Managing an anxious attachment style in relationships (2023)

Dating is hard- Always been like that. However, the current era of online dating has created new challenges and triggers. In a way, we normalizedwitty, slow fade, chasing a cat, poor communication skills, and a lack of clarity about relationships can all make any person wary of dating. Add to that an anxious attachment style and it gets even harder.

You know that feeling when you finally made it up, sent a thoughtful message to your new lover, and an hour passed, then two, then ten, and he still hasn't responded? The way you come to the conclusion that you are no longer interested in them or that they can't text you back because they are seeing someone else - even when things are going well? If this sounds familiar, it should give you an idea of ​​what it's like to date an anxious attachment style.

"Holding uneasilypeople are hungry for a relationship and fear its credibility. They tend to amplify emotional cues, looking for evidence that other people are responding to them,” she saysdr. Sabrina Romanoff, psychiatrist.

Attachment Theory in Relationships

Attachment theorythis is a very popular concept these days, and for good reason: understanding how you behave in your relationships and how you relate to your partners is extremely important. If you find the rest of this article relevant, it doesn't necessarily mean you're stressed, but the reality of dating in 2022 can make any interaction stressful.

The process of going on date number two with someone can be shockingly stressful, not to mention the often tense experience that develops into a real relationship. Uncertainty is the key to success because no one wants to get involved when it seems like someone better is always far away.

And if you really have an anxious attachment style,dating appsit can ensure that you quickly attract attention and recognition and avoid dealing with constant uncertainty that makes you crave praise. Each new compound or supplement provides a bit of dopamine that only reinforces the cycle.

There's nothing wrong with that if you're stuck with fear, but cultivating an awareness of it will help you feel more confident and confident in your romantic aspirations.

Understanding attachment anxiety

According to the attachment theory, first proposed by a British psychologistJohn Bowlbyand later extended byMary AinsworthAn individual's attachment style usually develops during childhood as a direct result of interaction with the primary caregiver.

Oneanxious attachment style;it occurs in childhood when parents are present and then suddenly absent, either physically or emotionally. If we do not receive the appropriate emotional response as a child, it can cause us to lose confidence in credibility as an adult.

“I went through a series of codependent relationships before I found out I had an anxious attachment style. I was abandoned as a child and the traces of this trauma are very evident in my relationships,” says Kelsey, 32.

There are many characteristics of this attachment style that can manifest themselves both emotionally and behaviorally: "In adults, it manifests itself as a desire for intimacy, while experiencing difficulties with trusting others, fear of emotional intimacy, difficulties with boundaries, the need to constantly feel safe, tend to become obsessive, clingy, or anxious when you're away from your partner," says Romanoff.

Olivia, 27, shares: "When I was dating, I discovered I had an anxious attachment style and realized that whenever his phone rang, he mentioned he was with another woman, and whenever he went out at a certain time, exercises".

Olivia, 27

When I was dating someone, I found out that I had an anxious attachment style, and I realized that my heart beats faster whenever their phone rings, whenever they ask me to spend time with another woman, and whenever I go to a certain place to work out.

— Olivia, 27

Digital communication and the way we can keep in touch with each other can be a real trigger for anxious guys too.

Madeline (29) tells you howCorrespondencecan make you feel insecure: “My anxious thoughts tend to whirl when I'm not with the guy I'm dating. When we're together, I usually feel good because I'm sure they want to spend time with me. so most of my anxieties happen with the news.

Madeline continues: “Once I panicked because my boyfriend didn't text me to confirm the breakfast plans we were going to eat the next day. I let my friend text him but she sent it without my permission and it almost breaks my heart. I was so irrational back then. And this guy was someone I didn't even want to be my boyfriend. But I cared so much that he liked me.

Because an anxious person has a pressing need for approval, this can easily lead to chronic behaviors that give pleasure to others. This can have real mental health implications when the fear of rejection outweighs the ability to love yourself and recognize your own needs.

“My patterns of liking people have reached a point where I abandon myself to avoid my partner's anger or contempt. I feel like I'm responding to it without ever recognizing my needs (or even that I have them), and I'm exhausted emotionally and physically because I would give the best of myself and never reciprocate the criticism she gave me," says Erica, 41 years.

Anxious attachment can also develop as a result of early dating experiences. If you were cheated on or rejected frequently in your teens or early twenties, it can have a big impact on how you bond with future partners.

Dating in times of pandemic, two years later

What does attachment anxiety look like in a relationship?

It's not hard to imagine how these factors will add stress to a date's life, and these feelings can arise at any stage of a relationship, no matter how stable it actually is.

“When it comes to romantic relationships, people with attachment anxiety crave connection and love. At the same time, however, they have trouble trusting people, which causes great insecurity in their relationships. As a result, behaviors such as jealousy, possessiveness, and aggression appear. among these people, it is becoming commonplace to have a constant belief in necessity,” he saysYalda Safai, Dr. doctor.

This feeling of suspicion and doubt can put a strain on a relationship, and usually no matter how many times an anxious partner is vetted, deep down they'll still be waiting.departureand even be attracted to its signs.

Yalda Safai, Dr. doctor

When it comes to romantic relationships, people with attachment anxiety crave connection and love. But at the same time, it is difficult for them to trust people, which causes great insecurity in their relationships.

— Yalda Safai, Dr. doctor

One of the most famous books on attachment theory,In Attachment, Rachel S.F. Heller and Amir Levine explain that people with an anxious attachment style are often attracted to people with an anxious attachment styleavoidant attachment style.

This may seem counterintuitive, but the idea is that when an anxious person expects a partner to treat them badly, they are subconsciously attracted to people who can't really show up in a relationship. Even worse, the anxious person will go to great lengths to convince the avoidant partner to stay with them, which inevitably leads to mistreatment. It's a vicious circle.

“I usually date guys who don't want to spend every night together either, but then I worry they don't want to spend enough time with me. Then I start to think they don't like me, that they're planning to lose me, etc." says 29-year-old Madeline.

When these feelings are left unchecked, it can put a lot of unnecessary pressure on the other partner, and in many cases, it can have the unintended consequence of rejecting them. A huge part of a healthy relationship is trusting that your partner loves you and has your support, but constantly expressing doubt is a potential catalyst for failure.

What happens when we feel romantic chemistry and how important is it?

How does an anxious attachment style affect a relationship?

According to experts, self-awareness and communication are key in dealing with thoughts and reactions caused by an anxious attachment style.

“For people with anxious attachment, it is important to become aware of your attachment style in order to create healthy relationships. Secondly, learning to express emotions is extremely important for any person, but especially for those who suffer from an anxious attachment style, says Safai.

Dating with a secure attachment style can also be helpful because "it can help you understand what a stable and secure relationship looks like," Safai says, and it can encourage you to break down potential patterns of avoiding dating people who could strengthen your relationship. Expectations abandonment.

If you suspect you may have this attachment style, it may be helpful to talk to:licensed therapist. They can offer you coping and communication strategies when strong emotions can give you a distorted view of your partner's behavior.

Kelsey, 32, shares what has helped her: “I've recently been working on seeing conflict as a way to understand my partner and learn how to support him, rather than listening to an internal narrative that portrays conflict as a threat to my partner. relationship. . Yoga, therapy, and lots of breathing has healed me a lot and helped me tremendously to feel secure in myself and less dependent on the people I'm in a relationship with."

Kelsey, 32

Recently, I've been working on seeing conflict as a way to understand my partner and learn how to support them, rather than listening to an internal narrative that identifies conflict as a threat to my relationship.

– Kelsey, 32

“There is a healthy balance between recognizing that seeking comfort is overkill and effectively asking your partner to meet your needs. "The reality is that you're more likely to find security in a relationship if you are aware of your needs and make it clear to your partner how he or she can feel safe," says Romanoff.

Your attachment style can't be beat - it's part of your personality and something you'll always have to deal with. Again, if you tend to be insecure in your relationships, there's nothing wrong with that, but it helps to cultivate an understanding of how it affects your relationships with others. And with the complicated dating scene in 2022 and beyond, we can all benefit from tips and tricks for dealing with attachment anxiety.

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