Attached is one of the most popular books in the relationship space and when you read it, it’s easy to see why. The authors Amir Levine, MD and Rachel S.F. Heller, MA have applied classic attachment theory to adult romantic relationships and it will help you understand your own attachment needs as well as pinpointing the attachment styles of those close to you. Just this awareness alone can completely transform your relationships.
The three main attachment styles are Anxious, Avoidant, or Secure and you can have combinations of those too.
To give a brief description of them:
Anxious people are often consumed with their relationships and tend to worry about their partner’s ability to love them back.
Avoidant people couple intimacy with a loss of independence and try to avoid getting close to someone.
Secure people feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and loving.
The book also contains quizzes to determine your attachment style if you’re not sure.
It probably has the most insight and tips to offer to people with an anxious attachment style, which many people with relationship struggles find they fall into. So if you notice yourself constantly worried about your relationships and putting all of your time and emotional energy into them, I highly recommend you give this book a read. It can help make sense of why you’ve felt like this.
For example, you’ve probably wondered in the past why you always seem to feel a certain way in relationships and why you seem to attract a particular type of person. A common one, which the book explains, is that Anxious people tend to attract Avoidant partners. The authors call it the anxious-avoidant trap.
This dynamic isn’t going to create a happy and harmonious relationship because it’s an unhealthy pattern of interaction between an anxious and an avoidant partner that is very difficult to let go of. It becomes hard work and sometimes destructive. The closer the anxious partner tries to get, the more distant the avoidant partner acts. It becomes a cycle of exacerbating each other’s insecurities. There is a very useful chart in the book, which outlines the behaviours, thought patterns and emotions of each. It’s a great reference point to identify what you’re actually feeling and what behaviours tend to be your default go-to’s.
The main solution they offer, is to ask yourself what would a secure person do?
So if you’re an anxious attachment style and always feel uneasy, jealous, unloved and lonely for example (these are taken from the chart I just mentioned) and try to ‘fix’ those by acting out or threatening to leave your Avoidant partner in desperation to keep them or make them feel scared, ask yourself what would a secure person do in that situation instead? The authors suggest they would communicate effectively, not play games and allow themselves to be vulnerable (as a few examples).
By intercepting your go-to anxious behaviours with these new thoughts, you can avoid going deeper into or prolonging these heated attachment style episodes in your relationships.
The last section of the book focuses on how to improve your current relationship, when to let a relationship go and how to choose the best type of partner for you. So this book is also very useful when you’re dating and really thinking about what type of person you want to be with. Particularly if you’re trying to avoid past habits or behaviours that didn’t serve you when it comes to choosing a romantic partner.
Communication is also a big part of the book. They say that if you can effectively communicate what you want and need, you’re more likely to receive it. Although that might sound fairly obvious, there can be so many grey areas when it comes to being bold yet compassionate about communicating in relationships. There are some great practical tips on communication.
So many people have said that Attached completely changed their perspective on relationships and helped them to adapt their attachment style for the better. It’s hopeful, practical and can really help you see that there isn’t anything ‘wrong’ with you for feeling like you have done in relationships.