Attachment Styles & Adult Relationships


Understanding Attachment Styles and Enhancing Relationships through Couple Therapy


Attachment styles and their influence on relationships are a widespread topic of interest, both in academic research and individuals’ personal quests to understand their patterns of thoughts and behaviours. This interest is understandable, given that different attachment styles can significantly impact interpersonal interactions in unique ways. In this article, we delve into the nuances of attachment theory, emphasing the importance of understanding and resolving attachment issues in order to foster healthier relationships.

Attachment types develop early in life and often persist into adulthood. While stability is a common characteristic, it’s crucial to recognise that attachment styles can evolve into more secure forms through self-awareness. The first step involves understanding how insecure attachment develops and influences thoughts and actions within important relationships, paving the way for positive change.

Negative Relationship Patterns and Insecure Attachment

Ever wondered why you find yourself in repetitive, negative relationship situations, exhibiting behaviours like jealousy or clinginess? Exploring attachment styles becomes pivotal in addressing such patterns. Unravelling the intricacies of attachment theory can provide insights into how insecurities manifest and how they affect romantic relationships.

Attachment Theory According to John Bowlby

According to Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst John Bowlby, our early bonds with primary caregivers shape future social, intimate and even work relationships. John Bowlby Attachment Theory Bowlby’s attachment theory has been evolving since the 1950s, and identifies four attachment styles:

  1. Anxious (also known as preoccupied)
  2. Avoidant (also known as dismissive)
  3. Disorganised (also known as fearful/avoidant)
  4. Secure

Understanding these styles is fundamental to comprehending relationship  dynamics.

Understanding Attachment Development in Childhood

Attachment types form in childhood based on how primary caregivers meet a child’s needs. Secure attachment results from caregivers providing a warm, attuned environment. Insecure attachment stems from caregivers towards their child’s physical and emotional needs is likely to lead to insecure attachment. This might not be intentional, but the child still perceives them as not meeting their needs.

Attachment Styles in Adults

Each attachment style manifests uniquely in adults, influencing their perceptions and behaviours in relationships. The anxious/preoccupied style is marked by a fear of abandonment. The avoidant/dismissive style is characterizsd by emotional independence, and the disorganised/fearful-avoidant style, exhibiting ambiguous behaviours, understanding these styles aids in self-awareness and personal growth.

Secure Attachment: The Ideal Style: In contrast to insecure styles, the secure attachment style promotes emotional openness, dependence on partners and mutual reliance. Relationships based on secure attachment thrive on honesty, tolerance and emotional closeness, therefore creating a positive dynamic between partners.

Self-Awareness and Transformation:

While individuals may not fit precisely into one attachment category, self-awareness is key to identifying unhealthy behaviours and improving intimate relationships. Recognising attachment styles facilitates personal growth, allowing individuals to work on specific areas for positive relationship outcomes.

Seeking Couple Therapy for Attachment Concerns

Recognising patterns of insecure behaviours is crucial and seeking couple therapy can be highly beneficial. A professional relationship therapist can help you develop a greater self-awareness which can lead to a more secure attachment style and healthier and more fulfilling relationships.

Understanding attachment styles is a valuable tool in navigating the complexities of relationships. Whether you identify with a specific attachment style or notice patterns of insecurity, taking proactive steps such as couple therapy, self-awareness, and personal development can pave the way for a more secure and fulfilling attachment style, enhancing the quality of your relationships.

If your attachment style is causing a problem in your relationship and you would like some professional help with couple therapy. Contact us to book an appointment. Book Now