What You Need to Know About Attachment Styles

Today, we're lucky enough that it's finally becoming more acceptable to discuss things that matter when it comes to relationships.

Our love languages (basically the ways in which you like to give and receive love), for example, are something a lot of us have taken the time to figure out. Something that's begun to gain attention in recent years, and that honestly might matter even more than understanding your love language, is understanding your attachment style and that of others around you.

Haven't heard of attachment styles yet? Don't worry, we've got your crash course covered here.

What Are Attachment Styles?

Attachment styles aren't something that someone simply came up with one day out of thin air—they're actually rooted in science. You can read the details in the book Attached by Amir Levin and Rachel Heller, but basically attachment theory relates to how we act in relationships. There are three key "attachment styles," these being:

1. Anxious

If you have an anxious attachment style, you're more likely to be constantly worried about your partner's perception of you, regularly convince yourself that they might break up with you and generally crave closeness to them. A person with this attachment style may come off as "clingy" and generally so in love with the idea of the relationship that they forget to check in on their own happiness with their partner. If you're an anxious dater, you may be known to blow up your partner's phone (especially if they haven't answered you in a while) or cancel plans with friends in order to hang out with your partner.

A young woman looks stressed while on a date

(via Shutterstock)


2. Avoidant

The opposite of anxious—and sadly the style that often ends up dating anxious individuals—is avoidant. This person craves their independence and can often mistake their partner's closeness for clinginess, which then makes them retreat and more likely to end the relationship. Avoidants also often fall in love with the idea of a perfect partner (sometimes an ex) and will end something when their partner doesn't live up to those impossible standards.

Shutterstock: Tell me the truth. Depressed brunette angry woman sitting on the sofa and gesticulating while talking to her husband. Annoyed man ignored his wife and pondering while looking away

(via Shutterstock)


3. Secure

Don't worry, not all attachment styles are bad! Secure individuals actually make up the majority of the population, it's just that these are the ones that cause the least relationship drama so we don't talk about them as often. Secure people don't crave the validation that anxious people do, nor the drastic independence of avoidants. Instead, they are able to communicate their feelings and needs openly with their partner and don't feel worried about their relationship unless there is an actual reason to be.

Unsplash: Happy couple looking at each other over a canyon

(via Unsplash)

Figuring out what your attachment style requires some looking at your own behavior and feelings when you're in a relationship. Figure out which traits you feel like you show most, and if you're dating someone it's definitely good to figure out what they might be as well.


How Does This Help Anything?

The good news is that your attachment style can change over time, so even if you're anxious or avoidant now you can still become secure. Even if you're far from secure (and/or so is your partner), understanding your own tendencies and that of others can help us become better people—and have better relationships—in the end. And even if you aren't dating and don't plan to any time soon, you may be able to start applying this theory to your friends' relationships so you can give them even better advice next time they rant to you about their boyfriend at brunch. So while it's a small step, it's the same as understanding your personality type and love languages. It's also fun to apply this information to everything from celeb breakups to that dramatic couple you sit next to in class, so it's certainly worth learning about. 


So, now you know a little bit more about the attachment styles and have hopefully started trying to figure out your own. Unfortunately, that doesn't stop people from trying to give you unnecessary relationship advice—but we're here to help. Click HERE to read about some relationship advice you shouldn'take.