What the attachment styles can look like in dating

Our attachment pattern is shaped by our life experiences and affects our interactions with others. Knowing your own and other people's styles therefore becomes extra relevant in dating. It makes you understand both yourself and even the person you are dating better.

What the attachment styles can look like in dating

**There are four different attachment styles, where approximately 60% have a secure attachment, and the other 40% need to work on their attachment to create a prosperous and long-term sustainable relationship. **

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What could the different patterns look like during dating?

In order to understand why and how you or the person you date react to different situations, it can help to understand which attachment pattern you or they have.

Secure attachment

People with a secure attachment find it easy to get close to other people, but also enjoy being in their own company. They have a positive self-image and expect good from others.

Typical behaviors can be:

  • Being able to regulate one's emotions in different situations
  • Being able to easily trust the person they date
  • To communicate their needs clearly
  • Being comfortable with both closeness and time apart
  • Being able to talk about feelings without fear or anxiety

3 tips when you have secure attachment

  • How can you expand and develop? Do you want to try something new or immerse yourself in something? Share possible thoughts and dreams with your partner.

  • How do you want to develop? How do you want to create more value and meaning for yourself, together with your partner and for the world around you? How can you contribute?

  • Maintain humility around the fact that others/your partner who are not as secure, have different relational challenges than you. Which may require more understanding and patience.

Avoidant attachment

Those with an avoidant attachment have learned to fend for themselves as children. They have confidence in themselves, but not others. This means that closeness is experienced as something unsafe.

This creates unhealthy behaviors such as:

  • Pulling away when the other needs confirmation
  • Pushing the other away when it gets too intense
  • To actively look for faults and flaws in the other
  • To dismiss/minimize one's own and others' feelings
  • Keeping emotional distance from others to avoid being hurt yourself

5 ways to become more secure

  • Look for the reward of having close relationships. The desire and positive feelings that can be evoked when you are close and more intimate with your partner.

  • Practice being okay with being needy and being able to accept support when offered.

  • When there is tension and conflict in the relationship: note the impulse to want to end the relationship, to look outward and away from the contact. Without sorting out, repairing or confronting your partner emotionally.

  • Practice shifting focus from "me/my" to "our common" and with your partner.

  • Practice communicating more emotionally openly and honestly about what's going on inside you, how your partner affects you, what you feel and want.

Anxious attachment

For those with an anxious attachment, there is a tug of war between wanting closeness and constantly being prepared for it to disappear.

This creates unhealthy behaviors such as:

  • Always being available and ready to socialize
  • Checking in with the other often
  • Often needing confirmation of where the relationship is going
  • Feeling stressed and anxious when away from the other
  • Being extra sensitive to when the energy changes – such as tone, eye contact or interaction

4 protest behaviors

When people with anxious attachment gets triggered and are afraid to ask for what they need, protests can look like this:
  • Silence - they shut down
  • They try to create jealousy
  • Threatens to leave the relationship
  • Become manipulative and passive aggressive

This can create both confusion for the other person and cracks in the relationship. Therefore, it is extra important to stop when an impulse of this sort comes. Take a deep breath and dare to ask for what you need instead.

5 ways to become more secure

  • Look for patterns in your relationships. What triggers you? For example, do you have experience dating people who are bad at communicating? Then silence can trigger you.

  • Write a list of what makes you feel good and what doesn't. Communicate your needs at the very beginning of a relationship.

  • Look at what your love languages ​​are, does the one you're dating meet your needs? If not, bring it up with the other person.

  • Date someone with a secure connection.

  • Learn to be alone. Often, loneliness can be the hardest thing to learn to feel good about and feel safe in, because it triggers your attachment. Learn to recognize thoughts and feelings that arise when you are alone, reflect on what past experiences they come from and separate them from what is happening now.

Fearful-avoidant attachment

With this attachment, you often carry an experience of the type "fear without a solution" which can lead to more complex challenges in your everyday life and relationships. About 4% have this attachment style as a basis.

This creates unhealthy patterns such as:

  • Difficulty being present in interactions with others
  • Having a lack of impulse control
  • Being self-absorbed and having a great need for control
  • Feeling that relationships and intimacy are uncomfortable, risky and difficult

4 tips to be more confident

Seek help from a therapist/psychologist with expertise in trauma, post-traumatic stress and attachment.

Building trust, security and the ability to regulate strong emotions is the path to healing and development. Identify with whom you feel safe enough (partner, friend, pet, therapist) and what kind of daily habits you need to increase feelings of security and stability. Take care of your body.

Gain increased understanding and compassion for yourself. Reach out and learn about trauma, attachment and helpful self-supporting practices.

  • Book tips and YouTube videos: Authors and therapists such as Peter Levine, Besser van der Koolk, Pat Ogden and Diane Poole Heller

Tips for all attachment patterns

Awareness, communication and understanding are important ingredients for creating a safe and sustainable relationship. Discuss attachment patterns with your date early on in the relationship to understand what triggers you both and how you can be there for each other when the other feels insecure.