How Your ‘Attachment Style' Affects Your Relationship
Cosmopolitan India|March 2021
Whether your style is ‘anxious’ or ‘secure’, it dictates how you behave with a partner. We explain the famous theory...and the different attachment styles.
Paisley Gilmour
You may have heard about John Bowlby’s famous theory on attachment. Our attachment styles, it turns out, set the pattern for how healthy our relationships are. Ever wondered why you act a certain way in every relationship? Or why you keep making the same mistakes? It’s probably down to your attachment style, which can be linked all the way back to your childhood.

If you feel insecure in your adult relationships, keep wanting to check in on a partner or starting arguments about where they have been, or if you avoid emotional intimacy and prefer to feel ‘independent’, identifying your attachment style could help you change your behaviour and improve your relationships going forward.

The three main attachment theory styles are: Anxious Attachment, Secure Attachment, and Avoidant Attachment. And here’s what they mean...and why they matter in relationships.

WHY KNOWING ATTACHMENT THEORY AND YOUR ATTACHMENT STYLE IS IMPORTANT

Barbara Honey, relationship counsellor at UK-based counselling services, Relate, says, “It’s very helpful for people to identify their attachment style, even if they’re not seeing a counsellor.” And the sooner one learns about it the better, “because if people did start thinking about it early on, and recognised they had a bit of a problem, they could do something about it before it went pear-shaped.”

By couples talking to each other about their own experiences of attachment, Barbara says they can make sense of each other’s personal situations and understand their behaviours better. Plus, identifying your own style will also allow you to figure out if you’re compatible with your partner, long-term. “Different attachment styles fit differently together, too,” Barbara adds. “If you’re both ‘anxious’, it will cause you a lot of difficulties.” Unfortunately, we often don’t know another person’s attachment style until we’re in a relationship with them. “People who end up being very possessive and controlling often start by being very charming and loving,” she says. “It’s easy to be fooled by the charm and the love, and then get trapped in a very controlling relationship.”

WHAT IS ATTACHMENT THEORY?

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