Attachment Styles in Romantic Relationships

Why is Attachment in Relationships Important?

Attachment is a very important process that starts from the moment we are born and continues throughout our lives, affecting the decisions we make in our lives from childhood to adulthood. This process first begins with the baby’s sense of security with the caregiver or mother after birth. This initial sense of security is important because how the infant meets his/her need for security will later directly affect the way these infant bonds with other people in childhood and adulthood. Examining attachment styles gives us many clues, especially for understanding how a person behaves in a romantic relationship. Let’s first take a closer look at John Bowlby’s attachment theory to find an answer to the question of why attachment is important in relationships.

Attachment Theory looks at how a baby’s nurturing (loved, supported, neglected, abused, etc.) by a caregiver affects a person’s commitment, both in infancy and adulthood, in romantic relationships and friendships. Attachment theory examines how the caregiver-child bond develops and its impact on a person’s development. According to this theory, if the baby cannot achieve his/her first attachment in a healthy way, he/she will encounter various attachment problems in his/her future relationships.

Secure Attachment

People with a secure attachment style are successful in forming long-term and healthy relationships. Because people with this type have established a secure relationship with their parents in their childhood. Parents of people with a secure attachment type are emotionally available to establish successful relationships and are aware of their feelings and behaviors. People with a secure attachment style may exhibit the following behaviors:


– They can regulate their emotions.

– They have no problem trusting others.

– They have effective communication skills.

– They have no trouble seeking emotional support.

– They have no problem being alone.

– They feel safe and comfortable in close relationships.

– They do not have problems reflecting themselves to the other person in their relationship with their partner.

– They have conflict management skills.

– They are self-confident.

– They are emotionally available.

Avoidant Attachment

People with the avoidant attachment style have difficulty gaining physical or emotional intimacy and fail in long-term relationships. Persons with this type may have seen emotionally distant and rigid behavior from their parents. People with the avoidant attachment style allow their partners to interact with them while avoiding emotional intimacy themselves. People with an avoidant attachment style may exhibit the following behaviors:


– They may persistently avoid emotional or physical intimacy.

– They feel a strong sense of independence.

– They may feel uncomfortable while expressing their feelings.

– They may tend to belittle others.

They may have a hard time trusting people.

– They may feel in danger when they establish intimacy with their partner.

– They may hold a strong belief that they do not need others in their lives.

Anxious Attachment

People with an anxious attachment style have an insecure attachment type. In this type of attachment, people tend to depend on their partner for fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, validation, and emotional regulation. This attachment style may arise from inconsistent parental behavior that cannot adapt to the child’s needs. People with an anxious attachment style have difficulty understanding their parents during childhood, and these children are confused about what to expect from their parents. People with an anxious attachment style may exhibit the following behaviors:


– They may not be able to set boundaries with their partner.

– They can be sensitive to criticism.

– They may feel the need to constantly seek approval from their partner.

– They tend to be jealous.

– They may have problems being alone.

– They may experience self-confidence problems.

– They may not feel worthy of love.

– They may experience intense feelings of rejection and abandonment.

– They may have difficulty trusting their partner.


Fearful Avoidant Attachment

People with the fearful-avoidant attachment style often display inconsistent behavior in their relationships and have problems trusting others. People with this type are more likely to have experienced serious traumas and abuses during their childhood. Parents of people with the fearful-avoidant attachment style may have behaviors that instill fear in their children. fearful-avoidant attachment style can be seen with some mental problems. These mental problems: are mood disorders, personality disorders, and substance use disorders. People with a Fearful Avoidant attachment style may exhibit the following behaviors:


– They have a strong fear of rejection.

– They cannot regulate their emotions.

– They exhibit contradictory behaviors.

– They experience high levels of anxiety in their relationships.

– They have serious trouble trusting others.

How Can I Change My Attachment Style?

Beginning from the moment of birth to our early childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, and even adulthood, without being aware of these types of attachment, we may have reflected the behavior of our parents towards us in our relationships and left behind many negative relationship experiences. Being aware of our attachment type and being able to approach the way we behave in our relationships with awareness is the most important step for change. Because conscious development begins with self-awareness. Transforming one’s relationship with oneself is one of the most important steps in changing the type of attachment. Because it is a chance to know ourselves, see our shortcomings, and transform these shortcomings. The next step may be to observe healthy relationships and prefer to establish relationships with people with a secure attachment type. Another step is to become emotionally empowered by using our self-awareness. This form of empowerment comes from knowing ourselves, trusting ourselves, and trusting the people around us. Another alternative may be to start the psychotherapy process. The psychotherapy process can be an important part of a person’s emotional transformation.

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