Take the free, 5 minute attachment style quiz to explore how
childhood conditioning manifests in your adult relationships.
Select one of the three boxes below to indicate whether you are single, in a relationship or a parent.
We will show you common behaviors for adults with this attachment style.
The Anxious Attachment Style is also known as Preoccupied. Individuals with this attachment style crave relationships, intimacy, and love. For this reason, they might have a hard time being single. People with this attachment style might enjoy dating, as it often involves flirting, being seduced, and receiving attention. This type of reassurance and confidence boost is tempting to people with an anxious attachment style. Once dating turns into a relationship, however, such individuals start experiencing fear of rejection, jealousy and distress.
The Dismissive or Avoidant Attachment Style is characterized by independence, assertiveness, and self-sufficiency. People with this attachment style have no problem being single. On the other hand, they might be very sociable, popular and friendly. Such individuals usually date many people, but lose interest as soon as a sexual partner tries to connect with them on a deeper, emotional level. They pursue what they want in a relationship, regardless of others’ needs.
The Disorganized Attachment Style, also referred to as Fearful Avoidant, is a contradictory attachment style that alternates between the Preoccupied and Dismissive styles. People with this attachment style want to be loved and connect with others. Initially, they present themselves as confident, attractive, and exciting, as if they have life all figured out. Yet, their fear of being hurt by someone they trust makes it difficult to bond and open up. Such individuals might have a hard time dating, since the process of getting to know and trust every potential partner might be painful, confusing, and distressing.
Having a Secure Attachment Style means being comfortable with both proximity and autonomy. These individuals are self-content, but they are also comfortable in relationships. Dating is also not an issue for the securely attached, as they tend to be open and straightforward. These people are warm and easy to connect to, and thus fancied by others. They feel comfortable approaching and bonding with potential partners.
When people with an Anxious Attachment Style enter a relationship, they become overly involved with the other person’s state-of-mind. Oftentimes, these individuals care excessively for the needs of their partners at their own expense. They tend to bring the past into the present and can grow angry at not being loved the way they want or expect to be. Another common characteristic of such individuals is that they tend to blame themselves first and overanalyze what they might have done ‘wrong’. Partners with this attachment style often appear clingy, needy, and desperate for love.
People who have a Dismissive Attachment Style are extremely independent and aloof in relationships. They do not tolerate emotional intimacy and often appear as if they do not need or want it. Partners with this attachment style might seem selfish and disregard their partner’s needs and desires. They have a hard time opening up to others, so they remain detached and remote in relationships.
Partners with a Disorganized Attachment Style are highly inconsistent within intimate relationships: sometimes they are insecure and clingy, and at other times – distant. Disorganized individuals might often switch between expressing intense feelings and appearing emotionally numb. As a result, their partners might feel like ‘walking on eggshells,’ never truly knowing where they stand in the relationship.
Secure Attachment involves mutual trust and respect. People with a secure attachment style are able to build and maintain healthy, meaningful, and lasting relationships. At the same time, they do not depend on their partner’s reassurance. Within the context of the relationship, they explore the world and grow in different ways, together with their partner. Both partners value each other as well as themselves. They tend to face and resolve issues as a team. Secure attachment involves a reciprocal expression of feelings as well as sensitivity and responsiveness to the other’s needs.
Anxious Parents often interfere in their child’s life. This might manifest as strict expectations of how the child should be. These parents could also use their children to satisfy their own needs of support or emotional closeness. Their excessive worry spills over, causing the child to grow hypervigilant. The child might become easily distressed and have difficulties developing a strong sense of self.
A Dismissive Parent disregards and does not tolerate the expression of their child’s feelings. Such parents are uncomfortable showing affection and providing support to their children. People with a dismissing attachment style are often rigid and inflexible in their approach towards parenting. Their child would often perceive this type of behavior as rejection. Consequently, it stops reaching out to them and stops expecting that their needs will be met by others.
Disorganized Parents are extremely inconsistent in their approach. Sometimes they are overly involved, while at other times they can be entirely dismissive of their child’s attachment needs. They can be over-stimulating, seductive, aggressive, or highly dissociative, thus creating a dilemma for the child. The child’s source of attachment is also a source of fear. It can never know what comes next: will the parent be loving, abusive, or distanced?
Secure Parents are very attuned to their child’s state-of-mind and needs. They provide the child with a safe and secure base of comfort. Secure parents actively encourage their child’s independence and development of individuality. They let their child explore the outside world freely and are ready to provide support when needed.
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