How People With A Secure Attachment Style Love Differently Than Everyone Else

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What Are Attachment Styles? How Parenting Affects Our Personality Traits In Love & Relationships
Love

There's been much discussion lately about the psychology of attachment theory, with many dating and relationship advice columns on the topic aimed at helping people identify their own attachment styles in order to guide them toward being the best partner they can be for the person they love.

In order to make the best use of this information possible, it's important to understand how the parenting style we're raised with leads to the development of deeply rooted personality traits, for both the good and the bad.

By definition, attachment theory is "focused on the relationships and bonds between people, particularly [those in] long-term relationships, including those between a parent and child and between romantic partners."

Such attachments are further defined as "lasting psychological connectedness between human beings."

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Your attachment style directly impacts the way you love and behave in relationships, and whether you have an insecure or secure attachment style depends on the way you and your parents bonded during your childhood.

According to John Bowlby, Ph.D., the British psychologist who first identified this phenomenon, secure attachment styles are all about responsiveness, dependability and nurturing, which have the combined affect of making each partner feel safe with one another.

People in secure relationships look for ways to reach out to reconnect when they feel that they and their partners are drifting apart — not in a manipulative way, but in sincere attempt to rekindle their ebbing connection.

Contrastingly, people with one of the three insecure attachment styles — anxious, avoidant, or disorganized — react to moments of conflict or disconnect with their partners by pushing too hard, pulling away or becoming frozen by confusion.

Our attachment style is shaped at first through the quality and quantity of interactions with our parents from infancy through childhood. As kids, it continues developing based on the nature of our friendships and experiences with peers similar to us in age. Eventually, it manifests in the way we approach romantic relationships with partners as adults.

In essence, if you felt heard, valued and cared for on a consistent basis by your parents, you'll feel more secure in relationships later in life, and as a result, you'll generally be prone to having close friendships and positive romantic relationships.

Here's a look at how people with a secure attachment style experience love and relationships differently than everyone else, as children, as friends, and with romantic partners.

1. Secure parent-child relationships

A secure parent-child relationship will be emotionally close, connected and emotionally nourishing, even into adulthood.

In childhood, this secure attachment allows the child to explore the world in their own way. For example, a child who feels secure will run ahead of his parents and then run back to be with his parents again, whereas a child with an insecure attachment may cling to a parent's leg.

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In a secure attachment, even when the parent and child argue, they get through the argument and reconnect within a short period of time. The parent doesn't shame the child for doing something wrong; they simply correct the bad behavior, while letting the child know they are loved.

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2. Secure friendships

Secure attachments within friendships are consistent. Your friends show up and are there for you, and you do the same for them.

They accept you for who you are, faults and all, and they're willing to work through disagreements and reach out to initiate plans or contact.

3. Secure romantic relationships

In healthy relationships, couples with secure attachment styles reach for one another.

Whether it's when one partner gets home from work, after an argument, or "just because", they seek each other out purely for the sake of remaining connected.

Couples with secure attachment styles can talk through disagreements without either one feeling insecure about their bond. They have confidence that they'll be able to work things out, because both people know the relationship is worth it.

What's more, secure couples value and respect one another. They go out of their way to treat each other with kindness, appreciation, and love. Each partner feels that their needs are important to the other, and they consistently feel heard and understood.

The good news is that even if you grew up with an insecure relationship attachment style, you can still learn how to reconnect and have emotionally secure attachments to your family, friends and partner.

If you feel insecure, devalued or emotionally drained and unhappy, it's never too late to learn the skills you need in order to have nourishing, healthy relationships if you're open to trying.

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Susan Saint-Welch, LMFT, is a marriage and family psychotherapist who has been practicing in-person and online in the South Bay of the Los Angeles area for over 20 years. She is passionate about teaching life skills as well as concepts for healthier relationships, dating, and self-esteem. For more articles, follow her on her website.

This article was originally published at Life and Relationships 101. Reprinted with permission from the author.