Attachment Styles in Relationships
There are three different love and attachment styles that define what kind of relationship an individual has with another human being or beings. The three that are usually used to describe a person??™s attachment to another are passionate, intimacy and companionate types of love. There are many differences in these types of relationships which will be described here.
Passionate or love that attracts has characteristics that are more external than internal. This means that their love is based more on sexual attraction and sex than it does on love. This type of love is also compared to the term ???Romantic Love.??? When asked to describe what this meant by people, the leading attribute of this type of love was stated as being ???sexual in nature, not happiness, loyalty, or sharing???, according to Pamela Ragan and her colleagues, (1998) In the past more Americans said that they would marry someone even if they were not in love, compared to today where only 20% said that they would. Many think that it is the way we are brought up and what we are told about love. Passionate love holds a gamut of different emotions for an individual. If love is returned, a person is ecstatic, if not, despair can be experienced. Other feelings can be physical in nature such as sweaty palms, racing heartbeat, or passion. It all depends how it is interpreted by that individual.
Intimacy on the other hand, includes romantic love but has more dimensions to it. In this, a person tries to get closer to another individual by investigating how that person feels, thinks or acts. The biggest part of intimacy and achieving this element is being able to disclose things about one that are not comfortable to talk about. This may also be called, letting the other person see ???the real you.??? Women are naturally good listeners, and genuine when disclosing things about themselves and about their own lives. They are empathetic and more ready to assume where their partner is coming from. This type of intimacy helps individuals endure threats to self image, thus creating a ???bond??? with the other person in the relationship. Trust builds as the couple shares more and more information about them leading to a deeper and more satisfying relationship and is essential in keeping the relationship growing and alive.
When romantic love has calmed, it is intimate love that can bring a couple to another form of love which is called companionate love. In companionate love, commitment accompanies intimacy. This has much to do with how an individual decides to represent their relationship. The more the relationship endures, the more intimacy is retained, the more growth is shown and the more committed one becomes to the other. This is a ???we??? partnership as the ???I??? is gone. Both people look out for the betterment of the other and not for themselves. This is love and its highest pinnacle and is only achieved when both partners are more committed to making the other person fulfilled then making themselves fulfilled.
In all three relationships, it has been shown that while romantic love can be great, without true intimacy and commitment, it is destined to fail. Only when there is true trust, true intimacy, and then companionate and committed love can a relationship be all that it was intended to be.
When a person decides that they want to have a relationship with another person without regard to getting to truly know that person or what they stand for, it can lead to disaster. This type of thinking usually ends up badly. This to me is putting the cart before the horse. It also can change the way a person looks at another individual. This person is more in love with the idea of ???being in love??? than having a solid, caring and loving relationship with another person. This may drive an individual to be in bad or even abusive relationships for fear of being alone. They may feel that they have to have ???sparks??? or a very strong sexual attraction to that individual. This person is more interested in self and what makes them feel good than being involved with another person for the sake of wanting to invest real time for them. When the excitement is gone for these types of people, so are they. They cannot hold relationships together because they are there for the thrill of being in love. The problem with this type of person??™s attachment style is that usually the other person is in it for more and they end up being hurt. They usually go ???head first??? and give it everything they have and it encompasses everything they have in them and around them but it doesn??™t last. It is a white hot type of love that burns out within a short period of time. This may be because the person feels happy around the other person but hasn??™t really learned how to allow another person past the shallowness into the deep because of fear. I believe people who have had abuse in their lives tend to gravitate to this type of attachment style. They never let anyone get to close so that they cannot ???really see who they are??? for fear that if they do, the person will reject them. A person like this is usually prone to low self esteem. They may never have been ???loved??? properly or unconditionally as children and grow up seeing love as something different than what it really is. They look for other people to fill the void or they may have unrealistic expectations of what role the other person should play in their lives. They may also try to live ???through??? the other person, (choosing the same friends, liking the same things, etc.) These types of individuals also lose a sense of who they are when they are in this type of relationship. They may also be a people pleaser which means they will go out of their way to please the other individual until it gets to be too much and then they begin to back off. The cost of being in the relationship is higher than what they are willing to pay. People whose attachment styles are more about intimacy learn how to get to know another person. They may decide not to have ???sex??? in order to create a true intimacy with the other person. This intimacy usually starts out as friends and then develops into admiration which can turn into strong emotions. This is usually a give and take relationship and people who are in this desire friendship more that they desire romance although relationships may turn romantic. These types of people are still concerned about themselves in terms of what they get out of the relationship but they are also concerned about how the other feels. These types of people have many friendships because of this attachment style. I do however believe that unconditional love must be built off the first two attachment styles if it is romantic relationship that has become intimate. This kind of attachment style has to be learned by experience and is not something that comes naturally to an individual. This type of person can be predispositioned to it by parental upbringing but will still need to learn what unconditional love is. This is only learned by knowing the One who unconditionally loves them. These people are stable and focused and can be in a relationship that has deep intimacy. They are also able to pick up friendships even if they haven??™t seen the other person in days, weeks or months and resume where they left off. This is a trait of unconditional love. This type of person is fulfilled with or without another person in their life. Every person or relationship is only an addition to not a subtraction from them.