Adult Attachment: Secure attachment types.
As we depend on each other we get attached. Listed in one of my previous posts there is four main adult attachment types: secure, anxious, avoidant and anxious avoidant. In this article I want to talk about the most popular adult attachment type, Secure.
If you haven’t already done so I invite you to take a personality test to see what attachment type you are. Start by completing the test on your self as this is who you know best and then you can do a test for your partner or your friends.
As a person with a secure attachment type you are generally deemed as stable. Your loving nature comes naturally to you. You can embrace full intimacy in a relationship without any push or pull. This also means you do not easily get upset when things don’t go your way. You are an exceptional communicator when it comes to identifying your partner's or your own needs. You share your success and problems with your partner and can often be there in time of need and support.
It can be rather boring talking about this type as they are generally very secure and stable and don’t cause much fuss. The behaviour of people with this type is generally very consistent and predictable. This means that a person with a secure attachment type doesn’t easily get riled in the face of any protest behavior. Just because someone with a secure attachment type is stable it doesn’t mean that the behavior can drift into one category or another or that you two may need some guidance.
Patrick Keeland from the university of Toronto did a study of a hundred students and focused on the attachment style of young adults. What they found was that couples in secure relationships are generally happier as a couple where as if two anxious individuals, or an anxious and an avoidant where together they were found to be significantly less happy. With notable consideration Keeland also looked at the couples where one was secure and the other was not. He observed that there was no notable difference between the secure mixed couple than the couples where both partners are secure in terms of overall satisfaction.
It's fascinating to see that dating someone with a secure attachment type creates a calming effect on the other partner and helps regulate the partners attachment system. This further proves that’s the higher frequencies of the stable individual help raise up their partner and also proves some of the theories we listed in the dependency paradox.
Secure partners are usually:
- Excellent communicators
- Good at stopping conflict
- Have a high degree of mental flexibility
- Don’t play games
- Comfortable with closeness
- Quick to forgive
- Responsible for partners well being
How can the other personality types learn to be more secure?
If you did the test and you and / or your partner is not secure there is some good news. Research suggests that 70 to 75 percent of the partners stay in the same attachment type. While large there is a 25 to 30 percent of the partners that have changed in attachment type. While not easy we can change our neurocircuitry and genetic expression.
We should pay special attention to these statistics. Secure individuals may think that being secure is good and you will never change however a powerful relationship can come into your life and change your attachment type. Just as a secure individual can change to an avoidant or anxious type the opposite can come true. With the right nurturing and support anxious and avoidants can become secure. Yes, there is a glimmer of hope. To those that are not fully secure take note: you have a lot to lose by being less secure.
A study from the Carnegie Mellone university studied the behavioural characteristics of all the attachment times and identified three common missing behaviours in the anxious and avoidant attachment characteristics. As I mentioned in my previous post about dependency, we become one as a couple. We owe it to ourselves and our partner to be the best we can be and help create a sense of security. We can grow and maintain security by following the three guidelines:
- Be Available: When your partner is in distress, we need to respond sensitivity to their needs. This means allowing them to be dependant on you. Check in on them periodically and provide them with some comfort.
- Don’t Interfere: You don’t need to micromanage your partners life in order to support them. You can help them in ways that leave them empowered to do their own thing.
- Provide Encouragement: We need to create an environment where both partners can grow. Accept personal growth and their goals and help support them. While yes, as a couple we become one we are also two individuals. Boost their self esteem and they will very likely support yours.
Secure individuals have problems to.
While we may view secure individuals as the superheroes in the world of relationships, they too have some downfalls. Secures often have a higher self esteem as a result they think there is many potential partners out there for them, as a result they have have tendency to move on too quick. The overlooking of their own confidence can be a downfall. Just as well their higher self esteem gives them more room to fall as a result, they may need more time to get back to the secure level as they too can fall into an anxious or avoidant attachment type.
With proper communication and building techniques we can all learn to be secure in our relationships. Not every relationship we are in is good at all times. There is times of adversity and we may, at times, display characteristics of all attachment types. Even if we look at the big picture we know that life truly is alright.
Keelan, J. P. R., Dion, K. L., & Dion, K. K. (1994). Attachment style and heterosexual relationships among young adults: A short-term panel study. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 11(2), 201-214.
Feeney BC, Thrush RL. Relationship influences on exploration in adulthood: the characteristics and function of a secure base. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2010 Jan;98(1):57-76. doi: 10.1037/a0016961. PubMed PMID: 20053031;