If you want to understand how your romantic relationship is going to work out, it helps to know about your partner’s attachment style. Individuals with insecure attachment styles create more problems in their relationships, including lying and infidelity (see, attachment styles). So, when it comes to picking a mate, wouldn’t everyone be better off choosing a secure partner to date? Of course. But, insecure people seem to know this too. Research shows that insecure individuals are more likely to form an initial positive impression than secure individuals. Insecure people were more likely to present themselves as being warm, engaging, and humorous. It is only after a relationship forms that people begin to experience their partner’s dismissing and/or controlling behavior.
Take your time when getting to know someone. Insecure individuals work extra hard to form positive impressions. What you see at first is not always what you end up with in the long run. And dark personalities also try to conceal their true nature by wrapping themselves in pretty packages.
Perhaps, second guesses should follow first impressions.
Did you grow up in a warm family environment? At a young age, did you learn how to solve conflict constructively? New research shows how important one’s family environment is when it comes to predicting marital success.
Videotapes of adolescents solving conflict with other family members predicted marital outcomes as adults. Adolescents, who solved conflict constructively, by displaying warmth, using supportive messages, and effective listening skills, had more satisfying marriages 20 years later.
Developing strong interpersonal skills early in life (and growing up in a warm family environment) has a lasting impact on one’s ability to maintain a successful romantic relationship.
One of the more interesting findings of this study is that one’s childhood experiences had an impact on a romantic partner’s happiness. If you grew up in a positive family environment, your spouse receives the benefits.
Nobody sees the world exactly the same way. When you are in a relationship, what is considered appropriate behavior largely depends on your partner’s style of attachment (see, attachment styles).
Anxious individuals were much more upset when their partners engaged in the behaviors listed below. Dismissing individuals were much less concerned when their partners acted the same way.
Behaviors more likely to bother an anxious, but not a dismissing partner:
- Emailing pictures of themselves naked
- Texting erotic messages to someone else
- Watching a pornographic movie together
- Sleeping in the same bed
- Holding hands
- Staying in the same hotel room
- Spending lots of time together
- Accompanying to a formal event
- Going out to dinner
- Talking on the phone several times a week
- Kissing on the cheek
- Sharing secrets
- Hugging for more than 10 seconds
- Calling when upset about their relationship partner
- Taking a road trip out of the state
- Telling dirty jokes
What counts as cheating really depends on who you date. Anxious individuals give their partners much less leeway than dismissing individuals. All the more reason to understand how attachment styles influence what happens in a romantic relationship.
The entire study can be found here.
Whether you have a secure or anxious style of attachment has a big impact on your life (see, attachment styles). Secure individuals have more successful relationships, better health outcomes, and are more likely to be happy. Anxious individuals have a more difficult time controlling their emotions, reacting to problems constructively, and maintaining their relationships.
New research shows just how problematic an anxious style of attachment can be. People were placed in a room with chocolate chip cookies and then asked to read a story about a secure or anxious relationship. People ate considerably more cookies after reading about the anxious relationship.
Hundreds of thousands of studies have been done on attachment styles. We now know that just thinking about being in an anxious relationship leads to increased snacking.
It is not a lot of fun to have an anxious-ambivalent style of attachment or date someone who does. Anxious-ambivalent individuals obsess on their relationships, can be overly needy, are constantly worried about being abandoned, exaggerate their emotions, and tend to act in controlling ways (see, attachment styles).
New research, however, highlights one advantage anxious-ambivalent individuals may bring to the table. Anxious-ambivalent individuals can detect deception better than other people. Their hyper-vigilant nature may actually be a blessing in disguise when it comes to reading other people’s behavior.
But, is this gift really a good thing? People in relationships are happiest when they fail to see the truth (see, catching lovers lying). And given anxious-ambivalent individuals’ tendency for exaggeration, it is an open question if people take their point of view seriously. Like the boy who cried wolf, anxious-ambivalent individuals might be better at seeing the world as it really is, but unable to convince others to see it the same way. Another irony of life revealed.