Relationships are complex. In order to create healthy and successful relationships, it is important to understand the psychology of relationships such as understanding attachment styles. Attachment styles are formed during our childhood and evolutionarily, serve to keep us safe. They determine our ability to form bonds with others and even how we interact in relationships. This article explores the psychology of relationships, focusing on attachment styles and how they affect us in our intimate relationships.

Understanding Attachment Styles

At its most basic level, an attachment style is the way an individual responds to proximity or distance both in terms of physical proximity and emotional distance. The first step to understanding attachment styles is to get to know our own attachment style.

Secure Attachment Style

Securely attached people feel more secure and confident when interacting with their partner and have generally trusting relationships. Some of the qualities of secure attachment styles include:

• A deep trust in the other person

• Ability to communicate feelings openly
• Dependence on partner without fear

• Ability to discuss problems without fear of being judged
• Acceptance of differences
• Comfort with physical intimacy
• Equally supportive in give and take of the relationship

Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment Style

Anxious-preoccupied people want to be close to their partners and often become very clingy as a result. Being rejected or abandoned can trigger fear, leading to clinginess and insecurity. Some of the qualities of anxious-preoccupied attachment styles include:

• Difficulty trusting in partner
• Willingness to sacrifice own needs to please partner
• Strong need for approval and reassurance from partner
• Difficulty with emotional independence
• Tendency towards jealousy and possessiveness
• Difficulty with ending relationships
• Fear of abandonment and rejection

Avoidant Attachment Style

People with an avoidant attachment style have a strong need for independence and autonomy. They have difficulty forming strong emotional connections and often take a defensive approach to relationships. Some of the qualities of avoidant attachment styles can include:

• Discomfort with emotional expression
• Difficulty trusting in and/or relying upon partner
• Unwillingness to become too attached
• Difficulty with emotional and physical intimacy
• Tendency towards distance and withdrawal
• Fear of emotional closeness or vulnerability
• Conflict avoidance
• Difficulty expressing feelings and needs

Disorganized Attachment Style

Those with a disorganized attachment style come from childhoods with extreme fear, neglect, or feelings of insecurity. This leads to a feeling of disorganized and mixed feelings towards relationships. Some of the qualities of a disorganized attachment style can include:

• Difficulty trusting/reaching out to others
• Emotional dysregulation
• Unpredictability in relationships
• Fear and insecurity
• Difficulty discussing personal problems
• Repressing emotions
• Avoidance of relationships
• Fiery outbursts of anger

The Impact of Attachment Styles on Relationships

It is important to be aware of individual attachment styles in order to navigate relationships. Unhealthy attachment styles can lead to trust issues, communication issues, and an inability to emotionally connect with others. Understanding personal attachment styles can help individuals create healthier and more successful relationships.

• Secure Attachment: Securely attached people are more likely to have successful and enjoyable relationships. They value connection and are trusting but aren’t dependent on their partners.

• Anxious-Preoccupied Attachment: Individuals with anxious-preoccupied attachment styles often have jealousy in relationships and a constant need for reassurance. This often leads to issues like dependence and control in relationships.

• Avoidant Attachment: Those with avoidant attachment styles struggle with intimacy and forming attachments. They often struggle when trying to open up to people and are scared of getting too close.

• Disorganized Attachment: Those with disorganized attachment styles can be unpredictable and display erratic behavior. Their insecurities often lead to difficulties in relationships.

How to Form Healthier Attachment Styles

It is possible to form healthier attachment styles through understanding the psychology of relationships. It is important to be aware of attachment styles within ourselves and look for patterns that could indicate we have an unhealthy attachment style. One way to cultivate a healthier attachment style is to look at our past relationships and what caused us to form our attachment style. Doing this can help us become more mindful of our attachment style and help us create healthier and more successful relationships.

Relationships are complicated and understanding attachment styles is one key component in creating successful relationships. Attachment styles affect different relationships in different ways and it is important to have an awareness of one’s attachment style. By understanding our attachment style and striving to create healthier attachment styles, we can create healthier and happier relationships.