Table of contents:
- It happens that in a pair one of the partners is "sticky", as if in need of a relationship much more than the other. Loving someone with an ambivalent attachment style is difficult, and if this is your case, some tips on how to deal with it will come in handy
- Sultry love
- Features of people with ambivalent attachment styles
- 5 Ways You Can Help Your Ambivalently Attached Partner Feel Safe
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It happens that in a pair one of the partners is "sticky", as if in need of a relationship much more than the other. Loving someone with an ambivalent attachment style is difficult, and if this is your case, some tips on how to deal with it will come in handy
In any relationship, one partner may require more attention and be “more needy” than the other. Perhaps this need stems from deep pain and your partner's inability to express their desires and needs correctly just because you have different attachment styles.
Attachment theory was first proposed by psychologist John Bowlby. According to this concept, the way you treat people around you in adulthood is influenced by the attachment style formed in childhood. Whether a person develops a safe or unsafe (anxious, ambivalent) style depends on the atmosphere in which they grew up and how caring and considerate the family was.
If it seems to you that your partner is somehow overreacting to everything and seems to stick to you, or you feel that your every action is closely studied, as if under a microscope, perhaps this is a familiar, learned from childhood way of reacting to pain and unpleasant experiences.
Your partner may seem hyper critical of you and your relationship, but this is most likely due to an ambivalent attachment style that developed long before you met. While attachment style is not the only factor in building relationships, it is an important part of how successfully close bonds are formed with partners, friends, and even children.
The childhood of "ambivalent" people was filled with unpredictability and conditional love on the part of significant adults. This means that love was a reward for certain actions and deeds. The “wrong” behavior caused the parents to stop showing love, get angry, or simply ignore the child. Or maybe the parents rewarded the child with a warm attitude only occasionally, thereby depriving him of the sense of security that only unconditional love gives.
Features of people with ambivalent attachment styles
- The need to be in constant contact (messages, calls, words of love or approval).
- Insecurity in a relationship.
- Recurrent fear-based break-up threats.
- Inability to calm down, lack of self-regulation without partner intervention.
- The need to cling to small details and dig into them.
The good news is, just because you love someone with an ambivalent attachment style doesn't mean your relationship is doomed to fail.
When you realize that your partner is differently arranged, you can try to treat him with special care and support. This can help him heal and create a sense of stability and comfort.
Communicating with an “ambivalent” person, giving them safety and comfort, will not only help make your interaction more enjoyable, but will also open the way for your loved one to heal and achieve healthy attachment.
5 Ways You Can Help Your Ambivalently Attached Partner Feel Safe
1. Calm and keep in touch
It may not be your fault that your partner is feeling insecure in the relationship. Try to understand that he / she also does not make an informed choice about how to react, and this does not give him / her pleasure.
Try to do a "ping check" periodically to reassure your partner. So that he / she does not have time to mentally go from "Why does not he / she call?" to "He / she doesn't love me at all."
A few short messages or a quick call throughout the day can keep your partner calm for a long time.
If you have a falling out or are not in the mood, reassure your loved one that conflict is not the end of relationships and love. This can help the partner calm down faster and put their nerves in order.
2. Don't keep waiting for an answer
Even if your "ambivalent" partner realizes that he sometimes overreacts to events, being late for a meeting or leaving an unanswered message can lead him to uncomfortable thoughts that you do not respect him and he is not a priority for you.
Be sure to communicate when plans change. Moreover, your loved one is most likely doing just that.
An ambivalently attached partner is afraid of being left behind; being late or not showing up often activates and exacerbates these fears.
3. Be consistent
Constantly showing love and affection supports your loved one's need to feel heard, appreciated, and understood.
For one week, literally flooding your partner with love and attention and being distracted for another is the best way to heighten their fears and insecurities, as it reflects their early childhood traumatic experiences. Lavish love one day and no love the next is a nightmare for people with an ambivalent attachment style.
What may seem insignificant to you can mean a lot to your partner, so make sure you provide the feeling of confidence that he needs.
4. Do not judge the partner's needs as something "wrong"
Trying to make your partner feel abnormal about their attachment trauma will only reinforce their insecurities about themselves and the relationship.
Partners with ambivalent attachment lose their psychological balance when you deal with their most vulnerable wounds and traumas.
Consider, even if it was not you who created the attachment trauma, you, as a loving partner, have the chance to help your loved one heal and reprogram their attachment system to be safer.
5. Don't "fix" the person
You cannot fix your partner. Try to understand the problem of attachment, the needs of your loved one with the help of a psychologist in therapy groups, face-to-face counseling, or even online resources. This is the first step towards healing your loved one and developing a deeper connection with them.
The needs of the "sticky man" come from a time in childhood when he needed and did not receive care.
A deeper understanding of this issue can help you cope with depression and the feeling that your partner is constantly keeping you on a “short leash” during particularly sensitive times in your relationship.
Translation by Yana Tsyplakova