On one end of the relationship spectrum, there’s way-too-cute-to-handle signs you’re in L-O-V-E that could make Gwen and Blake’s super cute Billboard duet seem cold. On the other end, there are toxic relationships that can leave you feeling weak and broken-hearted. And while it might seem like there’s a lot of difference and distance between the two, researchers at the University of Denver beg to differ. In a recent study of over 600 people, researchers identified the four attachment styles people exhibit and the areas of romantic relationships they affect. Their findings show that the way you attach yourself to others can have a BIG impact on the health of your relationships.
Four types of attachment
The study says that these attachment styles are rooted in how children relate to their parents, and therefore are considered an ingrained, relatively unchangeable psychological trait.
1. Secure attachment: Children with secure attachments felt safe enough to be independent. The main characteristic of people with a secure attachment style is the ability to feel confident enough in relationships to establish a routine and trust.
2. Anxious preoccupied attachment: People with this type of attachment style often look to others to rescue or complete them. For this reason, they often feel unsafe in relationships and can be clingy or possessive.
3. Dismissive avoidant attachment: Dismissive avoidant attachment causes people to distance themselves from those close to them. They have the ability to seemingly “turn off” their emotions in order to maintain that distance.
4. Fearful avoidant attachment: Those who find themselves in dramatic relationships might have a fearful avoidant attachment style, which causes people to be afraid of intimacy yet crave closeness at the same time. These contradicting desires — to be simultaneously close and removed from people — causes people with a fearful avoidant attachment style to be unpredictable.
Wondering where you fall on the attachment spectrum? The study found that approximately 60 percent of people have a secure attachment style, while 20 percent have avoidant attachment and 20 percent have anxious attachment. Thinking about your relationship with your parents or caretaker as a child will illuminate which attachment style you most likely have.
How They Affect Your Relationship
While your attachment style isn’t necessarily within your control, your relationships are. To this end, the authors of the study make an important point: “It would be naive to think that a style adopted in infancy remains unchanged or unelaborated all through life.”
The research found that attachment styles most heavily affect three facets of a relationship: beliefs about the course of romantic love, the availability and trustworthiness of love partners and their own love-worthiness. So, if you know your attachment style, put some time into thinking about how it affects your relationship with your boo. If you understand how it affects these three categories, you can ultimately reverse your own psychology and create what the study refers to as an “earned secure attachment.” It’s also worth leaning on your partner, because while anxious or avoidant attachments can be harmful, secure attachment can easily turn into love.
What do you think? Are attachment styles related to relationships? Let us know @BritandCo!
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