Do you cut and run, cling even harder or simply stall?

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Your your attachment style could be ruining your chances of finding love

Sometimes the reason you’re single is complex. It was bad timing, you realised they weren’t the one, you moved away or you made a mistake dumping them.

But sometimes it’s very simple.

You have an insecure attachment style

Attachment styles is not a new concept but it’s gained popularity in the past five years and it explains a lot when trying to understand why we act the way we do when dating.

You have an avoidant attachment style if…

You feel the need to bolt when things get too serious
You feel the need to be independent
You feel you seem to attract needy people

You have an anxious attachment style if…

You constantly worry about what your partner is doing.
You freak out when they don’t text back within 10 minutes
You feel like you have to convince your partner to spend more time with you

Around 50% of the population has a secure attachment style, 25% are anxious and 25% are avoidant.

Here are the symptoms

Secure:

  • You are comfortable with intimacy
  • You state your needs clearly
  • You are happy to make future plans
  • You introduce your partner to family and friends early on

Anxious

  • You often worry if your partner will be there for you
  • You feel your partner doesn’t want to spend as much time with you as you want
  • You can be ‘clingy’ – a great example is the guy or girl who texts their partner 5 times when they haven’t replied within a few hours
  • You worry if you break up you won’t find anyone else
  • You want to be very close and have lots of intimacy

Avoidant

  • You want to keep your autonomy within a relationship
  • You’re not comfortable with too much intimacy
  • You don’t like to commit to too many future plans
  • You stress boundaries
  • You’re uncomfortable sharing deep feelings
  • You prefer casual sex
  • You miss your partner when apart, but when together you want to escape
  • You send mixed signals
  • You idealize a past relationship or partner, or dream of “the one”
  • You fear of commitment and fear being “trapped”

Ironically, avoidant and anxious types tend to shack up together, thus reinforcing their negative beliefs about relationships feeling their partners are too needy (avoidant) or their partners don’t like them as much as they do (anxious).

When you have a push-pull dynamic like this it, people can often mistake it for the feeling of “love” when really it’s just the butterflies in your stomach being flipped from the intermittent reinforcement.

Look for secure partners and look to become secure yourself

I’m sure you can identify yourself in one of those types above or at least on a continuum leaning towards one.

This can be seriously messing up your dating life if you don’t identify your style and work to correct it. I have clients who say that they get so nervous when they start dating someone and their phone are glued to them waiting for the next text!

I also have clients who date someone to a point and then feel an overwhelming need to run and just bolt, leaving their partners sad and confused.

Your attachment style won’t get better by itself. You have to work on sitting with the uncomfortable feeling and challenging your old beliefs if you want a relationship that’s healthy and good.

So if you are in one of the more insecure types then there are things you can do to improve.

If you’re anxious, you have to let go of control. Learn to parent yourself, calm yourself down and challenge your negative beliefs about yourself and your partner. State what you need clearly and if your partner can’t meet that standard then think twice about them. Also – take it slow! Anxious people want to attach quickly! So before you attach, take some time to work out if they’re actually worth attaching to.

If you’re avoidant, resist the need to flee when you feel intimacy deepening or when you feel vulnerable or suffocated. If you need time away, explain that to your partner in a clear way and let them know you still care about them. Realise that your need for autonomy is okay, but respect those partners who value being close. Don’t send mixed messages – it can really hurt.

And if you’re secure – great! Explain to your friends what ‘love’ means for you and how you navigate the dating world. Encourage those around you to not let go or stick around and not idealise love.

 

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