Menu Close

Attraction and Your Attachment Style


Attraction and Your Attachment Style
Attraction and Your Attachment Style

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal your attachment style in relationships and the link between attraction and attachment style.

First a quick update:

“Coaches, counselors and therapists”
Learn my unique therapeutic tool which helps clients to make radically fast behavioral and emotional changes without reliving trauma and without months or years of talk or emotional or psychological dependence upon the therapist.

“Stop running from conflict”
Are you the Emotionally/Conflict Avoidant personality? Read about the dangers of running away from conflict in a relationship, and how that leads to resentment and ruins relationships and marriages.

Follow me on Twitter – You can now choose to follow me and receive a few words of wisdom on Twitter: @Behavior_Expert.

“The hypocrisy of relationships. Do You Love Unconditionally?”
What is unconditional love? We all want it, don’t we? Do we, though, love unconditionally? Watch my video:


Now, let’s talk about your attachment style in relationships and the link between attraction and attachment style.

In my previous article: Chemical attraction – butts, hips and smell – I revealed that human attraction is based primarily on the goal of producing healthy offspring. Accordingly, unconsciously, we are hardwired to be attracted to the person that has the genes that best complement our own genes to produce the healthiest offspring.

To summarize, men are attracted to women who have a WHR (waist to hip ratio) of 0.7 (waist is 70 % of the size of hips), a spinal curvature of 45.5 which results in protrusion of the buttocks, are ovulating, and who have highly dissimilar MHC genes (Major Histocompatibility Complex.) Mating with a woman who fits these profiles results in greater chance of healthy pregnancy, multiple healthy pregnancies, and stronger immune system in the offspring.

However, in spite of our brain which is designed for survival and reproduction, we do not always choose our chemically attracted mate as our life partner, nor do we respond as severely to rejection by a potential reproductive partner as we do to the rejection by a committed partner in a conscious relationship or someone who is the object of our love. Read more.

Thus, we have two conflicting forces and drives at play – the neurological/biological drive to reproduce healthy offspring, and, the drive to create bonds and attachments with other humans. (I am combining the drive for romance & limerence with the drive for bonding. Limerence is “an involuntary interpersonal state that involves an acute longing for emotional reciprocation, obsessive-compulsive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and emotional dependence on another person.” – Dorothy Tennov – “Love and Limerence.”)

While, these two drives might not be mutually exclusive, we tend to form emotional and psychological bonds with people who are not always the parents of our offspring: we use different parameters in our attraction and choice of life partners or serious relationships. We form attachments with people with whom we have relationships and with people whom we never will have a serious relationship (i.e. one-sided attraction and attachment, and/or parasocial relationships) Read more here.

So, what are the parameters for attraction excluding the chemical drive for reproduction?

I have written many articles about what men want in a relationship and what women want in a relationship. Here, I am addressing only one aspect and component of attraction – attachment – the way we interact and relate in our intimate relationships, our emotional responses, and how human beings respond within relationships when hurt, separated from loved ones, or perceive a threat. Here I am suggesting that our attachment style also determine the types of people we subconsciously attract and are attracted to, or, we select as partners.

Various studies indicate that for children, emotional care (including touch) is more important than provision of food in impacting to whom they will form the closest and most meaningful bond and attachment. (Also read about the way we bond with people when physically  aroused or when we experience anxiety – Stockholm syndrome)

Studies also reveal that it is in the early formative years that we develop an attachment style or pattern (usually within the first 2 years) and that usually we retain, repeat and reinforce that attachment style for most of our life.

It is now accepted that attachment occurs to the person who best responds to the baby’s needs and signals. When the child perceives the attachment figure as being nearby, accessible, and attentive, then the child feels loved, secure, confident, and, in turn, explores his or her environment, plays with others, and is sociable. Researchers generally believe that the attachment figure is the mother first and then the father or other caregiver i.e. the bond with mother in the first 2 years is more critical than the bond to father or other caregiver.

When the child perceives the attachment figure as being physically absent, inaccessible, and inattentive, the child experiences anxiety, becomes vocal for attention (crying, screaming, clinging), and plays less with others and explores the world less; and if the sense of separation and abandonment persists, the response turns to despair and depression.

For the child, establishing a primary attachment – someone who provides support, protection, and care – is critical for survival and development.

Researchers argue that there are long term consequences of maternal deprivation:

  • Delinquency
  • Reduced intelligence
  • Increased aggression
  • Depression
  • Affectionless psychopathy (inability to show affection or concern for others; impulsive, antisocial behavior, lack of guilt and concern for others)

As noted, the attachment style formed in childhood usually persists in adults. Accordingly, we subconsciously become attracted to people who will reflect and reinforce our beliefs and expectations about caring, trust, abandonment, dependence, support, intimacy, vulnerability: Do people care about me, can I trust others, will they abandon me, can I open up and depend on others, will they support me, is it safe for me to be vulnerable and reveal my true self?

There are 4 adult attachment styles
1. Secure Attachment Style
2. Anxious Preoccupied Attachment Style
3. Avoidant/Dismissive Attachment Style
4. Fearful-Avoidant (Anxious-Avoidant) Attachment Style
I explain the 4 attachment styles in detail in my article: Relationships – Are You Anxious, Avoidant, Secure or Ambivalent?

Don’t blame it all on your parents
Dr. Stella Chess, child psychiatrist believed that temperament was critical to understanding the types of attachments that children form for the rest of their lives. She believed that genetics formed 60% of our attachment style and environment/nurturing formed 40%. Dr. Chess asserted that there were four types of temperament: difficult, slow-to-warm-up, easy, and mixed. She argued that 65% of children fall into the first 3 patterns (difficult, slow-to-warm-up, and easy) and 35% are mixed patterns. When parental temperaments match poorly with their children’s temperaments, as expected, the outcomes were also poor.

“Infants and children with an easy temperament show consistency in feeding and sleeping, are normally curious, show positive attitudes, have low-to-moderate intensity of reactions and are adaptable to change. Slow-to-warm up children have a low activity level, are reluctant to approach new situations, slow to adapting to change, and display emotions that appear less positive but just short of being irritable. Those with a difficult temperament show tense and negative emotionality, irritability and fussiness, are easily overwhelmed, are slow to adapt to change, are less predictable, and cry more often.” – Biomental Child Development by Frank John Ninivaggi, MD

Adult relationship experiences can also affect your attachment style and attachment style can change.  Although, you might have noticed that you have a relationship pattern – to whom you are attracted and the ways you respond within the relationship – you can change and have the relationship and emotional response you want!
I explain the 4 attachment styles in detail in my article: Relationships – Are You Anxious, Avoidant, Secure or Ambivalent?

In next week’s Success Newsletter, I will address and reveal the multiple factors of attraction. Meanwhile, if you need help breaking free from the past, overcoming a trauma or changing your attachment style, book a session with me.

You can post your comment on this newsletter below:

If this newsletter was forwarded to you and would like to receive all of my newsletters please enter your email address on the home page.

I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

Facebook Comments