Attachment Style and Breakup - The Complete Guide (2023)

Attachment Style and Breakup


“Hearts will never be practical until they are made unbreakable.”

There’s clearly an intentional irony to this quote from The Wizard of Oz; hearts weren’t designed to be unbreakable by nature. So in the midst of heartache, many of us behave far from practically.

Breakups often shake us to our core, cause us self-doubt, lower our self-esteem, and create a strong sense of failure or guilt. This reaction is down to the fact that most of us enter into a relationship with “forever” as the ultimate goal, so when a partnership ends, we typically mourn the loss of the person we cared about, as well as what “could have been.”

Yet, how we process our emotions in the aftermath of a breakup, the way we view our past relationships, and our ability to move on from them are dynamically impacted by our attachment styles.

So, how do the different attachment styles affect our ability to reflect on how we acted within a relationship, and move on from them healthily?

To answer this question, we will discuss:

  • Why attachment styles influence how we respond to breakups
  • How the secure attachment style impacts our reaction to breakups
  • The effect of the avoidant attachment style on breakups and getting back together
  • Possible drawbacks and benefits of the anxious attachment style after a breakup
  • The influence of the disorganized attachment style on relationships and breakups

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How Your Attachment Style Can Influence Your Breakup

Breakups, like any other stressful life event, can have a major impact on our mental health and well-being. As a result of heartbreak, we may experience issues such as depression, anxiety, sleep imbalances, and even feelings of grief. Of course, there are individual differences in how we cope and emotionally adjust in the aftermath of a breakup.

Many of us are aware of how our attachment styles can influence how we act within a relationship. Yet, not all of us credit them for how we cope with our emotions when relationships end.

What Are Attachment Styles?

There are four attachment styles: one secure and three insecure (avoidant, anxious, and disorganized).

According to Bowlby’s Attachment Theory, the attachment styles we personally develop depends on the bond we form with our caregivers in our early years. Essentially, how we connect with our caregivers shapes our understanding of ourselves and others and turns into a template for how we view the world and fit into it. This template (attachment style) influences our thoughts, feelings, and actions throughout our lifespans – including how we behave in (and after) relationships.

If our caregivers make themselves available to us as children and respond to our needs sensitively, then we likely develop a secure attachment. Comparatively, if caregivers are inconsistent, rejecting, or neglecting of our needs, we may develop an insecure attachment style. As adults, these attachment styles impact how we emotionally respond to life stressors – including breakups.

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There are four attachment styles: one secure and three insecure (avoidant, anxious, and disorganized).


According to Bowlby’s Attachment Theory, the attachment styles we personally develop depends on the bond we form with our caregivers in our early years. Essentially, how we connect with our caregivers shapes our understanding of ourselves and others and turns into a template for how we view the world and fit into it. This template (attachment style) influences our thoughts, feelings, and actions throughout our lifespans – including how we behave in (and after) relationships.

If our caregivers make themselves available to us as children and respond to our needs sensitively, then we likely develop a secure attachment. Comparatively, if caregivers are inconsistent, rejecting, or neglecting of our needs, we may develop an insecure attachment style. As adults, these attachment styles impact how we emotionally respond to life stressors – including breakups.

Secure Attachment and Breakup

Breakups are hard on everyone – regardless of our attachment styles. However, because someone with a secure attachment grew up in an environment in which their needs were met, they felt safe, protected, and valued. Secure attachers have a positive outlook on themselves and others, and are able to manage their intense emotions in balanced, healthy ways.

For these reasons, in the direct aftermath of a breakup, although a secure attacher may be feeling heartache – especially if they weren’t the instigator of the breakup – their pain may be alleviated by their attachment style.

How can secure attachment alleviate
breakup distress?

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1. Prevent the breakup

Interestingly, people with the secure attachment style don’t experience as many breakups in general as do the other attachment styles.

This finding could be due to the fact that when a secure attacher senses that their partner may be considering ending the relationship, they typically don’t over or under-react. They have the ability to remain calm and talk through issues in the relationship with their partner. This ability to regulate emotions and demonstrate care and concern to their loved one may potentially even reduce the risk of the breakup in the first place.

2. Reach out for support when heartbroken

Yet, when a secure attacher does experience a breakup, they are typically aware of and able to communicate their feelings openly and honestly. Therefore, they are more likely to reach out to their family and friends for support in their times of need.

For this reason, although they may be feeling heartbroken, their distress is alleviated by their ability to communicate their needs to their support system.

3. Ditch the negative self-talk

Due to their solid foundations in life, secure attachers generally have more confidence in themselves – they believe that they are worthy of love. So, after a relationship ends, they are less likely to spiral into self-blame.

In fact, someone with a secure attachment style may be able to view the breakup objectively and see that there was a reason for it in the first place. Thus, they may be able to learn from why the relationship didn’t work out and apply their new knowledge to future connections.

Avoidant Attachment and Breakup

Someone with an avoidant attachment style in relationships likely grew up with caregivers that they perceived to be rejecting of their need for intimacy and affection. In response to this sense of repeated rejection, the child ultimately shuts down their attachment system. Consequently, adults with an avoidant attachment style can come across as cold and aloof in romantic relationships. This reaction is due to the fact that they have a defensive mode in place which protects them from feeling rebuffed in their adult life.

However, this avoidance of emotional closeness also manifests in avoidant attachment breakup.

How can avoidant attachment affect
breakup distress – Avoidant avoidant breakup stages

1. Initiate the breakup & suppress negative emotions

To begin with, avoidant attachers are more likely to instigate a breakup, as they typically prefer to keep relationships on a surface level and avoid confrontations with their partners.

However, regardless of whether they are the instigator of a breakup or not, avoidant attachers tend to repress or avoid expression of their intense emotions in the aftermath. This response isn’t to suggest that avoidant attachers don’t feel the pain of a breakup – they do. They’re just prone to pushing down their heartbreak and attempting to carry on with life as normal.

2. Avoid self-reflection & hinder personal growth

As a result of turning off their emotions, avoidant attachers are not likely to over-reflect on why a relationship didn’t work out.

Yet, interestingly, this reaction means that avoidant attachers may struggle to move on from previous relationships as quickly as they could if they had dealt with their emotions head-on.

Furthermore, as children, avoidant attachers created a positive self-view as a defense mechanism for their negative environment. As adults, this confident opinion of themselves can inhibit the ability to reflect honestly on personal downfalls within a relationship. Therefore, an avoidant attacher’s positive self-view can deprive them of the opportunity to grow in the aftermath of a breakup.

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Do avoidants regret breaking up?

Intriguingly, avoidant attachers may only repress their upset and distress in the direct aftermath of a breakup. In contrast to anxious attachers, who typically brood and focus on why a relationship ended when it initially happens, avoidant attachers may only do so after considerable time has passed. This delayed brooding may impede an avoidant attacher’s willingness to meet new potential partners, as well as experience relationship satisfaction down the line.

Avoidant attachers may also engage in counterfactual thinking after time has passed since the breakup. This type of “if only” thinking may cause someone with this attachment style to wonder what might have been if only they had acted differently. However, for the most part, counterfactual thinking isn’t helpful, because the event has already occurred – therefore, it’s impossible to change it. Instead, it may benefit an avoidant attacher to try and learn from their previous actions and apply their newfound knowledge to current or future relationships.

In spite of the fact that avoidants may regret breaking up, they may regard their ex-partner negatively, and convince themselves that the breakup was their ex’s fault. Thus, they may talk themselves into thinking that the breakup was the best decision they ever made.

However, regardless of whether avoidant attachers regret a breakup or not, they’re still not likely to attempt to reestablish the relationship.

(Video) Why Avoidant and Anxious Partners Find It Hard to Split Up

How to get over an avoidant partner

Due to the fact that someone with an avoidant attachment style is more likely to end a relationship because it’s starting to become serious, combined with their reluctance to re-establish a romantic connection, many people may be wondering how to get over an avoidant partner.

If you’re struggling in the aftermath of a breakup with an avoidant partner, the following steps may help you move on from the relationship:

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Step #1: Assess your level of satisfaction within the relationship

Oftentimes, we’re prone to sticking with a relationship that isn’t technically working out, because it’s catering to some subconscious desire – such as that of feeling connected or attached to someone. However, if this is the case, then it’s likely that some – or many – of our needs weren’t being fulfilled by the partnership.

Before you jump into attempting to reestablish a connection with an ex, perhaps do a cost/benefit analysis of the relationship. Taking such a practical observation may reduce the intense emotions you may be feeling as a result of the breakup. Consider factors such as:

  • How much time your partner was willing to dedicate to you
  • Whether they were willing to be intimate and disclose emotions
  • If they were inclined to commit to you in the long term
  • And practical elements of the relationship such as age, occupation, and location

At the end of the exercise, you may be able to more clearly see how your ex wasn’t satisfying your needs.

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Step #2: Avoid contact with your avoidant ex

This isn’t some manipulative strategy designed to get your avoidant ex’s attention. Instead, it’s to bring awareness to how you may manage breakups based on your own attachment style. For example, if you’re high in attachment anxiety, then you’re prone to attempts at reestablishing the relationship. However, doing so may place you in a vicious cycle of reunion and rejection, so it’s best to reflect on why the relationship ended and move on with your life.

Step #3: Process your feelings

Secure attachers process their heartache by discussing their intense feelings with their family and trusted friends. If you wish to get over your avoidant ex, then it may be necessary for you to explore your emotions by discussing them with someone you trust. In some instances, you may find that therapy is the best avenue for you to process how you’re feeling after a breakup.

In case you still decide to give a second chance to you ex, you may find useful our tips on how to date someone with avoidant attachment!

Anxious Attachment and Breakup

Someone with an anxious attachment style likely grew up in an environment where intimacy and affection were given inconsistently. Thus, as an adult, an anxious attacher will do everything in their power to be close and intimate with a romantic partner. They require affection and emotional affinity so as to feel safe and secure in a relationship. In turn, this need also affects anxious attachment breakups.

Anxious attachment breakup stages

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1. Sensitivity towards relationship threats

Even before a breakup actually occurs, someone with anxious attachment in relationships may be more sensitive to the fact that it’s impending as they’re prone to any indications of abandonment or rejection from their partner.

Moreover, picking up on these issues in the relationship may create further conflict and drive it towards its end.

2. Intense negative reactions when a relationship ends

After a breakup, someone with the anxious attachment style often feels intense pain and longing for their ex-partner. This reaction is due to their attachment system being activated by feelings of abandonment and rejection. Therefore, it is even more intense in cases where the anxious attacher wasn’t the instigator of the breakup.

This highly negative response may even lead to depressive symptoms and anxiety in the immediate aftermath of a breakup. So, the anxious attacher often responds to breakups by attempting to restore their feelings of safety and security.

(Video) What Is Your Attachment Style?

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3. Urge to get back together with the ex

The anxious attacher may feel like ending the relationship was unwarranted. Therefore, they may try to figure out ways to get back together with their partner and restore the attachment bond. However, doing so often leads to cycles of making up and breaking up.

What’s more, not only might the anxious attacher experience a loss of identity as they may be willing to change who they are in an attempt to coerce their partner into reuniting, but it also reduces their chances of being able to move on with their lives and establish a relationship in which they feel safe and secure.

4. Rumination & jealousy

Anxious attachers are prone to preoccupation with why the breakup occurred in the first place. Although this is quite a common reaction for most people, anxious attachers may struggle to get past this stage and their hypervigilant behaviors and anxious attachment jealousy may even be triggered. As a result, they experience intense distress and may even be prone to jealous and aggressive behavior towards their ex-partner.

The anxious attacher may also overanalyze their own behavior during the relationship, as well as that of their ex-partner, in an attempt to find answers to why the breakup occurred in the first place.

Having said as much, there actually are positives to how an anxious attacher handles breakups…

Three benefits of having an anxious
attachment style in breakups

Many people report the negatives after a breakup with a romantic partner; prolonged feelings of upset, difficulties sleeping, intense emotions such as sadness and anger, taking care of ourselves less, and an overall decline in life satisfaction are common reactions.

However, not many people discuss the potential positives of a relationship ending – but there’s much to suggest that there’s truth to Frederich Nietzsche’s adage: “That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” as those of us high in attachment anxiety may be able to evolve for the better after a breakup in contrast to those high in attachment avoidance.

I. Personal growth & positive change

People high in attachment anxiety appear to be able to see the silver linings of a breakup and are thus able to grow from the experience. This personal growth may be due to how anxious attachers emotionally respond in the direct aftermath of a breakup:

An anxious attacher’s enhanced distress after a breakup promotes brooding and reflection on the relationship and why it ended, potentially offering them a sense of insight into what went wrong and why. Their tendency towards low self-esteem and negative self-perceptions may cause the anxious attacher to blame themselves for the breakup and potentially motivate them towards positive change. In other words, an anxious attacher’s intense focus on their personal downfalls and how they affected their relationship may help them confront their issues and process them.

II. Moving on & establishing new connections

People high in attachment anxiety may be able to move on from past relationships quicker than those high in attachment avoidance.

After anxious attachers process their distress, they typically feel emotionally capable of rebounding into another relationship. This new experience often allows them to establish a renewed sense of connectedness and security, as well as focus on something other than “pining” over their ex. However, it may take some time before an anxious attacher feels emotionally ready to rebound.

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III. Self-development & better future relationships

Anxious attachers are more likely to experience future romantic success after a breakup.
It may also be the case that anxious attachers experience future relationship satisfaction and personal success as a result of the breakup experience. Their fear of subsequent relationship failure may encourage them to develop skills that allow them to maintain future relationships more successfully and, therefore, increase the likelihood that they will experience long, stable, and happy relationships down the line.

Disorganized Attachment and Breakup

A disorganized attachment is rooted in a childhood of perceived fear. In some cases, a child may have experienced neglect, abuse, or trauma or perhaps witnessed their caregiver acting this way towards others. Either way, the disorganized attacher struggled to make sense of their caregiver’s actions – they simultaneously desired love and affection from them, while also fearing what the caregiver was capable of.

Adults with a disorganized attachment style tend to continue to struggle to understand the way other people behave. Consequently, the disorganized attacher lacks a coherent approach to how they act around their romantic partners; they often seek out affection and intimacy, and then push it away as soon as it is offered.

This lack of consistent behavior is also evident in disorganized attachment breakups.

How does disorganized attachment
impact breakups?

By nature, someone with a disorganized attachment typically swaps between the traits of the anxious and avoidant attachment styles depending on their current mood and circumstances, for this reason, it is not always possible to identify the stages of disorganized break up.

1. Mixture of intense affect and emotional inhibition

Thus, someone with a disorganized attachment style may be prone to strong feelings of distress, anxiety, and even depressive symptoms after a breakup. However, they are also capable of bottling up these feelings and closing themselves off from others – but this may be an important defensive strategy for the disorganized attacher. Ultimately, a disorganized attacher may struggle to reflect on what happened within the relationship that led to the breakup, so they may accept the outcome passively.

However, depending on the extent to which a disorganized attacher falls on the dimensions of anxious and avoidant attachment, they may be able to positively grow from a breakup.

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2. Potential to learn and grow from the experience

If the disorganized attacher allows themself to brood and reflect on the issues in their previous relationship, they may develop a sense of insight into their actions. If they deem themselves to be responsible for the breakup (which their low self-esteem may cause them to), then they may be able to alter their patterns of behavior for the better in future relationships.

Therefore, the disorganized attacher may be more likely to experience success in future relationships.

3. Need to discover the right approach to healing

When it comes to disorganized attachment, there really isn’t a “one size fits all” approach. Therefore, if someone with a disorganized attachment is struggling with their intense emotions after a breakup, or else feeling strangely “flat,” it’s important that they process their heartbreak in a way that suits them best.

Seeking professional help, talking to a trusted loved one, or engaging in activities that help them to connect with who they truly are at their core may help a disorganized attacher to recognize the patterns in their behavior. Furthermore, doing so may help them create strategies that prevent the past from repeating itself and facilitate healthy, supportive future relationships.

(Video) 8 Signs of an Anxious Attachment Style

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Final Thoughts on Attachment Styles and Breakup

Regardless of whether we are more prone to an anxious- or avoidant-driven response to a breakup, it’s important to recognize our patterns in the aftermath of a relationship ending if we wish to grow from the experience. Self-reflection, as well as allowing ourselves to grieve for the loss of a relationship, may promote positive change in our lives, as well as increase our chances of future relationships and personal satisfaction.

Remember, if you are struggling to get past your negative emotions following a breakup, there are mental health professionals who are trained to help you process your feelings, reflect on the relationship, and even see the potential positives for the future. Our guide on therapies may help you find the form of therapy best suited to you.

Curious to learn more about your attachment style?

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Collins, T., & Gillath, O. (2012). Attachment, breakup strategies, and associated outcomes: The effects of security enhancement on the selection of breakup strategies. Journal of Research in Personality, 46(2), 210-222.

Civilotti, C., Dennis, J.L., Maran, D.A., & Margola, D. (2021). When Love Just Ends: An Investigation of the Relationship Between Dysfunctional Behaviors, Attachment Styles, Gender, and Education Shortly After a Relationship Dissolution. Frontiers in Psychology, 2130.

Davis, D., Shaver, P. R., & Vernon, M. L. (2003). Physical, emotional, and behavioral reactions to breaking up: The roles of gender, age, emotional involvement, and attachment style. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29(7), 871-884.

Heshmati, R., Zemestani, M., & Vujanovic, A. (2021). Associations of Childhood Maltreatment and Attachment Styles with Romantic Breakup Grief Severity: The Role of Emotional Suppression. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 1-22.

Hoffman, W. (2020). Communication Modes During Romantic Dissolution: The Impact of Attachment and Intimacy on Initiator Breakup Strategies. Interpersona: An International Journal on Personal Relationships, 14(2), 87-103.

Koh, E., Park, T.Y., & Park, Y. (2021). Attachment and Romantic Relationship Dissolution: A Case Study of Family Therapy. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 41(4), 393-410.

Marshall, T.C., Bejanyan, K., & Ferenczi, N. (2013). Attachment Styles and Personal Growth following Romantic Breakups: The Mediating Roles of Distress, Rumination, and Tendency to Rebound. PLoS ONE, 8(9), e75161.

Retana-Franco, B.E., & Sanchez-Aragon, R. (2020). The impact of emotional attachment and culture on the breakup strategies perceived by the abandoned. Acta Colombiana de Psicología, 23(1), 66-77.

Sbarra, D. A., & Emery, R. E. (2005). The emotional sequelae of nonmarital relationship dissolution: Analysis of change and intraindividual variability over time. Personal Relationships, 12, 213–232.

(Video) The 4 Attachment Styles Explained | What’s Yours?

Spielmann, S. S., Macdonald, G., & Wilson, A. E. (2009). On the rebound: Focusing on someone new helps anxiously attached individuals let go of ex-partners. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35(10), 1382-1394.

Van der Watt, A. S., Roos, A., Du Plessis, S., Bui, E., Lesch, E., & Seedat, S. (2022). An Attachment Theory Approach to Reframing Romantic Relationship Breakups in University Students: A Narrative Review of Attachment, Neural Circuitry, and Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 21(2), 129-150.


How do you break an attachment style? ›

How can you fix an anxious attachment style?
  1. Recognizing the signs and understanding attachment theory. ...
  2. Practice learning from others with a secure attachment. ...
  3. Build your self-esteem and, in turn, how to express your needs and emotions authentically. ...
  4. Learn to not react by using self-regulation and mindfulness. ...
  5. Therapy.
Dec 6, 2022

What is the hardest attachment style to deal with? ›

Most attachment specialists believe that the disorganized attachment style is the most difficult of the three insecure attachment styles to treat because it incorporates both the anxious and the avoidant styles.

Can a breakup affect your attachment style? ›

Secure, anxious, and avoidant attachment styles are differentially related to post-breakup emotional adjustment. Secure individuals tend to face relationship breakups with greater resilience, acceptance, and emotional recovery than do insecure individuals [19], [20].

How do attachment Avoidants deal with a break-up? ›

Intriguingly, avoidant attachers may only repress their upset and distress in the direct aftermath of a breakup. In contrast to anxious attachers, who typically brood and focus on why a relationship ended when it initially happens, avoidant attachers may only do so after considerable time has passed.

Do avoidants avoid intimacy? ›

Avoidant attachment types are extremely independent, self-directed, and often uncomfortable with intimacy. They're commitment-phobes and experts at rationalizing their way out of any intimate situation. They regularly complain about feeling “crowded” or “suffocated” when people try to get close to them.

How do you heal attachment trauma? ›

One of the best things you can do for healing attachment trauma is to try trauma-focused psychotherapy. You can read about effective types of therapy for trauma here. If you're looking for a therapist, consider checking out Psych Central's Find a Therapist resource for support in starting your therapeutic journey.

What attachment style do narcissists have? ›

Narcissists have an “avoidant” attachment style and most people who are strongly affected by a narcissist are of the “anxious” attachment style.

Which attachment style cheats the most? ›

According to psychologists, people with avoidant attachment styles are individuals uncomfortable with intimacy and are therefore more likely to multiply sexual encounters and cheat.

Which attachment style is manipulative? ›

Machiavellian personalities are scheming and deceitful by nature, and very manipulative in relationships. People with certain attachment styles — namely disorganized and anxious-avoidant — are more prone to developing Machiavellian personalities.

Do Avoidants miss you after breakup? ›

Yes, the dismissive avoidant misses you, but they miss you later on. In the beginning they're going to be relieved that they have their freedom. They can get their independence back and they get to go and do what they want to do without having to answer any questions to anybody.

Do Avoidants come back after they broke up with you? ›

We have found that on average a fearful avoidant will not initiate a reconnection with you. However, there is a window of time where they do consider it and if you time it right you can get them to come back if that's what you want.

Why do securely attached people break up? ›

“Essentially, secure attachment styles use breakups as an opportunity to understand what they need in a relationship in order to be happy,” says relationship expert Monica Parikh, who adds the these learnings can inform what these people do and don't want in future partnerships.

Do Avoidants push away people they love? ›

Fearful-Avoidant Attachment

They desperately want to feel connected but have a hard time trusting others. They tend to rely on themselves and often see themselves as abandoned, but they push people away, in actuality. There is a constant fear that their partner will view them in a negative light and leave.

Do Avoidants care when you leave? ›

But their need for independence is often more potent than their fear of rejection. As a result, dismissive avoidants will likely feel relief when you leave them, regardless of whether they still have feelings for you.

How do fearful Avoidants feel after a breakup? ›

"Fearful avoidant attachment individuals will probably feel like they 'deserve' the breakup, that it was inevitable, and they aren't likely to follow up with questions or to try to reignite the relationship," says Holland. They may be despondent one day, and cold and disconnected the next.

What are avoidants like in bed? ›

Considering that sex typically requires physical and psychological proximity, it can evoke discomfort in avoidant individuals. Therefore, adults with this attachment style often don't enjoy their sexual experiences. They are also not likely to enjoy passionate and affectionate foreplay.

Are Avoidants scared of being alone? ›

Studies have found that avoidant attachers are less likely to date or seek relationships. In other words, they are more prone to having smaller social circles and, thus, may stay single for longer periods of time. Avoidant attachers are thus more susceptible to social loneliness and isolation.

How do Avoidants show they love you? ›

They Willingly Spend More Time With You

However, when an avoidant loves you, they will start to let you into their free time more often. Spending time with you, even if it's just doing nothing together, is a strong sign an avoidant is comfortable around you.

What childhood trauma causes attachment issues? ›

Attachment trauma may occur if there are traumatic experiences in the home while a baby is forming the bond, and it also may result from the absence of the primary caregiver, such as from divorce, serious illness, or death.

How long does it take to heal attachment styles? ›

That said, most people will feel complete with their work after 1-2 years of weekly therapy to change your attachment style. Even after therapy, you will likely need to work to understand and adjust your behaviors in relationships throughout your lifetime.

How do you get rid of severe attachment issues? ›

Five ways to overcome attachment insecurity
  1. Get to know your attachment pattern by reading up on attachment theory. ...
  2. If you don't already have a great therapist with expertise in attachment theory, find one. ...
  3. Seek out partners with secure attachment styles. ...
  4. If you didn't find such a partner, go to couples therapy.
Feb 13, 2014

Do Avoidants lack empathy? ›

Because of this emotional distancing, they tend to be less empathic toward people in need (Joireman, Needham, & Cummings, 2001; Wayment, 2006). Further, avoidant people tend to respond negatively to their partner's emotions because those emotions can signal that they need more attention and intimacy.

Are avoidants emotionally abusive? ›

Abuse at the hands of someone with an avoidant personality disorder often includes psychological and emotional abuse. Don't be afraid to reach out for help, pursue support groups for loved ones, seek your own therapy, separate, or leave the relationship completely. Your sanity depends on it.

What trauma bonding with a narcissist does? ›

Trauma bonding occurs when a narcissist repeats a cycle of abuse with another person which fuels a need for validation and love from the person being abused. Trauma bonding often happens in romantic relationships, however, it can also occur between colleagues, non-romantic family members, and friends.

Which attachment style is most jealous? ›

Some studies showed that differences in attachment styles seem to influence both the frequency and the patterns of jealousy expression: individuals with the preoccupied or fearful-avoidant attachment styles more often become jealous and consider rivals as more threatening than those with the secure attachment style [9, ...

Which attachment style is most promiscuous? ›

Avoidant Attachment Style

Out of all three types, the avoidant individuals get the most out of casual sex and they're also the most likely to engage in casual sex.

What is the healthiest attachment style? ›

Secure attachment is known as the healthiest of all attachment styles.

Which attachment style is needy? ›

People with an ambivalent attachment style (also referred to as “anxious-preoccupied,” “ambivalent-anxious,” or simply “anxious attachment”) tend to be overly needy. As the labels suggest, people with this attachment style are often anxious and uncertain, lacking in self-esteem.

Which attachment style is codependent? ›

Anxious attachment is what is most often referred to as codependent. Those with anxious attachment often feel as though they would like to be close to others or one person in particular but they worry that another person may not want to be close to them. They struggle with feeling inferior, never good enough.

What attachment style are abusers? ›

Abusive partners often display a fourth attachment style, a fearful attachment. Like anxious-preoccupied individuals, they don't expect adults to be responsive to their needs which in turn gives rise to anxiety.

Do Avoidants regret pushing you away? ›

Do Avoidants regret pushing you away? The fearful avoidant will typically go through a period of euphoria after a breakup due to their newfound freedom from the confines of the relationship. However, that doesn't mean they won't eventually regret the breakup.

How long do Avoidants pull away for? ›

So a lot of the times you'll see them recover within the next three to five days so leaving them alone is really a great way to deal with the situation. Of course, it's always easier said than done especially when many of our clients have anxious attachment styles.

Do Avoidants miss you when you move on? ›

Do Avoidants miss you when you move on? Yes, the dismissive avoidant misses you, but they miss you later on. In the beginning they're going to be relieved that they have their freedom. They can get their independence back and they get to go and do what they want to do without having to answer any questions to anybody.

Will an avoidant reach out after no contact? ›

They're always looking for the red flags, and they will find them, so when you go no contact with the dismissive avoidant, don't expect them to reach out to you. They won't text you because likely when you were in a relationship with them, you were the one to initiate most of the contact.

How do Avoidants act after a breakup? ›

Avoidants will use many justifications (to themselves as well as others) to avoid exposing these basic truths. They have fewer break-up regrets and feel relieved at leaving their partner, but will then seek out someone the same.

How long should I do no contact with an avoidant? ›

In closing, I just want to say going no contact works with pretty much every attachment style, but it's different for the fearful avoidant. You have to give it that time of three to four weeks in order for them to start to feel those emotions for you again and actually get back into their activated state.

Why avoidant and anxious partners find it hard to split up? ›

For a time, there is bliss – and it seems that the couple are headed for long-term happiness. Liberated from their anxiety around engulfment, the avoidant partner gives free expression to love; liberated from their fear of abandonment, the anxious one is left feeling secure and trusting.

Do securely attached people have affairs? ›

Both avoidant and anxious attachment are both insecure types of attachment. Just over 50% of people are securely attached to their partner. The securely attached are the least likely to be unfaithful as they do not worry about their partner straying or the strength of the relationship.

How do securely attached people text? ›

When your potential mate is Securely Attached, you will likely find him or her texting in a responsive, but non-overwhelming way. If they are interested in you, you will be able to tell because of their attentive nature and ability to share information about their lives with you.

Why do Avoidants suddenly disappear? ›

Avoidant-attachment style personalities aren't emotionally mature enough to tell their partner the truth about how they feel, so they disappear when they become threatened with feeling vulnerable or close to someone.

Do Avoidants want to come back? ›

Dismissive avoidants tend to circle back to the familiarity of a relationship, and sometimes you may find that a dismissive avoidant keeps coming back again and again. Returning to the familiarity of a relationship doesn't always mean a dismissive avoidant wants to get back together.

How do you respond when avoidant pulls away? ›

Give them space when they pull away. Avoidants need lots of space to feel comfortable in a relationship. Since they're afraid of commitment, spending too much time with them will make them feel smothered. When they start to grow distant, respect their need for time apart, even though it might be hard.

How do you win an Avoidants heart? ›

We spoke with relationship experts to learn about ways you can increase your connection with an avoidant partner.
  1. Be patient. ...
  2. Create an atmosphere of safety. ...
  3. Respect cultural differences. ...
  4. Try to understand how they view 'needs' ...
  5. Avoid controlling their behaviors. ...
  6. If possible, offer alone time. ...
  7. Try not to interrupt their space.

How do dismissive avoidants handle breakups? ›

The dismissive avoidant tends to ruminate on the break-up for quite a while. To the anxious preoccupied, that's going to look to them as if the person just doesn't care, but that's not the case. They need the time to sit with their feelings and understand if the break-up was an overreaction or not.

Are Avoidants afraid of abandonment? ›

People with an avoidant attachment style believe that they can only rely on themselves for comfort and support because they have learned that others could not be relied upon to meet their critical needs. Seeking help from others evokes a powerful fear of being abandoned, rejected, or disappointed.

What are fearful avoidants attracted to? ›

People who develop a fearful avoidant attachment style often desire closeness. They seek intimacy from partners. However, they may be unable to achieve the deep connection they long for. That's because their attachment experiences have taught them to be fearful of intimacy.

What do fearful Avoidants want in a relationship? ›

A person with a fearful avoidant attachment style may crave closeness and reassurance from their partner, fearing that they will abandon them. In another instance, they may begin to feel trapped or afraid of how close they are with their partner and attempt to distance themselves.

Why do avoidants ignore text messages? ›

During the initial stages of getting to know someone, avoidants typically avoid texting. You'll find that they don't text too much. They need time and space to get to know you before they can text you more freely. Avoid bombarding them with texts during this stage.

Can you cure your attachment style? ›

Changing your attachment style is possible, but it does take work. It may help to seek the advice of a professional. A therapist can help uncover the cause of your attachment style and provide tools and techniques to form more secure bonds.

How long does it take to change attachment style? ›

That said, most people will feel complete with their work after 1-2 years of weekly therapy to change your attachment style. Even after therapy, you will likely need to work to understand and adjust your behaviors in relationships throughout your lifetime.

How long do attachment styles last? ›

Most people know your attachment style is built in childhood and typically maintained throughout your life, and the goal is always to be securely attached.

What triggers your attachment style? ›

What Are the Triggers of Anxious Attachment. Going back to childhood experiences, it's thought that people with anxious attachment lacked a safe, loving parental relationship. This could be because of emotional neglect, abuse, abandonment, inconsistent parenting or an inattentiveness to needs.

What triggers anxious attachment style? ›

The following might be emotional triggers in a relationship for someone with anxious attachment: A partner behaving inconsistently. When a partner seems distant or distracted. If a partner forgets important events, such as their birthday or anniversary.

How do you get over attachment issues in a relationship? ›

10 Ways to heal your attachment issues in a relationship
  1. Learn more about attachment styles. ...
  2. Determine what your style is. ...
  3. Know your boundaries and expectations. ...
  4. Talk to your partner. ...
  5. Work with a therapist. ...
  6. Work on yourself. ...
  7. Write down your thoughts. ...
  8. Don't keep to yourself.
Nov 15, 2022

Can your attachment style change after a bad relationship? ›

In adulthood

Relational trauma has significant potential to impact our attachment styles. Experiences such as bullying or an emotionally or physically abusive relationship can be sources of relational trauma that can trigger shifts in our attachment behavior system.

Can you move from attachment to love? ›

Positive emotional attachment can develop into love, as mentioned above. But negative attachments can both cause or be caused by mental health conditions.

Why are anxious attracted to Avoidants? ›

The anxiously attached person craves more connection and closeness and feels triggered by the avoidant person pulling away. Meanwhile the avoidant person feels triggered by the anxious person's desire for closeness because they themselves value their independence and freedom and fear being consumed.

How do Avoidants show love? ›

They Make Small Gestures to Show They Care

Small is safe for avoidants, so look for little gestures that actually took them a great deal of courage to perform. This doesn't mean they don't care — it's just the safest way for them to express their love.

At what age does attachment peak? ›

It can start at around 6-7 months and reach its peak in children aged 14-18 months. It usually goes away gradually throughout early childhood. Fear of strangers is similar to separation anxiety. It's when children get upset around people they don't know.

What is the most common attachment style? ›

The secure attachment style is the most common type of attachment in western society. Research suggests that around 66% of the US population is securely attached. People who have developed this type of attachment are self-contented, social, warm, and easy to connect to.

Do anxious attachment push people away? ›

Dating with an anxious attachment style

D., says. In an attempt to hold onto their partner, they may end up pushing them away. "People who are anxiously attached often come off as emotionally needy," Wegner says. Rather than communicating their needs, though, they tend to act on them.

What causes dismissing attachment style? ›

The Cause of Dismissive Avoidant Attachment

Dismissive parenting: It's believed that dismissive-avoidant attachment occurs because a baby or small child doesn't get the attention or care they need from their parents or caregivers.

Why did I develop attachment issues? ›

Causes of attachment issues

Their caregiver responds inconsistently or is unreliable in their care. The child has multiple or changing primary caregivers or insensitive caregivers. The child experiences neglect. They experience trauma.


1. The Science of Love, Desire and Attachment | Huberman Lab Podcast #59
(Andrew Huberman)
2. The Challenges of Anxious-Avoidant Relationships
(The School of Life)
3. 8 Signs of an Avoidant Attachment Style
4. Narcissism and attachment theory
5. Dismissive Avoidant Breakup | Why Dismissive Avoidant Acts So Cold!
(Katya Morozova)
6. Dismissive Avoidant Breakup: What Your Avoidant Ex Is Thinking!
(Katya Morozova)
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