What is attachment? Attachment is defined as the lasting psychological connectedness between human beings. It can also be called emotional connection or emotional bond. Your attachment style is formed when you are an infant and can remain stable throughout adulthood. Research has shown that with therapy and being around others with secure attachment styles, you can learn healthier ways to be attached. Attached, a book written by Amir Levine, MD is great resource and provides additional information on how to address and change insecure attachment styles.
There are two main types of attachment styles: secure and insecure. Insecure attachment presents in to ways, anxious and avoidant. Someone with anxious attachment present as being demanding, needy and controlling. They have a fear that those they need the most, such as a spouse, will let them down and not be there for them. The response to these fears results in them pushing away those closest to them. Anxious attachment is seen more commonly in females, where avoidant attachment is more common in males. Avoidant attachment has a similar fear but instead of being overly needy, they present as not carrying or wanting to rely on the other person. They prefer to be independent and self-reliant, fearing a pattern who may want to get too close to them.
Multiple research studies have suggested that any mixture of insecure attachment styles in marriages results in a higher likelihood of divorce, increased conflict, pooper communication and overall decrease in satisfaction. A study published in 2020 shows that some of these conclusions may be valid but that anxious-anxious attachment styled couples actually seem to get their emotional needs met even though they may have an increased rate of arguing or perceived conflict.
Now that I know what secure and insecure attachment is, what can my partner and I do to help our marriage? I’m glad you asked! Here is a brief list of things that you can do to assist your marriage:
Find out your attachment style. There are many books, articles and quizzes that can give you further information and assist you in identifying your attachment style. This is a good first step, as you will be able to learn skills for your attachment style.
Look to your past. After you learn more about attachment styles, explore your past relationships and your primary caretakers growing up. What attachment styles did they model for you? Looking at your childhood relationships as an adult can produce greater insight and understanding.
Increase your self-esteem. When trying to address insecure attachment, working on your self-esteem will be the best place to start. Just by you finding this article and beginning to explore ways to improve your relationship, you are improving. You have many strengths that have
gotten you through life up to this point. The goal is to build on those strengths while also learning new skills.
Go to therapy. If you and your partner find that you are struggling in your marriage, please reach out to Elevate Mental Health so that we can support you in your healthy journey. We now provide video sessions to anyone the State of California.