attachment styles a guide to understanding yourself and your relationships

Are you familiar with John Bowlby's groundbreaking work on attachment theory? Dating back to the 1950s, his research identified four adult attachment styles: anxious-preoccupied, avoidant-dismissive, disorganized/fearful-avoidant, and secure. These attachment styles are not just theoretical concepts; they play a significant role in how we interact with others and form relationships throughout our lives. While attachment styles develop early on, they are not set in stone, and with intentional effort, individuals can work towards developing a more secure attachment style. In this article, we'll dive into the different attachment styles, what they mean, and how you can recognize and address any attachment issues you may have.

How Attachment Styles Impact Relationships

Humans are social creatures, wired to seek out connection and affection from others. This inherent need for belonging is a fundamental driver of our behavior, according to social psychologist Roy Baumeister. Developing strong relationships not only provides us with comfort and support, but also has both survival and reproductive benefits, from an evolutionary perspective.

Despite our innate desire for intimacy, relationships are not always smooth sailing. This is where attachment styles come into play. These styles, which develop early in life and often persist into adulthood, can heavily impact our relationships and how we perceive love and intimacy. In this article, we will explore the various attachment styles and their effects on our relationships.

Attachment Theory And How Does It Work

Attachment theory has long been a subject of research and is crucial to understanding the dynamics of human relationships. At its core, attachment theory explores how early relationships between infants and their caregivers can have an impact on their future relationships. Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby believed that the quality of our early relationships shapes our relationships in adulthood, including social, intimate, and even work relationships.

So what are attachment styles and how are they categorized? There are four adult attachment styles that have been identified through research:

  1. Anxious, also known as Preoccupied
  2. Avoidant, also known as Dismissive
  3. Disorganized, also known as Fearful-Avoidant
  4. Secure

Each attachment style has unique characteristics and can affect how individuals approach and engage in relationships.

The Four Attachment Styles

Attachment styles can have a profound effect on adult relationships. It's important to understand the four different attachment styles to recognize how they can impact your relationships.

1. Anxious/Preoccupied

Individuals with an anxious attachment style often view their partner as their better half. They may experience high levels of anxiety at the thought of being alone and seek approval, support, and responsiveness from their partner. People with this attachment style often have a negative self-image but view others positively. They value their relationships but can become anxious and worried that their partner isn't as invested as they are. They also have a strong fear of abandonment.

2. Avoidant/Dismissive

The avoidant/dismissive type often views themselves as independent and self-sufficient, with no need for emotional closeness. They have high self-esteem and a positive self-image, and often avoid emotional intimacy. They may hide or suppress their feelings in emotionally-charged situations, and don't want to depend on others or have others depend on them.

3. Disorganized/Fearful-Avoidant

The disorganized/fearful-avoidant type has difficulty trusting and depending on others and can display unstable and ambiguous behavior in social bonds. They want intimacy and closeness but fear getting hurt, leading to avoidance of strong emotional attachment. They have trouble regulating their emotions and view the relationship and their partner as both a source of desire and fear.

4. Secure Attachment

Secure attachment is the healthiest attachment style, where individuals are comfortable expressing emotions and relying on their partners, who in turn can rely on them. They don't fear being alone and don't depend on their partner's approval or responsiveness. Relationships are based on honesty, tolerance, and emotional closeness. People with a secure attachment style have a positive view of themselves and others and thrive in their relationships.

What's Your Attachment Style?

Now that you have become familiar with the four adult attachment styles, you may have an idea of which one you identify with the most.

It is perfectly normal to recognize features of different styles in your past intimate relationships, as attachment styles can shift with significant life events or with different partners.

For instance, an insecurely attached individual may form a secure bond when they have a partner with a secure attachment style. Conversely, a person with a secure attachment style may develop unhealthy relationship behavior after experiencing trauma or loss of a loved one. So, there is no need to fit into any specific category.

When to Seek Help?

It's possible that many of us do not fully belong to the securely attached group, and even if we believe we have stable relationships, there may be recurring patterns in our behavior that cause us stress or unhappiness.

Unfortunately, some individuals may recognize themselves in one of the three insecure "profiles" - the less healthy ones. In such a case, it's preferable and highly recommended to take active steps to address the issue and seek individual psychological help if necessary.

The good news is that there are many ways to heal and recover from attachment disturbances, and struggling with strongly expressed insecure and unstable attachment styles can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.


Attachment styles play a significant role in how we interact with others and form relationships throughout our lives. Understanding your attachment style and recognizing any attachment issues you may have can help you develop stronger and healthier relationships. Regardless of your attachment style, the iFindCheaters service can help you navigate trust issues and regain a sense of security in your relationship. Whether you're concerned about potential infidelity or simply want to be informed, our discreet online service can provide a comprehensive report of your partner's activity on dating and alternative lifestyle platforms. With our constantly growing list of sites, you can be sure that you have all the information you need to make informed decisions about your relationship. So why wait? Take the first step towards building a stronger, healthier relationship today.

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