A man reads the newspaper as his girlfriend looks on
Published by  
Wes Myers
May 17, 2023

What's Your Attachment Style?

Knowing will help ensure the success of your relationship.
Wes Myers is the co-Founder and CBO of Keeper, an experienced matchmaker, and relationship expert. He is an Iraq veteran and Wharton MBA.

At the very heart of Keeper’s ethos is the artful balance between short-term magnetism and enduring relationship success. This means we take into consideration your criteria for the electric thrill of immediate attraction, while also prioritizing traits that will promote your longevity as a couple.

One important indicator for long-term potential in a relationship is your attachment style.

Attachment theory holds that the quality of our early relationships with primary caregivers shapes our approach toward relationships throughout our lives. These formative experiences give rise to specific behavioral patterns, which, when understood, play a critical role in navigating the waters of romantic relationships.

It is important to note that our attachment styles are not set in stone; they are pliable and capable of evolution. Simply being cognizant of your attachment style will help you mitigate some of its less desirable expressions.


Take the attachment style assessment.


The four main attachment styles

Secure Attachment

They effortlessly weave intimacy into their relationships, demonstrate strong communication abilities, and strike a harmonious balance between autonomy and interdependence. Their capacity to trust their partners, extend support, and navigate conflict with grace promotes the establishment and sustenance of healthy, long-lasting relationships.

Anxious Preoccupied Attachment

People with an anxious preoccupied attachment style often harbor a low self-esteem but hold others in high regard. They yearn for profound intimacy and validation from their partners, coupled with an underlying fear or rejection or abandonment. Their attachment pattern might be described as fear-driven dependance, which can lead to intense emotional fluctuations, “clingy” behavior, and an incessant craving for reassurance. Unchecked, their fear of abandonment may bloom into jealousy and possessiveness, straining the relationship.

Avoidant Dismissive Attachment

Those with an avoidant dismissive attachment style usually perceive themselves positively but adopt a skeptical view of others. They hold their independence, self-sufficiency, and emotional autonomy dear, often keeping a safe emotional distance from their partners. The struggles they face with intimacy, sharing emotions, and commitment may lead to emotional remoteness. This can engender feelings of neglect or insignificance in their partners, potentially jeopardizing the relationship unless mitigated.

Fearful Avoidant Attachment

The fearful avoidant attachment style, also known as disorganized attachment, marries elements of both anxious and avoidant styles. People with this attachment style generally struggle with low self-esteem and a negative view of others. Despite yearning for emotional closeness, they retreat from intimacy, scarred by past traumas or unresolved issues. Their oscillation between pursuing closeness and pushing their partners away can seed confusion and emotional tumult, threatening the survival of the relationship.

Attachment Style Pairings

In relationships where both partners have a secure attachment style, there is a strong foundation for mutual trust, effective communication, and emotional support. These relationships are the most likely to thrive and endure. However, relationships between couples with other attachment styles can still be successful. What follows is some general advice for different attachment style pairings that can be put into action once you understand your and your partner’s attachment styles.


Secure-Anxious Pairing

For the secure partner: Extend your patience and understanding toward your anxious partner’s craving for reassurance. For example, if they need to check in several times per day, reassure them of your love and commitment. Small, consistent gestures of love can assuage their insecurities. Leaving a sweet note for them to find when they wake up or sending them amid-day text saying, “thinking of you,” are two easy ways to do this.

For the anxious partner: Transparently express your needs without overwhelming your secure partner. Employ self-soothing techniques to manage anxiety, and work towards nurturing self-confidence, independently and with your partner’s aid.

Secure-Avoidant Pairing

For the secure partner: Honor your avoidant partner’s need for solitude and autonomy. Give them space to engage in their hobbies or spend time alone without feeling guilty. Convey your need for emotional connection in a way that respects their comfort levels, such as planning a regular date night. Foster discussions around boundaries to find a shared equilibrium.

For the avoidant partner: Acknowledge the value of emotional closeness and gradually begin to share with your secure partner. You can start by making an effort to tell them one small thing about your feelings, thoughts, and experiences every day. If you feel apprehensive about closeness, let them know by telling them. You could say, “I sometimes feel overwhelmed when we spend a lot of time together. Can we talk about ways to balance our time?” Remember to exercise compromise and show your commitment to the relationship by being consistent in your actions.

Anxious-Anxious Pairing

Both partners should concentrate on fostering self-confidence and self-worth, independently and together. You could do this by writing positive affirmations and sharing them with each other or making a habit of acknowledging each other’s strengths. Communicate openly about insecurities and fears, creating a safe space to share your deepest thoughts and worries. Devise strategies to offer mutual reassurance and support, like regular check-ins to discuss your feelings.

Avoidant-Avoidant Pairing

Both partners should be willing to confront their fear of intimacy and work on building trust, perhaps by setting small goals to share more about yourselves with each other. Start an open dialogue about your emotional needs, saying things like “I feel most loved when you do XYZ.” Try gradually increasing your intimacy slowly, and over time you'll be comfortable opening up more.

Anxious-Avoidant Pairing:

For the anxious partner: Understand that the avoidant partner’s need for solitude isn’t a reflection of your worth. Calmly communicate your desire for emotional reassurance and connection, while also acknowledging their need for personal space. You could say something like, “I know you need your alone time, which I’m happy to give. Could we also cuddle when you’re ready?”

For the avoidant partner: Understand that your anxious partner’s need for closeness comes from a place of love and connection, not suffocation. When you need space, express this without dismissing their emotions. You can gradually increase your comfort with intimacy by taking small steps, such as spending a little more time together each day.



Regardless of the attachment style pairing, the key to a flourishing relationship lies in open and honest dialogue, empathy towards each other's concerns, and the ability to adapt to each other's needs. Unearthing the insights of your individual attachment style can help you recognize patterns from past relationships, providing context to manage emotions and recalibrate expectations for current and future relationships.

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