Blame yourself for the stress in your relationship

What you need to know:

We all fall in love and stay in relationships for different reasons. However, sometimes, your personality will either make your relationship easy and enjoyable or difficult and sad.

Did you know that you have a specific style with which you attach to your partner?

The attachment theory was developed by psychologists John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth and helps us to understand the four basic ways in which people attach to their partners.

Bowlby’s original research was carried out on children, but further research in the 1980s concluded that the basic concepts of the theory are also applicable to adult relationships. We share with you some highlights of this theory.

Secure attachment

This first style basically describes people who find it really easy to become emotionally close to others. Such people have a high level of self-confidence and are neither afraid of being alone nor of being rejected. Consequently, they are comfortable with deep intimacy as well as independence and truly believe in relationships. Their major strength is that they are very enthusiastic about being in a relationship. The faith they have in themselves, others, and in relationships appear to draw people to them and can lead to a truly happy relationship.

Anxious/pre-occupied attachment

The core of this style is a pre-occupation with relationships. Such people feel extremely uncomfortable if they are not in a close relationship, but are usually worried that no one really wants to be close to them. Like the secure attachment style, they value relationships, but unlike the former, they are afraid of independence and become highly dependent on relationships. Further, they are obsessed with seeking high levels of intimacy, approval, and reciprocity from their partners.

A positive aspect of this style is that such people are more emotionally expressive and, thus, their emotional struggles are easy to identify. On the other hand, they worry a lot about their relationships and can be demanding and impulsive, factors that are detrimental to relationships.

Dismissive–avoidant attachment

The dismissive types are those who believe they are okay with as little attachment as possible. They are highly independent, which usually comes through as avoidance of attachment, although that is not entirely true. Such people consider themselves self-sufficient and, thus, seek less intimacy with their partners. They boast of not being emotional and will generally make little time for relationships.

The main advantage of this style is that such people are able to address issues in relationships with an emotional distance that helps to give clarity to issues. On the other hand, just as the label suggests, they can be dismissive of demands for close attachment from their partners and this easily becomes an obstacle to a relationship.

Fearful–avoidant attachment

This attachment style can best be described as a paradox, people who yearn for attachment but at the same time cringe at the thought of being attached to someone. This style derives from a poor self-esteem, little faith in people, including themselves, and definitely little faith in relationships. Like the dismissive style, this category seeks less intimacy.

The difference, however, is that while the dismissive style consider themselves self-sufficient, the fearful style have deep yearning for intimacy but usually suppress and deny their feelings. A key strength of this category is that once they get into a trusting relationship, they find deep fulfilment and become great lovers.

On the negative side, their principal challenge is lack of trust and a deep fear of rejection or being hurt. Building trust takes a long, long time and this makes them very difficult to relate with.

What is your style

As it is with many such models, no one really fits squarely into one category. There is, however, likely to be a dominant style, with bits and pieces of the other styles. Let us get this right; everyone deserves love, everyone can love and give love regardless of their style. By understanding yourself and your spouse, you can together begin a journey of building a strong relationship.