Secure attachment is one of the primary attachment styles in the attachment theory, a psychological model that describes how people behave in relationships. Oof, that was a mouthful.
As the name suggests, a secure attachment is the most stable of the attachment styles. Attachment styles often come up in dating. If you’re looking for a serious relationship, odds are, you’re looking for someone with a secure attachment style. This article will help point out some of the most common signs of secure attachment in adults.
What is Secure Attachment?
Our attachment style typically forms in childhood through our relationship with our parents or caregivers. The way they tend to our needs, teach us how to take care of ourselves, regulate our emotions, and socialize with others all shape the way we interact with the world around us.
Having a caregiver in our childhood that makes us feel safe, secure, and stable usually creates a secure attachment for us. Usually, the attachment style formed in childhood will be the one we will carry throughout the rest of our lives.
Signs of Secure Attachment in Adults
Some tell-tale signs of a securely attached partner include:
Comfortable with open conversations: They can express their thoughts and feelings easily.
Strong support: Securely attached people can ask for help and give support when needed. They have a healthy view of their self-worth.
Show empathy: They are able to empathize with you without making you feel guilty, and they can take care of you because they can take care of themselves.
Honesty and transparency: Because they can speak up about their feelings, they are not afraid to communicate what they are thinking or feeling and be direct. They don’t play games.
They respect boundaries: When you express your boundaries to a securely attached person they will listen and adhere to them. If you overstep their boundaries, they will calmly tell you and will communicate gently with you if you have done something to upset them. They expect the same in return.
Compromising: A securely attached individual doesn’t take disagreements personally. They will take a step back when things get heated and will have an attitude of wanting to work on the problem together.
Comfortable with commitment: The idea of commitment doesn’t scare a securely attached person. They tend to prefer long-term commitments because they are not afraid of intimacy.
Unconditional trust: Obviously, trust takes time to build in any relationship. However, a securely attached partner won’t exhibit signs of jealousy or be doubtful of your motives without due cause. They remain faithful and reliable.
Have a growth mindset: Not being afraid of intimacy or commitment, securely attached partners genuinely want to build on the connection with you. They will be ready and willing to put in the work. For richer or poorer, they will want to stay by your side.
Lack of resentment: While they may have had unpleasant experiences in the past, they don’t carry this with them into new relationships or harbor any resentment toward past partners.
How to Develop a Secure Attachment Style
If you are struggling with an anxious, avoidant, or anxious-avoidant attachment style, breaking the patterns can be difficult.
The first step is to become aware of your emotions and behaviors with others. Speak with a licensed therapist who can help teach you healthy self-soothing techniques to overcome your anxiety around intimate relationships.
The second thing you can do is to seek a partner who has a secure attachment style. Consider whether you are attracting partners who are showing up as consistent, calm, and secure. If they are showing signs of emotional unavailability, then more than likely they are not securely attached.
A secure partner will provide more emotional safety than other attachment styles as well as give you the space to work on your co-dependency patterns and emotional avoidance.
You can develop a more secure attachment by:
- Practicing not taking things personally
- Learning to identify your emotional needs and expressing them clearly and compassionately to your partner
- Being direct and honest
- Noticing when you are clingy and working on soothing yourself rather than seeking constant reassurance
- Allowing yourself to be vulnerable
- Leaning into your discomfort, especially if you are afraid of commitment
- Taking the relationship slow and having other interests
- Reading material on attachment styles and how to self-regulate your emotions
- Not running away from conflict
- Being less reactive
- Developing strong boundaries and respecting your partner’s boundaries
If you are ready and willing to put in the work, you can move from other attachment styles into a secure attachment. It’s important to remember to be patient with yourself and not hold any resentment toward your caregivers. At the end of the day, your healing is your responsibility and with the right amount of effort, self-love, and care, you can and will develop a more secure attachment.