your significant other, who you depend on for your happiness.

Insecure Avoidant – You tend to put distance between yourself and your partner, doing everything possible to avoid an emotional connection. Your partner may feel that you are not concerned with the relationship.

Insecure Disorganized – You have difficulty trusting other people and experience a variety of fears, including: getting too close to your partner or being too distant. Your emotions tend to change quickly, which keeps you in a constant state of confusion.

Each attachment combination has a different outlook for the relationship.

Positive Outlook

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    If either person has a secure attachment style, then the relationship has a positive outlook. Attachment theory tells us that the person with a secure attachment style is able to validate their partner’s concerns. They can even help their less secure partner overcome their insecurities.

    Challenging Outlook

      The anxious + anxious combination is challenging. People with this attachment style are able to read small changes in emotion and behavior. This perceptive ability combined with their anxious insecurity results in jumping to conclusions.[1] In short, two insecure anxious people have the potential to experience a relationship full of drama, jealousy, and arguments. The same happens for the insecure disorganized + insecure disorganized combination.

      When an avoidant one pairs up with another avoidant one, there’ll be little communication, which may seem to be fine at the beginning as both aren’t demanding. But as time goes by the connection will become weaker and it’s hard to sustain the relationship.

      Toxic Combination

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        If the two attachment styles are anxious and avoidant, things are going to be difficult. You should probably mentally prepare yourself for the kind of issues that this combination might bring to your life. If you’re thinking about getting into this romance, think again.

        Interestingly, these two types of attachment are often drawn together. That’s because they almost complement each other. An anxious person has fear of losing their partner and so they wait for the avoidant person to decide to commit to the relationship. This combination validates the avoidant person’s behavior.[2]

        As insecure disorganized style is a combination of the anxious type and the avoidant type, when the anxious side comes up, it’ll be a disaster with the avoidant type. When the avoidant side comes up, conflicts will arise with the anxious type. That’s why both insecure disorganized + insecure avoidant and insecure disorganized+ insecure anxious are not likely to work.

        Be honest with yourself to identify your attachment style.

        In order to find someone who fits your attachment style, you must first identify it. Think about the way you react to the things your partner does.

        If they tell you they’ll call at 6:00 pm and they don’t call until 6:30 pm, do you spend that half hour worrying what could have possibly gone wrong? Do you start feeling vulnerable or thinking you’ve probably been abandoned? Be honest with yourself, you’ve probably been known to pout or start arguments with your partner. Sound familiar? You’re probably an insecure anxious type.

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        Think about how you feel after you spend a lot of time with your significant other. Do you need some time to yourself? Or maybe you feel like being in a long term relationship means you’ll lose your identity or independence. If this sounds like you, you could be have an insecure avoidant attachment type.

        Observe your partner’s behavior to find out their attachment style.

        It may seem more difficult to identify your significant other’s attachment style, but it’s not impossible. You might not know exactly how they feel internally, but you can observe their behaviors. Think about how they react to your concerns. If you’ve had a bad day and you come home talking about it, what do they say? Do you feel ignored, like they just aren’t interested? They might have an insecure avoidant attachment style.

        What happens when you’re running late to a date? If they start sending texts after only 3 minutes to ask if you’re still coming, they might be an anxious type.

        No relationship is perfect and certainly no relationship is bound to fail just because of attachment styles. By understanding your person attachment style and that of your partner’s, though, you can make real progress toward ensuring your future happiness together.

        Reference

        More by this author

        Amber Pariona

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

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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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