About 55 percent of people have secure attachment. When the care an infant receives is unreliable—sometimes available, sometimes not—it can produce an anxious attachment. Anxious adults often crave intimacy yet never quite trust their partner's affection and require frequent reassurance. About 15 percent of people have anxious attachment.
Infants who consistently fail to receive responsive care come out of childhood with an avoidant attachment. As adults, people with avoidant attachment tend to be uncomfortable with intimacy. They're often not deeply invested in relationships and instead prefer to be independent and self-reliant, and so when a relationship ends, they're able to get over it without too much time dwelling on the loss.
About 25 percent of people have avoidant attachment. We can easily learn our attachment type by taking a simple five-minute quiz developed by attachment researchers. The Experience in Close Relationships Quiz includes 36 statements about how you generally feel in emotionally intimate relationships. You can take the quiz here. When you look at the descriptions of all three styles, it's easy to look at the avoidant folks and assume they're "the bad ones.
Dating With An Avoidant Attachment Style - mindbodygreen
You seek what you seek. Nobody's needs, preferences, and desires are less valid than anybody else's. If the quiz confirms that your attachment type is avoidant, you can actually use this knowledge to help choose an appropriate mate because some attachment types will likely make better partners for you than others. Another avoidant person, for example, is not your best choice because when relationship problems arise—as they inevitably do—just like you, they are going to be inclined to walk away.
To get through the rough patches, a successful couple really needs at least one partner who is willing to stick it out and make the effort to get through the tough times.
First, let's review the basics of attachment theory.
An anxious person is also not a good choice for you. In fact, the combination of anxious and avoidant is the worst pairing of attachment types because you'll have opposite needs for intimacy: The anxious will crave closeness, while the avoidant will value independence. As a result, the anxious person, feeling pushed away, becomes even clingier and in need of reassurance—a neediness that only pushes the avoidant partner further away.
It's a likely unhealthy scenario you want to avoid. That leaves people with secure attachments—and they should be your top choice for romantic partners.
Personal Data Collected
Secure people will generally be best able to understand your avoidant nature and be willing to accept it and adjust their expectations about the relationship to take into account your need for privacy, independence, and alone time. Fortunately, your best choice for romantic partners—those with secure attachment—are also the largest group in the population. If your attachment style doesn't reflect the way you personally want to behave in your relationships, there are ways to adjust your responses.
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Self-awareness is the first step toward making changes that benefit you. In relationships, shifting from reactiveness to responsiveness can lift us out of our early attachment patterns toward a healthier, more secure style. If you want to be closer to a partner than you otherwise might normally be, try using your instinctual desire for independence in a different way: You can also put limits on the couple time: The point is, you can move toward greater intimacy in stages, as it feels comfortable, without giving up all your privacy.
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Remember, with any prospective partner you meet, you should be honest about your own attachment type and what it means. There's no point in pretending to be more eager than you are for intimacy, cuddles, and soul-mating. You want, after all, to find someone who accepts your attachment type and will be comfortable with you just as you are. So, they hide aspects of their lives that make them feel vulnerable.
They create an invisible web of hidden people, facts, and histories, along with little white lies that often seem ridiculous or unnecessary. They are especially intent on hiding information from you because your attempts to get closer to them makes you feel threatening to them. The only time they can really appreciate it is after a relationship is over.
Though they may not realize it, this is often a subconscious defense mechanism giving them a reason to avoid connecting with a new partner. No one measures up to their ideals, including you. And no one can. Whether consciously or subconsciously, they're afraid an expression of love will mean they are attached.
Over time, this wears on the partner who's left to shoulder all of the emotional labor while the avoidant remains passive. Like a hungry person, you're constantly looking to your partner in the hopes that they will offer you some emotional nourishment, but it never comes. People with avoidant behaviors are actually very conflicted individuals.
Like all humans, they crave attachment and do better when they have it. So, the avoidant, on occasion, will let their guard down and step a little closer to their partner. But as soon as they feel a bit more capable, the fear of intimacy flares up again and the rollercoaster continues its bumpy ride. You get your hopes up only to be let down again. The obvious answer is to get out while you can.
Research shows that attachment styles can be changed. The caveat here is that, just like with any relationship endeavor, you both have to be fully on board. Unfortunately, that is a tall order for an avoidant. If you do manage to get your avoidant partner on board, find a therapist who can help you evolve your attachment styles and perspectives to a more secure framework. Attachment theory suggests we all do better when we have a secure base from which to operate, which explains why so many of us desire a significant other who makes us feel safe and loved.
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