The Relationship Between Attachment Styles And Commitment Issues Explained

In relationships, commitment can be a big deal amongst intimate partners. This can be a beautiful thing for some, since the expectation of commitment could imply stability, warmth, and an active promise between two people. For others, it could be the complete opposite and could be an intimidating feat that they would rather avoid. These people are known to have commitment issues.

Healthline describes people who have commitment issues as having an aversion to long-term relationships. These people either don't value being in a relationship, or they fear the pitfalls of intimate partnership. Understanding that this might be a fear of yours could be a sign that you're not ready to get into a relationship.

When dissecting why people have commitment issues, one explanation could have to do with their attachment style in a relationship. According to Mind Body Green, attachment style is a pattern of behaviors that we perform in relationships. This is derived from attachment theory that was developed by psychologists Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby that claimed that people's attachment style is conceived in childhood and is shaped by early relationships with parents. When trying to understand commitment issues, it's important to have a healthy understanding of attachment styles to discover where these issues may stem from.

Avoidant attachment style

An avoidant attachment style means that someone goes out of their way to avoid emotional intimacy. This could mean avoiding marriage, dating, physical affection, and more. They may avoid long-term relationships in order to protect their own space. Relate counselor Holly Roberts explained to Cosmopolitan that people with an avoidant attachment style usually seek their own company as opposed to seeking long-term companionship with others.

She goes on to say that people who exhibit these patterns are often responding to their childhood caregivers' past treatment. She told the publication that the avoidant attachment style typically "develops in response to parents being emotionally unavailable or unresponsive to their children."

When someone has an avoidant attachment style, this might also mean they have a negative view of their partner's actions. While the partner might intend on being caring and affectionate, the avoidant person might perceive it as clingy and thus pull away from that person. Roberts believes this is because avoidant people have yet to learn how to manage their emotions when getting closer to another person. 

Disorganized attachment style

Someone who has a disorganized attachment style can often be perceived as someone who gives mixed signals to their partner. The Attachment Project describes this pattern as someone who shows inconsistent behaviors and suffers from serious trust issues.

"It is displayed in adults through poor coping skills, a lack of coping strategies, erratic behavior, and difficulty dealing with issues in relationships and in real-life problems," therapist Chamin Ajjan explained to Mind Body Green. "Those with disorganized attachment can be unpredictable and volatile in relationships."

This attachment style is created from having a fearful relationship with their parents. Licensed clinical psychologist Ayanna Abrams told Mind Body Green that when children learn to be scared of someone they are supposed to love, it creates a serious conflict within themselves that can affect their own relationships down the road. This could lead to them wanting a relationship and fearing it at the same time.

If you have an avoidant or disorganized attachment style, it's still possible to develop a healthy view of relationships. Working towards a secure attachment style, especially with the help of a therapist, may help reduce any commitment issues you might have, and allow you to form healthy relationships.