Attachment Styles and Couples Relationships

September 23, 2021

How to Develop a Secure Attachment Style with Your Partner

Differing attachment styles are at the heart of many relationship problems. If you and your partner feel disconnected or insecure, it’s possible that the two of you have different attachment styles. In this article, we’ll describe the four primary attachment styles. We will also share some tips for how to develop a secure attachment style with your partner.

Secure Attachment Style

A secure attachment style is the one we all aim for in our relationships. Where we feel trust and connection with our partner. We’re able to give and receive support, and yet we have an element of independence that allows both parties to pursue their own interests and interact freely with others.

Anxious-preoccupied Attachment Style

Someone with an anxious-preoccupied attachment style is likely to be clingy, possessive, and insecure. They may not feel confident in themselves or their relationship and subconsciously want their partner to complete them or even to rescue them.

Dismissive-Avoidant Attachment Style

We all need connection in our relationships, but those with a dismissive-avoidant attachment style tend to detach themselves from their loved ones. People with this attachment style frequently take on large responsibilities of the relationship themselves. Rather than sharing those responsibilities with their partner, and can be emotionally distant.

Fearful-Avoidant Attachment Style

People with a fearful-avoidant attachment style are often conflicted between opposing emotions. They have an innate need to be close to others, and yet fear that intimacy at the same time. Their relationships are often dramatic and characterized by strong and conflicting moods.

Tips for Developing a Secure Attachment Style

The good news is that no matter what your attachment style, you can work towards developing a secure attachment style with your partner. The road towards a good relationship is often smoothed when one of you already has a secure attachment style, but the challenges of other styles can be overcome with or without this benefit.

Figure out your attachment style and that of your partner. Discuss together what motivates you to behave as you do, and try to be open, honest, and supportive. By understanding your attachment styles you can work together to develop a secure relationship.

Build your own self-esteem and that of your partner by expressing love, gratitude, and praise. As you each come to understand your value as individuals you become more comfortable with healthy independence, ​ac​and more able to interact well together.

Resist any urge to pathologize your partner because of his or her attachment style. Better yet, notice any urge to do so and consider looking inward to your own tendency to ‘go there’. Recognize that your behavior affects each other. By reassuring one another and extending mutual trust, the two of you can build greater security in your attachment style.

Therapy can also help the two of you to learn your unique strengths and weaknesses. An experienced counselor can give you guidance on what changes you can make both as individuals and as a couple to foster a secure attachment style.

Managing your attachment style or learning to work well with a partner who has a different attachment style can be a challenge, but the rewards are worth the effort. A safe, secure, and mutually beneficial relationship can blossom when you work together as a couple to learn about attachment styles. You can make positive changes, and support one another through the process.

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