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How To Find Out Your Partner’s Attachment Style
Does it feel like you and your partner are never on the same page? Perhaps you believe your partner is aloof, needy, jealous or independent and perhaps their traits are the complete opposite of yours. The reason may be that you and your partner have different attachment styles. However, by understanding your partner’s attachment style, you can find better ways to manage your relationship.
So, what is your partner’s attachment style?
According to attachment theory by Bartholomew and Horowitz, there are four main attachment styles. These are; secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant and fearful-avoidant. According to research;
- 56% of the population are secure
- 20% of people have an anxious attachment style
- 23% are avoidant
- 1% are fearful-avoidant.
Are Attachment Styles Unhealthy?
It is important to note that you cannot class different attachment styles as healthy or unhealthy. These styles all exist for a reason, and they are there to help people navigate relationships. So, before determining your partner’s attachment style, remember to let go of any judgement.
An attachment style is not something that needs fixing. However, by recognising your partner’s attachment style, you can begin to understand your partner on a deeper level to make sure your relationship is as smooth sailing as possible.
Key Attachment Style Traits
56% of people will display a secure attachment style. These people typically have a high level of emotional intelligence and will have a constructive way of displaying their emotions. Some key traits for people with a secure attachment style are;
- Sets healthy and reasonable boundaries
- Feels equally comfortable alone and with a partner
- Has a positive view on relationships
- Displays resilience, with an ability to grieve, learn and move on
- Happy to discuss issues to solve problems
20% of people have this as their primary attachment style. With this, these individuals will usually feel more nervous about relationships and maybe less secure in their relationships. Some common traits with this attachment style include;
- May have automatic negative thinking – immediately leaping to the worst-case interpretation
- Struggles with being alone, and will often need validation from a partner to feel secure
- May struggle with relationship stressors such as jealousy, oversensitivity, neediness and mood swings.
This attachment style will go hand in hand with those you may describe as having built up a wall. The 23% that have this style will typically be very self-directed and self-sufficient. Consequently, they may struggle to let anyone in. Other traits include;
- Preferring not to depend on others or have dependents
- Feels more comfortable having acquaintances than close relationships
- May come across as passive-aggressive during confrontations
- Usually likes to be physically and emotionally distant and may push people away when they get too close.
Typically, just 1% of people associate with this attachment style. With fearful-avoidant (also known as anxious-avoidant) these individuals may have very few genuinely close relationships and will feel uncomfortable getting close to others. Key traits may show as;
- Struggles with an inner conflict around intimacy
- Does not rely on others and will have no confidence in other people
- May fear intimate situations and be suspicious of other people’s intentions.
How To Determine Your Partner’s Attachment Style
While we can never really know how a partner is feeling deep-down, there as some key indicators that can help you to determine your partner’s attachment style;
Look At Your Conversations
When your partner talks, are they;
- Easy company and feels free and comfortable talking about a range of subjects, including themselves and their feelings.
- Uncomfortable talking about feelings and focuses on what they do rather than what they feel or who they are.
- Comes across as really confident and engaging and very eager to please and make the conversation as enjoyable as possible.
How Do They Talk About Themselves?
When your partner self-discloses, what happens?
- They find managing tension well and will be upbeat and able to self-disclose personal information.
- Your partner is unlikely to talk about their inner self and would feel uncomfortable self-disclosing.
- They are likely to disclose too much, too soon. It may come across as over-eager as they want to quickly find intimacy.
Their Dating History
What does your partner’s dating history look like?
- Your partner has had a few serious relationships but has also had periods of time alone.
- They may not have had any serious relationships before, more likely to have dated a lot, but not settled with anyone for any length of time.
- Your partner has had a succession of partners, both long and short-term relationships with very little time alone.
If your partner is mainly 1s—This is likely to indicate that your partner has a secure attachment style.
Mainly 2s—This shows an avoidant attachment style, where they are typically self-sufficient and prefer not to get too close.
For mainly 3s—Your partner is displaying an anxious attachment style, where they may struggle with security in the relationship.
Help! We Have Different Attachment Styles!
It is common for partners to have different attachment styles, and if you and your partner’s styles are different, this doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. However, by understanding each other’s attachment type and taking steps to be aware of some of the indicators of the attachment style, it becomes easier to navigate relationship difficulties.
To find out more about how you can better manage your own attachment style and the impact it has on your relationship, my blended therapy approach can really help. To find out more, book your free virtual consultation with me. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your slot today.