How much time are you willing to spend realizing that a partner is not right for you? But what if this time can be significantly reduced and you find out that you will not succeed, already on the first date? To do this, the theory of types of attachment will allow.
What types of attachments exist
There are only four of them: reliable, anxious, avoidant and anxious-avoidant.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “opposites attract”. There is some truth in it. If a person has an anxious type of attachment, he may be drawn to people with an avoidant type. But when the first stage of the relationship ends, the “avoiders” stop giving the “anxious” as much time and attention as they need. And the “anxious”, on the contrary, begins to get bored with the constant need of the “avoiders” for affection and consolation. In any case, both partners soon get tired of such a relationship.
If a person has an anxious-avoidant type of attachment, they are likely not particularly excited about the idea of seeking love and relationships. Perhaps he feels rejected too quickly as an anxious type, or swiftly “cuts off” people and keeps them at arm’s length, like an avoidant type. Other types of people may view the anxious avoidant as unpredictable and impulsive. Moreover, chances are that they will try to stay away from him, giving him the reaction he fears the most. That is why avoidant-anxious attachment is best paired with secure attachment.
A person with a secure type of attachment is the easiest. He can build relationships with people of any other type. The “reliable” doesn’t care about being rejected, so he won’t strain himself because of the distance that the “shunners” build. He is also ready to satisfy the emotional needs of the “anxious” and give them the necessary time. In addition, “reliable” calmly react to jumps in behavior and emotional outbursts of “anxious avoidant”.
- Anxious-Avoiders are best compatible with Reliable.
- “Anxious” is great for “reliable”, “anxious-avoidant” is good, and “avoidant” is not at all suitable.
- Avoiders build the strongest relationships with reliable people. They are well suited for “anxious-avoidant” and not at all suitable for “anxious”.
- “Reliable” is combined with all types in this sequence of compatibility: “anxious”, “avoidant”, and “anxious-avoidant”. The choice of “reliable” depends on the current state of affairs and how much time they are willing to devote to relationships.
How to use this knowledge during the first date? Each type has several peculiar “markers” that will help to calculate them. Ask a person these three questions, and the answers will speak for themselves.
What questions help determine the type of attachment
1. What was your early childhood like?
This type will answer the question as honestly as possible, with all the good, bad and even unpleasant details. At the same time, “reliable” will not talk too much or try to “move out” from the topic.
He will be uncomfortable, and he will try to evade the answer. Sometimes “anxious” say that they practically do not remember early childhood. Or they try to draw a vague and perfectly glossy picture without any personal details.
A person of this type will not only readily answer the question, but will be completely absorbed by it. You may even get confused whether he is talking about the past or the future, and feel that the story is too long.
This type can get annoyed, move away from a question, or switch your attention to another topic. If he answers, the words will be strange and chaotic. Anxious avoidant can also talk about broken or frightening relationships with parents.
2. Who did you go to for support when you were worried or afraid?
He will give a clear answer and, most likely, will share a couple of examples about parents, grandparents or other parental figures.
This type will say something from the category “probably my mother”, but will not be able to name a single situation that would confirm this. A person with an avoidant attachment type may also admit that he took care of himself and no one supported him.
He can give a clear answer and even back it up with examples. However, in his words there will be signs of inconsistent parental behavior, unmet needs, or even disgust.
The question of support can hurt a person with this type of attachment or seem too personal to him. Anxious avoiders tend to overreact to such topics or talk about loss and frightening trauma.
3. What was your last romantic relationship like and how did it end?
This type usually talks about a long and sensual relationship. “Reliable” rarely say nasty things about ex-partners, but honestly assess both the bad and good aspects of the relationship.
He will try to hush up the question or say that he closed this story for himself and never thought about past relationships again.
People of this type can talk about emotional difficulties, dissatisfaction and anger. Their relationship often ends quite painfully.
A person with this type of attachment may overreact to a question and even be rude, such as saying “None of your business.” Anxious avoidant should be expected to respond in a vague or chaotic manner.
What else to pay attention to
In addition to the answers themselves, try to pay attention to how a person formulates thoughts. Reliable types usually keep a balance and don’t talk too much. The avoidant type prefers to answer briefly. “Anxious”, on the contrary, give out too many details and talk about themselves for a long time. And “anxious avoiders” respond chaotically — it’s hard to follow the flow of their thoughts.
Another clue is the age of the interlocutor. Among 20-year-olds, about 50% have a secure type of attachment, while closer to 40 years, an avoidant type is much more common.