Attachment Theory Explains Why Your Relationships Fail

Attachment Theory Explains Why Relationships Fail

Attachment theory of relationships…… The beliefs you adopt in pursuing your relationships determines the type of relationships you end up with.

We are attracted to those who confirm the beliefs we hold about ourselves.

Meet Miguel. Miguel plays games, hides his true intentions, and manipulates women to stay in a relationship with him. His beliefs about relationships cause him to naturally attract women who also play games and manipulate people. His ex-girlfriend Jamie, who doesn’t play games, was attracted to Miguel initially, but by the third date, she grew sick of his behavior.

Miguel is seeing Susan now. She’s the only woman who stuck around because her life experiences taught her that being manipulated is normal in a relationship.

Meet Katherine. She treats herself poorly and has no self-respect. When she met Tom, a man who respected her, he quickly lost interest because she behaved in ways that made him see her as needy and helpless. Tom moved on within a few days.

Time and time again, my clients display clear patterns that what you believe about yourself and your romantic partners directly determines who you fall in love with and how healthy that relationship is.

Attachment Theory Explains Why Your Relationships Fail
Attachment Theory Explains Why Your Relationships Fail

This is due to the simple fact that human attraction is based on beliefs.

Does the man have good dad potential or is he just a CAD? Do you need to have mind-blowing sex to make love last? Do you tell your partner when you’re hurt, or do you just expect them to read your mind?

Every person has their own measuring stick on what must happen in a relationship, or what traits a person must have for them to fall in love.

The beliefs that make up your measuring stick of love also determine your values and expectations, which in turn reinforce your beliefs.

Most of us are oblivious to these beliefs, but they cause us to find ourselves in relationship after relationship with people we can’t trust. These are the same beliefs that cause us to call our partner 61 times in one night because we can’t focus on anything else besides the fear of them leaving us.

Related: 10 Reasons Why Some Relationships Fail While Others Are Totally Rocking It

It feels so real to us. Even when it looks crazy or needy when we call over and over, we can’t help it. Eventually we’re manifesting the fear our actions are trying to avoid and the relationship ends.

So where do these beliefs come from in the first place?

Our beliefs about ourselves and the world formed in our youth becomes a filter through which we see our adult life.

Enter Attachment Theory

Have you ever wondered why therapists are obsessed with learning about your childhood issues?

Countless studies have discovered similarities in the way people behave with their romantic partner as they did with their parents in their childhood.[1. It wasn’t until the 1980’s when Hazan and Shaver discovered that the interactions between adult romantic partners shared similarities to interactions between children and their caregivers.]

Famous researchers James Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth independently uncovered that the way we got our needs met when we are little, determine the beliefs we hold about what we deserve in love, how others should treat us, and how we should treat others in adulthood. Their research leads to the famous Attachment Theory, which became a psychological model to describe the dynamics of long-term interpersonal relationships.

Watch this video to know about attachment theory and how childhood affects life:

Related: Why Relationships Fail

Attachment Theory says that our early relationships with our parents, shape, but do not solidify our individual expectations of our later relationships.

It’s not that our childhood and adult relationships are identical, but that our close relationships in our childhood and the expectations we form about ourselves design a blueprint[2. In attachment psychology, this is called a working model. I wrote about it extensively here.] of how our adult relationships should be.

16 thoughts on “Attachment Theory Explains Why Your Relationships Fail”

  1. Avatar of Donn English

    I’ve been studying this for a couple years now, and I think what it unfortunately boils down to is learning to recognize somebody’s attachment style early and getting out quickly if it isn’t a match. You’ll drive yourself crazy thinking you can fix it.

    1. Avatar of Jannifer Stoddard

      So true. I’m fairly new to it. Wow, was it eye-opening when I read that book Attached by Amir Levine. Avoidants are the most toxic and usually have no desire to address anything. Toxic, even if it’s just business and you end up getting too close to them. Painful lesson!

    2. Avatar of Jannifer Stoddard

      Donn English have an extra copy of the book Attached if you happen to want it. I was going to give it to the avoidant in my life – but there was no interest in it (of course).

  2. Avatar of Jannifer Stoddard

    Some critical parts of this article is misleading. It states that anxious attachment style is the most toxic, which is not remotely correct. The BEST on this subject is the book – Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find and Keep Love by Amir Levine. This is by far one of the very best accurate and most enlightening books on the subject attachment theory.

  3. Avatar of Jannifer Stoddard

    Whoever wrote this needs to read the book – Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find and Keep Love by Amir Levine. This is by far one of the very best accurate and most enlightening books on the subject attachment theory.
    The AVOIDANT attachment style is the most toxic attachment style of all – NOT the anxious attachment style. It’s virtually impossible or very rare for an avoidant to change, as they have no desire to do so. Plus they can have other severe personality disorders, mental illnesses and chronic drug use along for the ride that makes it a horrifically toxic mix that cannot be matched by anything else.
    It’s unfortunate that misleading information is being put out there (pinging Anxious types as being the most toxic) that would end up not helping people. If people can just read the book Attached by Amir Levine, that will set them on a life-giving enlightened track to wholeness. Anyone – secure types or anxious types need to completely disconnect from the most toxic (avoidant) type to save their own sanity and distance themselves from the toxicity of the avoidant as much as possible. They generally cannot be helped or saved and will be extraordinarily harmful, causing deep wounding to whomever is unfortunate enough to get tangled up with them.

  4. Avatar of Edith Stein

    I’m blocked again from ‘Laugh or Croak’. Apparently I have to live with the idea that the whole world considers me some kind of wastebin for all the negative things they can think about attributing to people.

  5. Avatar of Edith Stein

    A secure attachment style requires too much maturity for some people and doesn’t fit in with their avoiding strategies treating people.

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