If your adult attachment style is “secure”, then you’re
warm and loving, great at communicating your feelings,
easily become close to a partner, are comfortable depending
on them and having them depend on you. Photo/FILE
On a first date, it’s natural to wonder whether your new partner likes you.
But what’s more important is figuring out how they see relationships.
Psychologists describe the way people approach romantic relationships as their adult attachment style.
If your adult attachment style is “secure”, then you’re warm and loving, great at communicating your feelings, easily become close to a partner, are comfortable depending on them and having them depend on you.
You don’t worry about being alone, you generally have happy relationships and feel comfortable with intimacy and independence, and balance them well.
But just over a fifth of us have an “anxious” attachment style. You want to be so close you may become clingy.
You worry that your partner doesn’t want to be as close to you as you’d like, and you are sensitive to their moods.
Another quarter of us are “avoidant,” which centres on maintaining independence.
If you have this style, you’ll tend to hide your feelings, worry about rejection and keep your distance.
Dismissive avoidants tend to be self-sufficient, prefer not to depend on others and are comfortable without a close partner in their lives.
Fearful avoidants want close relationships, but worry they’ll be hurt and find it difficult to trust or depend on a partner.
If you’re single and searching, figuring out a new date’s attachment style is a really good idea!
The key is expressing your own needs early on, for example by saying, “I need someone I can rely on.”
That may sound risky, but it’s better to know straight away whether your date’s right for you.
An avoidant will send you mixed signals. One minute they will be talking of moving in, the next acting like you don’t have a future together.
An anxious date will reveal worries that you won’t stick around. Both probably have a history of broken relationships – so listen.
Best dating strategy
And you should understand your own style, because it can help you decide on your best dating strategy.
For example, if you’re anxious, try dating several people at the same time to begin with. If you’re avoidant, cut your dates some slack before giving up on them.
Your attachment style can also change – but usually only when you get into a relationship that really shakes your beliefs about love.
So, if you expect people to let you down and you’re with someone who’s always supportive, you’ll slowly become more secure.
Or if you’re secure and dating someone anxious or avoidant, there’s a good chance they’ll become more like you.
But if you’re anxious or avoidant and with someone who’s the same, you’re likely to make each other worse.
So dating someone who’s secure might sound boring, but it’s actually wonderful.
Because it means a better and longer lasting relationship: more committed, supportive, physically and emotionally intimate. And it’s amazing how good that can feel.