“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”
– Mother Teresa
This week's theme: love and attachment
Ah, love. Or, says the psychologist: “Ah, attachment.”
Whether you subscribe to Valentine’s, “pal-entine’s” or none of the above, we are all seeking love and connection in our lives. One of the best ways to enhance our connections is to learn about how we form attachments, or attachment styles. So, how the heck do we do it?
Over the last 30 years, attachment theory has become one of the leading frameworks for understanding close relationships. While research is ongoing, here is what we know so far:
Attachments can be secure or insecure.
Children who have sensitive and responsive caregivers early in life are more likely to be classified as secure.
Children who are classified as secure are more likely to go on to form positive relationships with their peers in early childhood and adolescence.
💡 For adults, the benefits of a secure attachment style are well documented. For example, adults with a secure style are more likely than those with insecure attachments to experience satisfaction and commitment in their marital and dating relationships, and these relationships are characterized by less conflict.
There are only a few studies on attachment that follow children into adulthood. It is generally believed that the quality of caregiver relationships, relationships with peers, and a child’s own social skills all work together to create an adult’s overall attachment style. That said, there’s hope for those who struggle to feel safe in relationships. We are finding that attachment styles can be dynamic; they have the potential to change over time given positive and intimacy-boosting relational experiences.
Christen Mullane, Ph.D.
What’s your attachment style? Answer the questions on the Experiences in Close Relationships Scale to get an idea. Please note that this is not a perfect measure. A revised version of this measure is used in more current research to get a sense of general attachment orientation in romantic relationships. (Find the quiz’s data protection policies here.)
And if you want to energize your connections with others, try answering these 36 questions from a classic intimacy boosting questionnaire developed by psychologist Arthur Aron.Share on facebook Share Share on twitter Tweet Share on reddit Reddit Share on email Forward
What are we listening to? Glad you asked! This week, MO is going old school and listening to a couple of podcasts from 2019: The Psychology of Attractiveness, by Robert Burriss, and Paul Eastwick’s interview, “The Surprises of Romantic Attraction” on The Art of Manliness podcast. Take your pick!
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