How Your Attachment Style Impacts Your Relationship

how attachment syle affects relationshipOur style of attachment affects everything from our partner selection to how well our relationships progress and to, sadly, how they end. That is why recognizing our attachment pattern can help us understand our strengths and vulnerabilities in a relationship. An attachment pattern is established in early childhood attachments and continues to function as a working model for relationships in adulthood. This model of attachment influences how each of us reacts to our needs and how we go about getting them met. When there is a secure attachment pattern, a person is confident and self-possessed and is able to easily interact with others, meeting both their own and another’s needs.  However, when there is an anxious or avoidant attachment pattern and a person picks a partner who fits with that maladaptive pattern, they will most likely be choosing someone who isn’t the ideal choice to make them happy.

For example, the person with a working model of anxious/preoccupied attachment feels that in order to get close to someone and have your needs met, you need to be with your partner all the time and get reassurance. To support this perception of reality, they choose someone who is isolated and hard to connect with. The person with a working model of dismissive/avoidant attachment has the tendency to be distant, because their model is that the way to get your needs met is to act like you don’t have any. He or she then chooses someone who is more possessive or overly demanding of attention. In a sense, we set ourselves up by finding partners that confirm our models. If we grew up with a  an insecure attachment pattern, we may project or seek to duplicate similar patterns of relating as adults, even when these patterns hurt us and are not in our own self interest.

In their research, Dr. Phillip Shaver and Dr. Cindy Hazan found that about 60 percent of people have a secure attachment, while 20 percent have an avoidant attachment, and 20 percent have an anxious attachment. So what does this mean? There are questions you can ask yourself to help you determine your style of attachment and how it is affecting your relationships. On August 13, I will be hosting a CE Webinar with Dr. Phillip Shaver on “Secure and Insecure Love: An Attachment Perspective.”You can start to identify your own attachment style by getting to know the four patterns of attachment in adults and learning how they commonly affect couples in their relating.

Secure Attachment – Securely attached adults tend to be more satisfied in their relationships. Children with a secure attachment see their parent as a secure base from which they can venture out and independently to explore the world. A secure adult has a similar relationship with their romantic partner, feeling secure and connected, while allowing themselves and their partner to move freely.

Secure adults offer support when their partner feels distressed. They also go to their partner for comfort when they themselves feel troubled. Their relationship tends to be honest, open and equal, with both people feeling independent, yet loving toward each other. Securely attached couples don’t tend to engage in what my father, psychologist Robert Firestone, describes as a “Fantasy Bond,” an illusion of connection that provides a false sense of safety. In a fantasy bond, a couple foregoes real acts of love for a more routine, emotionally cut-off form of relating.

Anxious Preoccupied Attachment – Unlike securely attached couples, people with an anxious attachment tend to be desperate to form a fantasy bond. Instead of feeling real love or trust toward their partner, they often feel emotional hunger. They’re frequently looking to their partner to rescue or complete them. Although they’re seeking a sense of safety and security by clinging to their partner, they take actions that push their partner away.

Even though anxiously attached individuals act desperate or insecure, more often than not, their behavior exacerbates their own fears. When they feel unsure of their partner’s feelings and unsafe in their relationship, they often become clingy, demanding or possessive toward their partner. They may also interpret independent actions by their partner as affirmation of their fears. For example, if their partner starts socializing more with friends, they may think, “See? He doesn’t really love me. This means he is going to leave me. I was right not to trust him.”

Dismissive Avoidant Attachment – People with a dismissive avoidant attachment have the tendency to emotionally distance themselves from their partner. They may seek isolation and feel “pseudo-independent,” taking on the role of parenting themselves. They often come off as focused on themselves and may be overly attending to their creature comforts. Pseudo-independence is an illusion, as every human being needs connection. Nevertheless, people with a dismissive avoidant attachment tend to lead more inward lives, both denying the importance of loved ones and detaching easily from them. They are often psychologically defended and have the ability to shut down emotionally. Even in heated or emotional situations, they are able to turn off their feelings and not react. For example, if their partner is distressed and threatens to leave them, they would respond by saying, “I don’t care.”

Fearful Avoidant Attachment – A person with a fearful avoidant attachment lives in an ambivalent state of being afraid of being both too close to or too distant from others.  They attempt to keep their feelings at bay but are unable to; they can’t just avoid their anxiety or run away from their feelings. Instead, they are overwhelmed by their reactions and often experience emotional storms. They tend to be mixed up or unpredictable in their moods. They see their relationships from the working model that you need to go towards others to get your needs met, but if you get close to others, they will hurt you. In other words, the person they want to go to for safety is the same person they are frightened to be close to. As a result, they have no organized strategy for getting their needs met by others.

As adults, these individuals tend to find themselves in rocky or dramatic relationships, with many highs and lows. They often have fears of being abandoned but also struggle with being intimate. They may cling to their partner when they feel rejected, then feel trapped when they are close. Oftentimes, the timing seems to be off between them and their partner. A person with fearful avoidant attachment may even wind up in an abusive relationship.

The good news is, it’s never too late to develop a secure attachment. The attachment style you developed as a child based on your relationship with a parent or early caretaker doesn’t have to define your ways of relating to those you love in your adult life. If you come to know your attachment style, you can uncover ways you are defending yourself from getting close and being emotionally connected and work toward forming an “earned secure attachment.”

Developing Secure Attachment: Two-Part Online Workshop
Length: Two-Part Workshop (90 minutes each, 3 hours total)
Price: $49
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    In this Webinar: This online workshop with Dr. Lisa Firestone will provide tools to help people heal insecure attachment, resolve trauma, integrate their…

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One essential way to do this is by making sense of your story. According to Dr. Dan Siegel, attachment research demonstrates that “the best predictor of a child’s security of attachment is not what happened to his parents as children, but rather how his parents made sense of those childhood experiences.” The key to “making sense” of your life experiences is to write a coherent narrative, which helps you understand how your childhood experiences are still affecting you in your life today. In an online course I’ll be leading with Dr. Dan Siegel, we will walk you through the process of creating a coherent narrative to help you to build healthier, more secure attachments and strengthen your own personal sense of emotional resilience.When you create a coherent narrative, you actually rewire your brain to cultivate more security within yourself and your relationships.

You can also challenge your defenses by choosing a partner with a secure attachment style, and work on developing yourself in that relationship. Therapy can also be helpful for changing maladaptive attachment patterns. By becoming aware of your attachment style, both you and your partner can challenge the insecurities and fears supported by your age-old working models and develop new styles of attachment for sustaining a satisfying, loving relationship.

To learn more about how to write a coherent narrative and develop an earned secure attachment, join Dr. Lisa Firestone and Dr. Daniel Siegel for the online course “Making Sense of Your Life: Understanding Your Past to Liberate Your Present and Empower Your Future.”

About the Author

Lisa Firestone, Ph.D. Dr. Lisa Firestone is the Director of Research and Education at The Glendon Association. An accomplished and much requested lecturer, Dr. Firestone speaks at national and international conferences in the areas of couple relations, parenting, and suicide and violence prevention. Dr. Firestone has published numerous professional articles, and most recently was the co-author of Sex and Love in Intimate Relationships (APA Books, 2006), Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice (New Harbinger, 2002), Creating a Life of Meaning and Compassion: The Wisdom of Psychotherapy (APA Books, 2003) and The Self Under Siege (Routledge, 2012). Follow Dr. Firestone on Twitter or Google.

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Elaine Dolan

Hi Lisa, this is a great tack to take…how to make relational choices with what you’ve got in present day. I like your direction with this!

Elaine Dolan

I see the advantage of defining attachment styles, and MORE efficacy yet in defining ways to
step out of an old mold.
In other words, it matters most to focus on neuroplasticity and modification of ineffective behaviors.

Is choosing secure attachment-style partners and friends the only way to get there…to observe and make a change? What if those secure attachment partners are naturally NOT attracted to you? Just brainstorming here…


It is good to know your attachment style but how can you change it? I feel secure in my relationships with my children and friends and mostly secure in myself at work. However, in any tests about romantic relationships I come up as Fearful Avoidant. Hence, I really want a relationship but get so scared I am almost sick when someone gets close. I date people in different countries or who work a lot who I know that I won’t be able to get too close.

Cynthia Williams

Dear Sophie,
Hello, Did you get a reply from a professional? Did it help? How long before you got a response?
It is Nov. 21, and I ask a question too.
Good Luck with finding a good resource so you can get the help you want.

Kashonda Bynum

Hi Sophie,

I do the same thing…dating physically or even emotionally unavailable men. Did you find any resolve?

Thanks for sharing.



I fall under the anxious preoccupied attachment category. When I read about this it literally explained me all over. I always seem to fall for people who are dismissive avoidant which frustrates me more because they don’t seem to care. I crave physical attention and affection. I’m always being ignored by the people I like. How can i know if someone is securely attached or not before dating them? It’s security that I need, and I’m sick of getting my heart broken.


Emily, for us Anxious Preoccupieds, we need Secure people to stay grounded and to build the trust and love. Know how to identify these people: They are secure in love and themselves, they are sufficiently demonstrative, tell you they love you, and give you confidence.

We don’t need to define ourselves by our partners, but in this case there are benefits to the right ones, and the ones we need to avoid.

I have been completely undone, having fallen in love with a dismissive woman. Never again.


Great article! And Michael – agree! Never again will I get involved with a dismissive person. Looking back I now see that was exactly what their style was. And it is a horrible match with someone with an anxious preoccupied person.


Emily, unfortunately, I think you may be seeing this from the incorrect perspective… it’s not that you need to filter your partners or friends and make sure they’re “securely attached”… it is that you should probably take a look at yourself, ask yourself why you seek validation externally, and seek security from within. Whenever you look outside yourself for the “right criteria”, you’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s not about other people… it’s about you. You said that “it’s security that I need”…. only you can provide this for yourself, no one else will be able to do it for you.

It’s about healing that original loss and emotional hunger. What you think you want and emanate is love… but it’s just emotional hunger.


Actually, I think you’ve both got a point. Emily’s working model has been the same since she was a young child. It is nigh impossible to change such things as self esteem (which are deeply embedded), although we can practice more self compassion and learn to show ourselves value. She might not be able to completely change the way she feels about things, but she can choose to make different choices about how she allows others to treat her. Making better choices in partner is actually a really big part of showing yourself more value, which naturally raises your level of security.

So while you’re right that Emily needs to feel more secure in herself, the answer to ‘how?’ is largely by changing her boundaries so she does not accept it when her needs are not met. This is a large part of demonstrating to herself her own importance. That does not mean getting annoyed or trying to change them etc, which would only result in failure and a lowering in self esteem, but to walk away when her needs are not being met. By doing so, she would essentially be ‘acting secure’, as dismissive avoidants will find it difficult to find a secure partner who would keep them. Generally only the preoccupied will tolerate a distant relationship.

On a separate note….I wonder whether it is misleading to see these ‘types’ as opposites. I believe it may be more correct to see them as two sides of the same coin, as I am both. I can see both avoidance and anxiety in myself in different relationships and my behaviour outside of relationship is to self-isolate and become ultra independent. My experience of suddenly ‘becoming’ anxious feels a little more like a wall coming down and becoming flooded with confusing emotions that run counter to my thoughts, beliefs and value systems, which makes me wonder whether avoidant behaviour is a defence mechanism. In me, anxious behaviour/feelings seem to be a last resort after all else has failed (I generally aim for self-containment and immediately attempt to rationalise emotions, but if rationalisation fails and all other attempts to self soothe fail I start to feel helpless and eventually very distressed). But generally, before any of this has happened, my response to ‘I don’t want to be with you’ has almost always been ‘fair enough’ (which here is suggested as the dismissive response). I would not be able to tell you if I say that out of genuinely not caring or just not wanting to show emotion (I never do show emotion unless I’m repeatedly prodded for a reaction). Sometimes it destroys me to lose someone’s interest, sometimes it doesn’t seem to affect me at all. Having read about fearful-avoidant…I’m not that. It just sounds a lot more extreme than I am.

What I’m saying is…I don’t think we humans have one ‘style’. I think both insecure styles have a part to play in defending ourselves.


Dear Lisa,
Thank you for a great article and some great resources.
Is there a recording of the Webinar which happened on the 13th Aug? I’ve found out I have an anxious preoccupied attachment pattern, even though my mother seems like she was very nurturing from what she tells me. I can’t relax in my relationship. I find problems. I feel like my need for love doesn’t get fulfilled, and express this through anger at my partner, which makes him not want to love me. I don’t know how to get out of this negative habit of thinking and insecurity. My bf does everything right, communicates openly, shares… Although I never feel truely listened to in the relationship, as it takes me a while to open up, and my partner is very chatty and has a short-conc span, so I just can’t be bothered to make myself listened (or don’t know how too)… Are there any other resources you know of on self-help?

I have to be very giving for my partner to mirror it, n show me great love. Why do I always have to initiate things? Are most men like this, do they love through example? Do I have to be the leader?

Thank you again,



This is a wonderful write up on attachment styles and I thank you for all of the wonderful information on this site. I have recognized myself after a few month of study and focus as having an anxious attachment style. I am 40, female and never married. I have been in a long term on-again-off-again (obviously) relationship with an extreme dismissive avoidant. We are very much in love with one another; it took years for him to actually say the words, but I have always known how he felt even if he attempted to hide it. We are great friends, lovers and enjoy being in one another’s lives. however, his avoidance triggers my anxiety and my anxiety triggers his avoidance and we continually fall into our *pattern*, causing me to focus directly upon myself, heal and make my attachment style healthy and rid myself of such codependence.

I’ve attempted online dating throughout the years, but I am a Black woman and, statistically (and through experience), we do very poorly and get very little interest in online dating. It has been difficult.

I understand my partner’s avoidance. I’ve read enough to understand the history, his distancing techniques and his need to trigger my anxiety to appease the avoidant in him. However, I am working on tackling love addiction in group sessions and — when I can afford — see a therapist to work on my anxious attachment style.

I won’t be severing my relationship with him, because I do love, respect, enjoy and truly adore him, but I will be applying my new principles in my relationship to him. However, I understand FULLY understand the likelihood he will both be triggered to respond with even greater distance/fear/pushing and an inability to look within and change himself that will have to lead any push he gives to remain permanent by my choosing/non-action.

My question, however, is if I am to give online dating again a try again and be on the look out for a secure partner, won’t it be difficult to actually FIND a secure partner who is 40+ since the dating landscape at that age range is FULL of love avoidants who never or would not settle down?


Kay, Wow, you really hit the nail on the head. I am 52 and in exactly your situation–have loved an avoidant for 3 1/2 years and he just pulls further and further away or leaves entirely, then eventually I contact him and he comes running back, but he stays only enough to get closeness. He then panics, I get an angry email, and he’s gone. I know I have an anxious style, but I believe he is much more avoidant than I am anxious or demanding. I only get anxious when he totally disappears. He actually suffers from personality disorder, has no friends really, female or male.


So. My husband who is more interested with appointments scheduled rather than content with my therapist. Thoughts?


Thanks so much for this article. I knew I had issues but I wouldn’t have been able to figure out what they were if I hadn’t read this. I think I am both anxious preoccupied and fearful avoidant. I have been in long term relationships that I have walked away from usually because of a feeling of discontent at the way a partner shows his love or his commitment. I’ve mostly gravitated towards dismissive avoidant partners and unfortunately I’m in a relationship with one now. It’s putting a lot of stress on me, and I’m trying hard to curb my obsessive tendencies because ultimately I want to be a better partner. I just hope that the two of us could work on our issues together.


Having read this I thought itt was very informative.
I ppreciate you taking thhe tie and effort to puut this content together.
I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and commenting.
But so what, it was still worthwhile!


I am have an anxious attachment style & I’m engaged to an avoidant. We get married next year. It’s been a roller coaster, but we’re in a good place right now & love each other very much. However, all this attachment business is really worrying me. Are we saying that this combination can’t work? Or if it does, it is because the anxious partner has come to terms with the fact that her/his needs will never be met? This is truly depressing. Is there research to prove it can work?


Hi Jane,
I’m not a professional but I dated an avoidant for 10 years and we even agreed to get married but it fell apart before then. I am an anxious also, our relationship had tons of highs and lows and near constant fighting. Read ‘Attached’, basically every professional will tell you the pairing CAN work but it’s a lot of work. If your partner is willing to work and change it will be much easier, otherwise the relationship works because the anxious adjusts their expectations and accepts the relationship will never be what they want it to be. Talk to you partner but please research and think this over. Being left by an avoidant often leaves the anxious devastated and I have heard some anxious actually waste their lives pining after the avoidant and even stalk them to the point of restraining orders being necessary.

Sara B.

As a college student, I am just now studying the various types of attachment, and I have discovered that I am insecure resistant (anxious) attachment style. This is eye opening for me. All my life, I have struggled with relationships, particularly with my parents. As a child (and now as an adult living away) I kind of miss them, but when we are reunited it doesn’t take long for me to feel disdainful/hateful towards them- I often make up an excuse to leave early from trips home simply because I cannot stand them. However, then I feel guilty because they are my parents and I know I should love them. My friendships are similar- while I try not to show it, I become extremely anxious without social interaction, and if my friends cancel plans or are not free to hang out I get angry and jealous. However I am also fearful of showing how I feel because I don’t want to drive them away, I internalize it.
As an adult struggling with this issue, what can I do to fix myself? My anxiety is becoming increasingly severe and I don’t know what to do…
Thank you in advance.


Don’t know which attachment style I have – tend to feel cynical of new partners, think they will not be enough or they will be damaging/hurtful – strong fear of dependence – but my self worth rides on them liking me. Tend to idealise past partners if I was rejected (only if I was rejected), but then when I really ask myself if I want to be with them again, my answer is always no. I think the only reason I obsess about them is because I feel ashamed and I want them to like me so I don’t have to feel ashamed. I don’t actually want to be with them because I fear being hurt and I don’t feel I can trust them – there was a reason I was rejected in the first place, so why won’t it happen again? I also think it would be weak to let them back in my life and if an ex that has rejected me seems to try it on with me again, my (internal) reaction is ‘how dare you? You have lost the right’ and my external reaction is to ignore the advance and walk away. But a little while later I get upset because really I want their love. I don’t tend to be unhappy single, or feel any burning desire for a relationship. Part of me hopes I don’t find anyone because I don’t want to get hurt or feel disappointed by them, although I am still open to it. I can’t think of anything a man could do for me that I couldn’t do for myself. I also don’t have problems with suspicion or jealousy in relationships and am able to trust people. I just assume that relationships are temporary and that for this reason it is dangerous to get too close. Independence is paramount.

Sounds like fearful avoidant but I don’t really have mood swings, but used to struggle with anxiety, and can communicate relatively effectively (lacking assertiveness, but that’s it). I’ve had my interpersonal skills assessed and was told I have very good skills apart from assertiveness. I’ve been in an abusive relationship, where I was very passive, but apart from that I don’t end up in dramatic or rocky relationships. I’ve never argued with a partner. But then I hear that fearful-avoidants are conflict averse? Reason for not arguing, by the way, is not fear they will leave, but fear my point of view is wrong and that it would be shameful to push for something that I don’t deserve. All of this is definitely shame based.

I know the point of all of this is just to face and overcome shame, because that’s at the heart of what I feel, and it doesn’t matter which attachment system I have, but for some reason I want to know what box I fit in…


Sounds more like dismissive to me. Dismissives (subconsciously) repress their feelings out of fear their needs won’t get met. Shame is the most powerful emotional suppressor, no?


Didn’t see this until now…huh…I hadn’t thought of that, actually, maybe you’re right…I feel shame most of the time, but I had ruled out dismissive because I keep reading they have high self esteem and I have low self esteem.

This developed quite a lot as well. It seems to get worse as I get older. Now, only half a year on, I guess, I feel quite sick when I consider being in a relationship. I have also distanced from my friends quite a bit. My felt bond with my family was never strong but seems to be non-existent now. I actually did the attachment style test – three times all in all over the course of a year. The first time I came up as preoccupied, the second as secure, and the third (most recent) as dismissive. I guess it depends what mood I’m in! But I also think that with me the pattern is that if I get hurt I take another step back. I was more ‘traditionally’ dismissive of my relationships as a teenager, then felt more preoccupied in one relationship (a confusing relationship for me), completely destroyed when it ended, more dismissive in the next relationship, left him without bother, then had a very minor dating experience that seemed to open the floodgates to an astonishing amount of pain, and since that experience: nada. No interest at all anymore, or maybe more precisely, as I said, actually repulsion toward the idea of intimacy. I can’t imagine ever being with anyone else and oddly I don’t feel sad about it at all. It’s just kind of curious. It feels like sex and relationships and physical touching are all stuff I used to do but that are now irrelevant to me. I guess this is probably something I will live to regret, but for now at least I think relationships are just a bit too advanced for me! I’m pretty happy to stay alone for a few more years at least.


Sorry for this being off-topic/for the “grammar-nazism”; but you most likely meant that “their behavior *exacerbates* their own fear”.


thanks,i feel so much relief now knowing my attachment style and my wifes im anxious attatchment and she is avoident attatchment style. i can now tart working on myself and hopefully get some relief in my cluttered marriage. thanks so much!!!!!!!!!!



I am definitely an anxiety style attachment. I am currently in therapy for it.
My current boyfriend of 3 years has a bit of an avoidance attachment style. Although when I do have anxiety attacks or start crying/demanding more attention, he always comforts me, holds me and tells me he loves me.
I’m just wondering….is there any way we can both help each other heal our attachment styles? Or do you simply need a secure partner to get better?
My therapist said we have potential to be a healing relationship. Is there any advice you could give me?
Many times I have been so overwhelmed with intense emotion and I just wanted to run away and find a “better” partner but i know understand that, that was my way of coping with intimacy until I met my current boyfriend. So I would like to make this relationship work


Is it possible for a person to possess more than one style? I see aspects of myself in (the last) two styles. While I don’t exhibit extreme mood changes nor outbursts, nor clingy behaviour … self-control and sel-preservation are my go-to responses, I do over analyze and intellectualize when I’m in the early stages of a relationship and, more often than not, am the one to end a relationship, leaving the poor guy to wonder what just happened. A gripping fear of intimacy (emotional for me, rather than physical) prevents me from giving any romantic relationship enough time to even begin to work through my issues, yet unfortunately, it’s what I long for; a mutually supportive, loving and intimate relationship.

While a part of me knows that my issues stem from growing up in a large family where only the louder more assertive personalities got heard (I was a younger, quieter one … not sure if that was/is my nature or, if I became that way due to the realization that it was (and is) an effort in futility to try and assert myself with my older, louder and more assertive siblings. One of my in-laws refers to our family as “intellectually competitive” and despite my relative self-confidence and success, I realize more and more than I feel invisible and lacking in my relationships, due in part, to the environment in which I was raised. It doesn’t help (???) help that my siblings all live close by and that a big part of me feels a need to be close to them, despite the realization that this may not be what’s best for me.

How do I move forward? Do I have to distance myself from the (possible) source of my problems with intimacy (namely my family) in order to take the initial steps towards addressing my fears of intimacy?


I love this.

I am anxious and fearful. I feel lonely and desperately want to feel loved and cared for yet I pretend I’m so I dependent and don’t need this because I’m so concerned with coming across as needy. Then guys get confused because I give mixed signals. One minute a don’t care attitude and the next an upset and angry attitude.
I’m scared of saying that I want to be loved in case I am laughed at and rejected. This fear stems from childhood were I was made to feel worthless. My dad abandoned us and my mother never showed affection. She frequently beat me and called me stupid. I do feel unlovable. How am I meant to give love securely if I am not loved by anybody and don’t love myself?

There was a guy who was interested in me who was secure. I rejected him.because I thought there must be something wrong with him if he was attracted to me! Instead I opted for the avoidance guy. I judged him as being normal and high value because he could see that I was worthless so in my head there was nothing wrong with him. That ended in disaster.

How can I get out if this trap?


I went through something very similar to your childhood. Ever since i could remember, my parents have always argued. My dad abandoned us numerous times. Even throughout all that, he was my go to for love and comfort. My mother gave no affection and only criticized me to become a worthy person. (Either way it is not her fault, she deserves so much more than what she was given). I became needy towards my dad and he was the only person i could emotionally trust in a way. But then my parents split when i turned 13. I was then abandoned 3 times in 1. He kicked me out of his house to live with my mom(remind you that he was the only one who gave me affection, I wanted to stay with him), he didnt let me go to where he was going to live when he told me he would, and then he finally left. I was devastated.

And now, i found the perfect guy. He is caring, sweet and very loving. I push him away but i dont understand myself, I believe he deserves someone better. I gave up on him yesterday and i regret it, I gave up on the only person who made me feel loved.

What am i going to do..

Hopeful Sparrow

If you truly, thoughtfully know/feel that this guy cares for you and you regret rejecting him, simply call him & let him know you made a mistake and value him in your life. Push past your fears, see him as the blessing he is to you and be vulnerable with him…if he is securely attached he may very well be patient as you work thru your wounds and get healing…and lots of healing can happen while IN relationship 🙂 Fear not, be courageous and take a risk to let him know what he means to you. Best wishes and blessings to you!


I hope you do find peace I am still searching for it myself and have done the same as you I just could not accept the love from a secure person but actually they had faults too as they were loving to me but not my son. I have messed up my life no end through being scared of love, pushing away the ones who I really feel something for. I just hope that there is still time for me to find someone who I can be myself with and grow as a person with. The only thing we can do is learn each mistake and be aware of our reactions and try to stop them but it is difficult unless the person you love is strong.


Hi this is a great article. Do you mind if I translate this into Chinese and post it in my blog? I will note that it is translated and attached the source of the translation for sure.


As long as you give credit and link back to the original article, you are welcome to translate this article into Chinese. Thank you.


If I’m anxious preoccupied and he’s fearful avoidant and we WANT to make our relationship work, couldn’t we work on it and become secure in our attachment? This article speaks as if you can only work on a secure attachment with a person who is already secure. How many people like that actually exist??


Ive been infatuated with an dismissive avoidant for 3 1/2 years. He keeps me at arm’s length and I wonder how best to try to give him the love, reassurance and stability he deserves, even if just platonic. He will rarely see me or talk to me on the phone and doesn’t initiate contact but will respond to me (most of the time) after several hours or days via text.
I’ve become so desperate in wanting to see him that I purchased some signed sports memorabilia that I plan to claim I won with a raffle ticket and want to give him. I hate lying like that but he won’t “date” me (anymore) because I’m “not a match” for him, even though we have a great time, have a lot in common and admit we’re attracted to each other. I’ve been nothing but sweet to him.
I’m giving it a 90% probability that he will reject the sports memorabilia because he’d have to see me to get it. My cousin says he doesn’t want to see me because then he has to face his feelings for me. Whenever we have been together (4 times) he’s always been physically affectionate.

I hate to abandon someone with these issues because they apparently need security/stability/love and I don’t want to walk about because I’m so attracted to him and he has dozens of qualities/characteristics I want in a man. I’m willing to accept him however he is but I can’t even get close enough to convey that it seems. He’ll probably just reiterate that he told me I’m not a match for him.


I don’t think you’re facing reality. HE’S been telling you that you are not a match for him. While YOU feel an attraction, HE clearly does not. It would probably be in your best interest to just move on and accept the truth.


Hmmmm. While this is interesting and I can see some of these patterns, I am confused as to whether or not this is it. Is it that we are either healthy or unhealthy, or that we are all just different? How do personality types and love languages etc. come into play here. Is it that certain types and love languages are unhealthy? I just really don’t see how all of these theories fit together to make sense of what is healthy and what is not. Can anybody shed some light here?



It’s kind of a load. They neglect to mention actual reproductive strategies all humans engage in and male/female sex differences, and only present a very watered down, idealistic view of romantic relationships.


As a therapist, I found this article to be pretty pathologizing and simplistic, particularly the section about anxious/preoccupied attachment. It’s inaccurate, pathologizing, and lacks context.


Very helpful article! I couldn’t help but notice that it’s word-for-word similar to an audio book I’m listening to now called “Anxieties in Relationships” by Theresa Miller. In Chapter 3 she writes about attachment patterns. After this chapter I googled “Attachment Styles” to learn more, and found this article that is almost EXACTLY the same wording as this article. Just wanted to bring this to your attention in case this author is plagiarizing your content.

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