They explain many common patterns experienced in relationships. The attachment approach to coupling says that people fall into one of three attachment styles: These labels pretty well describe the characteristics of each one. Putting it simply, secure attachers enjoy connecting intimately and tend to stay bonded. Anxious attachers are capable of attachment but often feel insecure, so they need comforting and reassurance. Avoidants try to avoid attachment altogether.
Here are some avoidant tendencies along with feelings you are likely to experience as a result of each one. While we are all responsible for our own feelings, people in healthy relationships share responsibility for the one another's emotional well-being. You feel ignored and alone. Avoidant types often think someone is out to get them, including you.
So, they hide aspects of their lives that make them feel vulnerable. They create an invisible web of hidden people, facts, and histories, along with little white lies that often seem ridiculous or unnecessary. They are especially intent on hiding information from you because your attempts to get closer to them makes you feel threatening to them.
The only time they can really appreciate it is after a relationship is over. Though they may not realize it, this is often a subconscious defense mechanism giving them a reason to avoid connecting with a new partner.
No one measures up to their ideals, including you. And no one can. Whether consciously or subconsciously, they're afraid an expression of love will mean they are attached. Over time, this wears on the partner who's left to shoulder all of the emotional labor while the avoidant remains passive.
Like a hungry person, you're constantly looking to your partner in the hopes that they will offer you some emotional nourishment, but it never comes. People with avoidant behaviors are actually very conflicted individuals. Like all humans, they crave attachment and do better when they have it. So, the avoidant, on occasion, will let their guard down and step a little closer to their partner.
Alternatively, you may become anxious because the possibility of closeness no longer threatens you. This is because intimate relationships unconsciously stimulate your attachment style and either trust or fear from your past experiences. When your needs are met, you feel secure. Does he or she try to meet your needs or become defensive and uncomfortable or accommodate you once and the return to distancing behavior?
A person with an anxious attachment style would welcome more closeness but still needs assurance and worries about the relationship. Anxious and avoidant attachment styles look like codependency in relationships. Each one is unconscious of their needs, which are expressed by the other. This is one reason for their mutual attraction. Pursuers with an anxious style are usually disinterested in someone available with a secure style. They usually attract someone who is avoidant. It validates their abandonment fears about relationships and beliefs about not being enough, lovable, or securely loved.
They tend to become defensive and attack or withdraw, escalating conflict. Without the chase, conflict, or compulsive behavior, both pursuers and distancers begin to feel depressed and empty due to their painful early attachments. To change your style to be more secure, seek therapy as well as relationships with others who are capable of a secure attachment. If you have an anxious attachment style, you will feel more stable in a committed relationship with someone who has a secure attachment style.
This helps you become more secure. Changing your attachment style and healing from codependency go hand-in-hand.
Both involve the following:. Pursuers need to become more responsible for themselves and distancers more responsible to their partners. The result is a more secure, interdependent, rather than codependent relationship or solitude with a false sense of self-sufficiency.
How to Identify Anxious and Avoidant Daters
Among singles, statistically there are more avoiders, since people with a secure attachment are more likely to be in a relationship.
This increases the probability that daters who anxiously attach will date avoiders, reinforcing their negative spin on relationship outcomes. The quality of that first bond—loving and stable or inconsistent or even absent—actually shapes the developing brain, influencing us throughout life in how we deal with loss and how we behave in relationships. Researchers speak of three different types of attachment that can be created in infancy and that typically continue into adulthood: When infants receive care that is reliable and responsive, they are likely to develop a secure attachment.
Adults with secure attachment easily trust others, are comfortable with intimacy, are resilient in the face of loss, and are able to enjoy long-term, stable relationships.
About 55 percent of people have secure attachment. When the care an infant receives is unreliable—sometimes available, sometimes not—it can produce an anxious attachment. Anxious adults often crave intimacy yet never quite trust their partner's affection and require frequent reassurance. About 15 percent of people have anxious attachment. Infants who consistently fail to receive responsive care come out of childhood with an avoidant attachment.
Anxious avoidant attachment dating
As adults, people with avoidant attachment tend to be uncomfortable with intimacy. They're often not deeply invested in relationships and instead prefer to be independent and self-reliant, and so when a relationship ends, they're able to get over it without too much time dwelling on the loss.
About 25 percent of people have avoidant attachment. We can easily learn our attachment type by taking a simple five-minute quiz developed by attachment researchers. The Experience in Close Relationships Quiz includes 36 statements about how you generally feel in emotionally intimate relationships. You can take the quiz here.When Anxious Meets Avoidant — How Attachment Styles Help and Hurt our Relationships
When you look at the descriptions of all three styles, it's easy to look at the avoidant folks and assume they're "the bad ones. You seek what you seek. Nobody's needs, preferences, and desires are less valid than anybody else's.
If the quiz confirms that your attachment type is avoidant, you can actually use this knowledge to help choose an appropriate mate because some attachment types will likely make better partners for you than others. Another avoidant person, for example, is not your best choice because when relationship problems arise—as they inevitably do—just like you, they are going to be inclined to walk away. To get through the rough patches, a successful couple really needs at least one partner who is willing to stick it out and make the effort to get through the tough times.