Ever wonder why certain people have different approaches to relationships? Or why some people seem to face the same problems over and over again, no matter who they’re dating?
It’s probably because of their attachment style.
We learn our attachment styles from our parents as children. But as we get older, we usually continue to exhibit these attachment styles unless we make a serious effort to change.
Experiencing childhood trauma or coming home to a stressful environment, for example, can result in avoidant, ambivalent, or disorganized attachment styles. That said, even those with seemingly idyllic families might have developed relational dynamics that trend toward avoidant, ambivalent or disorganized. You can read more about these types of attachment in my earlier blog posts.
On the other hand, people who experience a sense of stability at home and enjoy loving relationships with their parents are generally more likely to exemplify the secure attachment style. But those with less stable childhoods may also have learned to develop secure attachments through their own deeply introspective work. The point is, you need to spend the time to learn who you’re dealing with, rather than just assuming someone isn’t capable of secure attachment based on your interpretation of their history.
How can you tell if your partner has a secure attachment style? Here are a few key signs.
They’re Not Jealous
Someone with a secure attachment style rarely feels jealous of their partner. Going out with friends, taking a solo trip, or even receiving the occasional friendly text from an ex is typically a non-issue if you’re dating someone who is securely attached.
As long as there are no signs that their partner has been less than loyal, a securely attached person is not the type to question their whereabouts or go through their phone. This does not mean they are apathetic, however.
They’re Comfortable Opening Up
A person who learned a secure attachment style growing up was probably encouraged to voice their needs rather than suppress them.
If your partner has a secure attachment style, they will likely have no problem telling you what’s going on in their life. And they will also let you know when they need your support.
They Keep Heated Discussions Civil
Yes, every couple will occasionally argue. But when you’re dating someone with a secure attachment style, even a disagreement can remain civil.
They won’t be tempted to raise their voice at you. Their goal is being understood, understanding you, and making things right between you rather than ultimately proving that they are right and you are wrong. It’s much easier for both of you to express yourselves and feel safe in doing so.
If you tell your securely attached partner that you’re going through a rough time, they will be there for you.
They know how to give you extra support or are willing to ask how they can provide support while still attending to their own needs. And they won’t make you feel dramatic or clingy. Instead, they’ll display empathy and compassion.
They Know How to Compromise
“Compromise” isn’t a scary word for someone with a secure attachment style. They have no problem taking a step back and considering how the two of you can find a middle ground.
There’s an understanding that compromise doesn’t mean no one gets what they want. Instead, it’s about finding a way for both of you to accommodate each other and be satisfied with the result.
They Prefer Real Commitment
This doesn’t necessarily mean that someone with a secure attachment style will rush to get into a committed relationship. But they’re less likely to put up with a “will they, won’t they” situation for months on end.
In fact, they would rather have an honest conversation about where you stand with one another and perhaps even decide on a label for clarity’s sake.
They Set and Respect Boundaries
For someone with a secure attachment style, setting boundaries is just a normal part of life. Their parents probably emphasized the importance of this at home.
Thus, they won’t hesitate to speak up when they need space or tell you if something is bothering them. And in return, they’ll understand that when you state your own boundaries, it’s their job to step back, not push your buttons.
Wondering how you can develop a secure attachment style as an adult? It’s definitely not too late. Contact me today to see how therapy can benefit the way you approach connecting to others.