Which relationship style best reflects you or your partner?
In order to be able to identify which relationship style best reflects you and/or your partner, you must have a brief introduction to attachment theory which explains the biological need to bond with others. Experiences in early relationships create a blueprint that informs the sense of safety and security you bring to adult relationships. Insecurities that have been carried through life can wreak havoc for a couple if these issues are not resolved.
Your relationship style is your attachment style.
Attachment refers to the particular way in which you relate to other people. Your style of attachment was formed at the very beginning of your life, during your first two years. Once established, it is a style that stays with you and plays out today in how you relate in intimate relationships and in how you parent your children. Understanding your relationship style or style of attachment is helpful because it offers you insight into how you felt and developed in your childhood. It also clarifies ways that you are emotionally limited as an adult and what you need to change to improve your close relationships and your relationship with your own children.
There are four types of attachment/relationship styles, but for this blog we will be looking at the three main types: secure, avoidant and ambivalent/anxious. Dr. Stan Tatkin likes to refer to those with secure attachment as “anchors”, those with avoidant attachment as “islands” and those with ambivalent/anxious attachment as “waves”. Anchors are secure as individuals, willing to commit and fully share with another, are generally happy people and adapt easily to the needs of the moment. Islands are independent and self-reliant, take good care of themselves, are productive and creative especially when given space, and are low maintenance. Lastly, waves are generous and giving, focused on taking care of others, happiest when around other people and able to see both sides of an issue.
So, which style best represents you and/or your partner?
Wired for Love by Dr. Stan Tatkin is a complete insider’s guide to understanding both you and your partner’s brain and enjoying a romantic relationship built on love and trust. Synthesizing research findings on how and why love lasts drawn from not only attachment theory but also neuroscience and emotion regulation, this book presents ten guiding principles that can improve any relationship.
By learning to use simple gestures and words, readers can learn to put out emotional fires and help their partners feel more safe and secure. The no-fault view of conflict in this book encourages readers to move past a “warring brain” mentality and toward a more cooperative “loving brain” understanding of the relationship. This book is essential reading for couples and others interested in understanding the complex dynamics at work behind love and trust in intimate relationships.
While there’s no doubt that love is an inexact science, if you can discover how you and your partner are wired differently, you can overcome your differences to create a lasting intimate connection.
If you find Wired for Love as incredible as I did you may also want to read Love Sense by Dr. Sue Johnson, another expert in the couples therapy field. In Love Sense Dr. Johnson presents a revolutionary new understanding of why and how we love, based on cutting-edge research. Every day, we hear of relationships failing and questions of whether humans are meant to be monogamous. This book presents new scientific evidence that tells us that humans are meant to mate for life. The author explains that romantic love is an attachment bond, just like that between mother and child, and shows us how to develop our “love sense”, our ability to develop long-lasting relationships. Love is not the least bit illogical or random, but actually an ordered and wise recipe for survival. The book covers the three stages of a relationship and how to best weather them; the intelligence of emotions and the logic of love; the physical and psychological benefits of secure love; and much more.