Written By:Amber Hollingsworth,LPC
Do You and Your Partner Fight Over Emotional and Physical Intimacy?
What’s Your Love Style?
In the 1950’s this lady named Mary Ainsworth conducted this study called the “Strange Situation”. She had moms bring their children (babies and toddlers) into a room full of toys. The kids would play with the toys, and then the researcher would have the mother leave the room to see how the children reacted. Most all of the children cried in protest of their mothers leaving. But there appeared to be variations in how the children responded when the mother came back into the room. Some of the children continued to cry and be upset for a long time. They would cling to their mom but stayed upset. Other children seemed more contented after their mother would pick them up and reassure them. The third group of children seemed to be punishing the mother by pulling their affection away from her. From this research comes the basis of our knowledge on Adult Attachment Style.
There are 3 main attachment styles referred to as Anxious, Avoidant, and Secure.
Adults with an anxious attachment style worry A LOT about their romantic relationships. They often feel that their partner can’t or doesn’t love them back as much as they love them. The require a lot of reassurance about the relationship to keep their anxiety at bay.
Individuals with Avoidant Attachment Style have commitment issues and keep distance between themselves and their partner. They don’t like to rely on others or be relied upon. They may get bored easily in relationships and find fault with small things.
People with a Secure Attachment Style are somewhere in the middle. These individuals are comfortable with closeness but still maintain a fair amount of autonomy. They’re not scared of commitment, but they also don’t feel like they can’t live without a relationship either.
Lots of the fights are really about negotiating the level of emotional and physical intimacy that they each require. Love,
For example, the wife that gets angry at her husband because he never calls or texts her during the day, is likely an Anxious Attachment Style and needs more reassurance.
If you’re in a relationship with a person who has the same attachment style, that likely works well. However Anxious and Avoidant Attachment Style people tend to really trigger each other. A couple with this combination will likely have great difficulty. Secure Attachment Style People can create healthy relationships with all three types of attachment styles, but may have difficulty finding others that are as secure as they are in the relationship.
Understanding this concept can help you better understand you and your partners intimacy needs. The better you can negotiate this the less fights you’ll have!