In the beginning of your relationship, you were swept off your feet and fell in love with your partner.
You couldn’t wait to see each other and spend every waking moment together. Then, slowly your relationship shifted and you began to have small disagreements and then larger arguments.
As your relationship challenges increased, you started to explore why you were having so many issues and learned about insecure attachment style.
You can develop a secure attachment style
First things first, you need to know the signs of insecure attachment.
A partner has an insecure attachment style when they do the following: not collaborating or cooperating, throwing the partner under the bus in conversations with others, going to family or friends instead of their partner to discuss something important, and/or taking care of themselves instead of caring for their partner.
Two common attachment styles are insecure-avoidant and insecure-anxious.
An insecure-avoidant partner has a tendency to avoid conflict and feel trapped when a potentially difficult conversation may occur.
Whereas an insecure-anxious partner may have difficulty ending a conversation (especially after a fight) or may be anxious that their partner will leave them, fearing abandonment.
Having a secure attachment style can help you have more secure relationships
Usually when you notice your style is impacting who you pick as a partner or the way you relate to your partner, you can reach out for help about your insecure attachment style to a mentor, clergy person, therapist, coach or professional.
Even though you might have an insecure attachment style, you can learn how to create a relationship which is secure, safe, and solid.
Developing a secure attachment style means learning how your primary caregiver may have (unintentionally) not connected and bonded with you.
With education and assistance, you can relearn how to connect in a more effective and healthy manner.
Often, primary caregivers provide the best care and love for their children, but sometimes, due to their own issues they might not have the information or resources to provide a secure functioning relationship.
As a therapist for 30 years, I have witnessed how couples learn with compassion, understanding, curiosity, and patience to obtain clarity and move from an insecure attachment style to a secure attachment style.
If you’re willing to learn about why and how you developed an insecure attachment style, you’re beginning your journey and path to create a secure relationship.
When you learn to create a secure relationship you will be calmer, happier, and healthier.
Here are 4 things that securely attached people do in relationships — that you can do, too.
1. They keep their partner feeling safe and secure.
You keep your partner safe and secure and take care to protect yourself and your partner from the outside world.
You don’t put down, label (negative ones), or criticize yourself or your partner, and don’t allow others to do so either.
For example, when you lock your doors and windows because you want to protect yourself and your home. The same is true for your relationship. You need to protect each other in order to develop a secure attachment.
2. The prioritize collaboration and cooperation.
You work together collaboratively and cooperatively to complete chores, handle situations and manage your life and relationship. You know how to work as a team.
For example, usually a football team has one main goal and that is to work together to get a touchdown. They collaborate and cooperate to achieve that goal.
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You can work together like the football team to collaborate and cooperate to get a “touchdown.”
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3. They co-regulate and co-manage.
You notice and attune to your and your partners cues and non-verbals. You are sensitive to what you and your partner need and take care of those needs together.
For example, you sense that your partner is upset so you offer to listen, or you need some reassurance so your partner talks about your positive qualities.
Co-regulating is different from co-dependency because secure relationships are interdependent in healthy ways, not enabling unhealthy behaviors.
4. They are respectful, reliable, dependable, and trustworthy.
These ideas are foundations of relationships, but sometimes you may not know how your partner defines these terms. This makes it difficult to show that you are dedicated to uphold these ideals.
You can clarify what each of these ideas mean to your partner and yourself to make sure you are on the same page when it comes to these pillars of secure relationships.
Even if you have an insecure attachment style it is never too late to develop habits and learn the 4 ways to create a secure relationship.
Lisa Rabinowitz, LCPC is a licensed counselor and a Certified Gottman Couples Therapist and PACT Level 3 who works with couples to develop more secure attachment styles for healthy, happy relationships.