by Cecily Knobler
Ready to have your minds blown? Okay, maybe I’m overselling this a bit, but I know what I’ve just learned really changed my dating style and I’d like to pass the wisdom on to you. Here goes:
So there’s this model called Attachment Theory, which basically hypothesizes that how you were reared as an infant can strongly influence how you interact in your adult relationships, romantically or otherwise.
Essentially, there’s “Secure Attachment” where the infant has consistent and positive attachment to their caregiver (and then later in relationships.)
Next up is “Anxious/Insecure Attachment” in which the infant is given conflicting parent modeling, sometimes feeling secure and sometimes confused. This can create a relationship attachment style that has them falsely mistrusting others, resulting in game playing and severe self-doubt.
Last is the “Avoidant Attachment” group (which is further divided into subgroups, fearful and dismissive) where people in relationships tend to withdraw their emotions, convincing themselves they are too independent to care.
This is an absolute bare-boned, minimalist explanation of this theory. But here’s where it’s potentially life changing. Once you recognize your attachment style, there’s a chance that, with consistent effort, you can change it!
Once I realized I’m an Anxious/Insecure Attacher, I could suddenly see all of the patterns I’ve been repeating over and over in my dating life. (Incidentally, anxious attachers are often drawn to avoidant attachers so that they may relive the same patterns, further cementing their hardwired belief system.) But once you learn that your unhealthy patterns are a product of that early hardwiring, you can rewire it.
No, unfortunately you can’t change your past. But you can change your behavior, and that can change your future. For example, let’s say a guy I’m dating doesn’t text me back within what I deem to be a reasonable amount of time. The Anxious Attacher in me wants to pick a fight, or delete him from my phone, or not reply to him for days after. But if I think like a Secure Attacher, I realize, “Oh hey, he’s busy. I will believe he likes me until proven otherwise and I will react accordingly.”
My change in reactions will eventually set off a series of new romantic experiences that will in turn (hopefully) change my patterns. Okay, maybe this information didn’t change your life, but it’s certainly food for thought. And it may change your life soon!