What are the 4 attachment styles and how do they influence your relationships?


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As human beings, everyone might have experienced an attachment to another, it can be towards our parents, siblings, or our partner. Recently, couples are defined by the closeness that they have toward each other and this closeness is also defined by attachments.

Psychology defines attachment as the emotions and feeling that connect us to our parents as a child, and this emotional fondness can influence our relationship with our partner in the future. You have to keep in mind that we are using the word “influence” which shows that this connectedness does not define the whole relationship and does not tell everything about you, it is just a factor that affects the relationship between couples.

In this article we are going to explain how attachment is formed, then introduce the four different styles of it, and how can they influence romantic relationships.

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How attachment is created?

Just like every other behavior of us that originated in our childhood, attachment is also shaped during the same period. As we mentioned earlier, the relationship between the father, mother, and child is basically the cause of the type of fondness they will have in the future. As a child, human beings are innocent creatures that know nobody except their parents, therefore, every single movement and behavior affects and determines the kind of connectedness you might have towards another.

I need to mention that although the connection between the child and parents is known as the source of attachment, it is not the only reason for that. During puberty and the teenage years, people are so vulnerable and friends’ role at this important level should not be ignored. Below we are going to distinguish the four different styles of attachment and how they might influence our romantic relationships.

Four different styles of attachment

1. Secure Attachment

The first type that we are going to introduce is Secure attachment. As the name represents, people with this type of attachment had a secure relationship with their parents as a child and they saw them as a shelter under which they could be saved. There was no fear in their relationships and there was no unnecessary dependence on their parents.

Therefore, these types of people have the same relationship with their partners which means that they will not limit themselves and they will not make them feel insecure. Let me explain this with an example, assume that a man is in a relationship with a girl, and he is there whenever the girl needs him. If the girl is in stress or in pain, the boy will not hesitate to make her feel safe and comfortable, there is no room for their relationship for betraying, cheating, and disloyalty because the relationship is based on mutual trust, love, and honesty. If one of the couples is even slightly bothered by the way that the other couple is treating her, then the relationship is not going to work out, therefore, the attachment type of each partner is so important.

2. Anxious Preoccupied Attachment

The next type is completely different from the previous one. in this type each person is obsessed with their partner and even the smallest ignorance might cause them pain and suffering. They always feel that they lack the emotion and they need to receive it from another person, and sometimes they do not feel complete enough if their partner is not with them. It is related to the confidence I suppose since people who trust themselves and are confident will never feel incomplete even if their partner is not with them.

Imagine that you have a partner, girlfriend/boyfriend, or spouse who is obsessed with you. They will not do anything unless you be there for them, they will not eat anything without you and in general, they need you to define themselves. In this kind of relationship, if you are from a different type, you will feel annoyed by your partner, you will see that by choosing this relationship you have crossed your freedom out which is bad news for people who have a social battery with low capacity.

But we need to know that some people enjoy this type of relationship and they want their partner to be obsessed with them because they feel that this way of attachment will keep the partner loyal to them.

3. Dismissive-Avoidant Attachment

People with this type of attachment are the opposite of the previous type. While people with the Anxious Preoccupied type are described by their obsession with their partner, people with the Dismissive-Avoidant type are defined as being independent of their partner.

Some people refer to them as being “emotionally unavailable” which means that they seek happiness or life outside of their relationship, and they might not be there if their partner needs them. It does not mean that they cannot love anyone, rather it simply means that they can love people but they have the ability to be detached easier than the previous group.

They are overly confident in themselves which made them put all their focus and energy on themselves and not others, and they want to keep their personal space and isolate themselves from everyone. Sometimes they are defined as introverts and it is correct somehow since they see the peace in the inward world and not outside.

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4. Fearful-Avoidant Attachment

This type is something in the middle of Anxious Preoccupied and Dismissive-Avoidant which means that they are not obsessed with their partner and they are not detached from them as well, in other words, they are undecided.

They try to be cautious because they think that getting too close to others might be harmful and they are not capable of trusting them, and that might have roots in their childhood or teenage years when they have been cheated on or betrayed. They have the ability to love someone, but it will not be wholeheartedly because they cannot trust them.

Therefore, they are confused and they have no idea how should they keep their relationship and what it takes for them to trust someone. Can we claim that these types of people are incapable of love? Maybe not, but what is for sure is that they need their trust to be gained.


By reading and getting familiar with the four types of attachment, you might identify with one of them and you might get bothered by the other one. Anyhow, just knowing the types is not enough for you to claim what type you are rather you need a professional to decide that for you.

There are so many online tests on the internet that might be helpful too, but it does not mean that someone who does not fit your attachment type is not good for you because in a relationship sometimes you need to compromise to understand the other person’s needs.

Makayla is a medical expert and editor @ WholeYum.


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