Have you ever dated someone who is constantly texting and calling you, wanting to know what you’re up to? What about the person who you’re always chasing because they’re so good at playing hard-to-get? Do you want to know why some people act like this in relationships? Or maybe even why you act like this in relationships?
A lot of this behavior has to do with what we call attachment styles. There are three simple attachment styles: secure, insecure-anxious, and insecure-avoidant. These are somewhat self-explanatory, but the gist of it is that those who feel insecure in their relationships usually employ one of two different insecure styles–anxious or avoidant.
People who feel insecure and become anxious in their attachment style tend to feel worried about their partners leaving them and feel that they always need to be in intimate, close relationships to be happy with themselves. They feel like they are always the one pushing for more intimacy and they worry about others caring about them as much as they care about others. We sometimes call this clinginess or neediness. These people typically have lower self-esteem and are overly anxious (go figure) about their relationships.
On the other hand, people who are insecure and react by becoming avoidant struggle with becoming vulnerable to others and allowing intimacy into their lives. These people highly value their independence and ability to be self-sufficient. Some avoidant styles are so extreme that people are literally afraid of becoming close to others. But other avoidant styles are just neutral about whether they are in or out of a relationship. These people tend to be defensive–meaning that instead of becoming upset by rejection, they simply distance themselves from the source. This can sometimes instigate a dangerous cycle of never wanting to be in a relationship.
Secure attachment is what we refer to as a healthy attachment style. As you can guess, these people are comfortable in and find it easy to develop intimate and close relationships. They are generally content with their roles in their relationship and feel comfortable with the balance between their independence and togetherness with their partner.
If you struggle with finding the right balance with yourself or your partner, we recommend our assessments READY and RELATE for help with pinpointing areas that are difficult for you in relationships.