Couples Counseling, Relationships: attachment style and dating

Here is an excellent article on how your childhood attachment style impacts who you pair up with as an adult.

“Attachment theory may play a significant role in a lot of relationship woes. In the 1950s, psychologist John Bowlby was the first to explain how humans look to form secure attachments with a few significant figures over the course of their lifetimes. Think about it like this: If someone cares for you and has your back, you are more likely to survive and pass your genes to offspring.

You can see the remnants of attachment theory in everyday life. It starts in early childhood, when you’re dependent on a caregiver for all your physical and emotional needs. If the relationship is reliable and kind, a child is more likely to develop into a secure adult. If the caregiver is erratic or unable to meet the child’s needs, a child may be indifferent to their attachment figure (avoidant), or they will desperately attempt to reestablish contact with their caregiver with attention-seeking behaviours like crying or screaming (anxious).

In romantic relationships, the attachment styles transfer from caretaker to partner. A secure attacher will feel comfortable in relationships, forming and nurturing bonds with relative ease; they’ll provide reassurance of their interest, respond to communication in a timely manner, plan thoughtful time together, and generally approach partners with compassion and kindness. An anxious attacher will worry about their partner’s investment and try to remain close to them; they might communicate with partners a lot to avoid overthinking, need more reassurance from partners than most, and misread their partners’ cues as signs of disinterest. Avoidants will attempt to maintain their independence, though often it may seem like they want something more; they’ll be the classic hot-and-cold partner, who’s all in one day and totally gone the next.

And when all of these people end up wading the dating pool together, without any awareness of their own or anyone else’s attachment style, there can be a lot of chaos and confusion about why relationships play out the way they do.”