Attachment Styles + Modern Dating

Do you know what your attachment style is? I definitely run anxious. This is not surprising considering my decency toward being a bit ungrounded…ahem I run vata imbalanced. But to read about what this means in the context of a relationship was kind of game changing, and more than anything, I think it truly made me feel less crazy. There is reason behind why I do the things I do and feel the way I feel. It’s a pattern. And while it probably could use some reprogramming (working on it thanks to Lacy’s work), it is something that I can track, understand, and learn to navigate with.

Mainly, it means I usually fall for the avoidant type…spoiler alert, those are the ones I should be avoiding. The sick part? I think I like the thrill of the chase — which it most literally is. They’re avoiding and then I’m stressing the why and trying to figure out how to latch on and ultimately “win.” The “thrill” though is only a thrill for so long. Living with constant anxiety of what they’re thinking, why they’re not texting you back, etc. is not sustainable and either fizzles or drives you insane.

If you’ve gotten this far and have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about or need a refresher — here ya go:

The point of the book (Attached) is to outline the three distinct attachment styles when it comes to relationships — secure, anxious, and avoidant. Securely attached people generally had a healthy childhood and are better at approaching intimate relationships, while anxious and avoidant people find intimacy to be more of a struggle. This usually happens because of a trauma early in life — for me it’s the early dead dad syndrome thing.

You can find out your attachment style in the book (there is a quiz), but I’m sure it’s also accessible through a quick google. 

Apparently, most of the population falls under the “secure” attachment type, which is a good thing, but kind of shocking because until a couple months ago, I’ve managed to literally only dated avoidant types. Secure people are typically more comfortable with intimacy and tend to be more satisfied in their relationships. They’re childhood programmed them to lead an independent life, knowing when to be honest, intimate, and supportive. This type is also better at accepting their partner’s shortcomings (aka why us anxious types should seek them out!!). They also don’t manipulate or play games because their self-esteem is pretty high. In conflict, they are able to respond without getting overly defensive, meaning they is no perpetual cycle of criticism and fighting.

Anxious people can become unhappy or worried about being too much or too little for the person they’re dating. They also tend to take everything super personally. They place a lot of high hopes on their partner and get attached to their potential vs. living in the here and now (me to a T — I have a major tendency to create stories and plan out my life with someone before we’ve even had a second date — it’s laughable). Apparently, it’s because anxious attachment types expect the relationship to define, rescue, or complete them. This type clings to their partner co-dependently (I spoke about this a while back on my instagram stories re food allergies, being “high maintenance” and my ex) because they’re afraid of being alone. By desperately holding onto a bond, they often end up having the opposite effect — it breaks instead of strengthens and the relationship ends. In attempt to alleviate relationship anxiety, they sometimes play games to get attention (I love my games — insert eye roll and competitive nature). This can be described as acting out, trying to make their partner jealous, or withdrawing from conversation to receive attention. This all rarely ends well because all of these “tools” end up attracting avoidant types — and that’s exactly what us anxious people DON’T need in our lives.

Avoidant attachers completely avoid relationships and keep anyone new at a distance. This means they might sabotage their blossoming romances out of no where because they’re scared their partner will leave them first (so they press eject) — in modern day words, they ghost. There are two categories of avoidant types — dismissive and fearful. The dismissive avoidant has the tendency to emotionally distance themselves from their partner, coming off as overly focused on themselves (the vain ones). Fearful avoidant types are afraid of being too close or too distant, which means they can struggle to keep their emotions in check, get overwhelmed easily, and can have intense mood swings (you know those ones who text and then don’t for weeks at a time — yeah those guys aren’t busy, they’re avoidant).

Here’s the deal. Anxiously attached people (me) have a pattern of pursuing avoidants because they are trying to fix the past by recreating similar situations by people who once hurt them. The avoidant partner then has someone constantly going after them even if they put little effort into the relationship and the anxious one’s fears of net being enough are validated.

What do we do with this information? Work on self growth, reprogramming, and inner work. This is the longest run in my adult life I have ever been single. I’ve officially been single for over a year. I know myself pretty well and definitely didn’t need this time to get comfortable being on my own. I love doing things by myself and have done a lot of self exploration that way already — so when people say that it kind of bothers me to be honest. What this time has done for me is given me the time and space to tune back into my spiritual side. I signed up for Lacy Phillips manifestation program, created my magnetic childhood, started going to kundalini, and have tapped back into my woo woo. Doing this has changed not just my energy input, but my energetic output and has allowed me not just to attract non-avoidants, but also be attracted to them. For the longest time I wasn’t. When someone showed sincere interest, was attentive, actually treated me like a proper human being and maybe even the QUEEN I am, I would get turned off. It felt too easy. I was programmed to chase. To want what I “couldn’t” have. It wasn’t until my most recent set of dates with someone (who shall remained unnamed at this point) that I realized just how nice and comforting and LOVELY and refreshing it can be to be with and spend time with someone who is present. Who shows up, who pops in, who is attentive, who is confident in themselves enough to communicate properly and in a sincere manner.

Who’s to say if this is my person yet. But what I will say at this point is that it’s an eyeopener and a game changer for me right now. AND I AM HERE FOR IT.

So, homework if you run anxious like me. I’m not going to tell you to learn to be comfortable and confident in being alone. If you want to and like to be in a relationship (so long as it’s not a soul sucking codependent one), you deserve just that and you shouldn’t have to wait long for it. But what I will say is recognize where you are on this attachment type scale, do some inner work, reprogram somethings, watch your patterns, make note of what turns you on and what turns you off (if you’re like me this will be sickeningly shocking and a big wake up call), and really think about if those turn ons will cultivate the relationship and life you dream of. If not (I know mine didn’t) rework them. Go on dates with people outside of your “type.” Spend time with expander couples (whether it’s IRL or stalking online — literally doesn’t matter as creepy as that sounds) and rework your list. What’s really important. What really actually turns you on? I promise it won’t always be the thrill of the chase.

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts // if you relate to any or all of this and I if my words help just one person reading this, let me know.