How To Navigate An Anxious Attachment Style In A Relationship

It's no secret that dating is difficult, whether you are meeting in person after a long dating-app courtship, being set up on a blind date, or running into your possible soulmate while out with your friends. The truth is that nothing leaves us feeling more vulnerable than worrying about whether or not our feelings of attraction are reciprocated. It's common to wonder how the other person feels, and it's easy to read every non-verbal or unanswered text. While worrying about how we present ourselves to a love interest in a new situation is normal, dissecting interactions and conversations is unhealthy and can create problems if left unchecked, via Verywell Mind. It makes sense that we might fixate on developing a relationship with someone we've had a good time with, but how much of this second-guessing is okay? 

If you find yourself overwhelmed with obsessive thoughts, overwhelming feelings of inadequacy, and an extreme need to be validated by your new love interest, you may be experiencing an anxious attachment style, per The Attachment Project. If this sounds more like you than you'd like to admit, there are ways to navigate these feelings and experience a healthy dating relationship.

What is an anxious attachment style?

Anxious attachment is one of the three insecure attachment styles. According to The Attachment Project, the common signs of this attachment style include insecurity, fear of abandonment or rejection, and separation anxiety in relationships. Experts say that feelings of inadequacy as a child often cause an anxious attachment style in a relationship. Most people who suffer from this problem do so because their parents were emotionally or physically absent when they were younger, via Verywell Mind.

In addition, many people who suffer from this attachment style constantly need to be validated and will go out of their way to please others. Studies have shown that some with anxious attachment styles have difficulty regulating their cortisol levels, pushing up their stress and heart rates. Although most of this stems from childhood trauma, attachment styles impact how one acts and feels in adult, romantic relationships, per Insider. Anxious attachment style can be very frustrating for the person living with it, but it can also negatively impact their love interest.

How to navigate life with this attachment style

The first step in maintaining a healthy life while experiencing the negative effects of an anxious attachment style is acknowledging its presence. There are many ways to find out if this is what you are experiencing. Much like the Love Languages or Apology Languages, there are quizzes where you can answer a few quick questions about your attachment style, per The Attachment Project. Analyzing and acknowledging your feelings is difficult, but it can make all the difference.

Another way to make your dating life easier while living with anxious attachment is to choose a partner who has a secure attachment style. This is not always easy to do, and it can be months before you realize just what kind of style your partner has. In the meantime, practice clear communication with your partner and be patient with yourself, via The Attachment Project. Grounding exercises like meditation and yoga can help you break through negative self-talk and give your mind a clearer understanding of any conflicts that can arise.

Dating can be very stressful, but understanding how your brain works is essential to making the process enjoyable. According to Insider, just because you may have an anxious attachment style doesn't mean you are always doomed to have feelings of inadequacy. Knowing the signs, speaking with a therapist, and being patient with yourself are all great actions to take to ensure a peaceful start to what could be a long-lasting relationship.