Attachment Style and Marriage

How do you fight with your partner? Do you beat around the bush or get right to the point? Talk calmly or devolve into a screaming match?

Conflicts happen in marriage and attachment styles may have something to do with how couples argue. Generally, people have a secure or insecure attachment style. Having a secure attachment style usually means that a person trusts their partner and the opposite for insecure attachment style. This is especially true during stressful situations, such as an argument.

Having secure attachment style in both partners is a good indicator of relationship success in the long term. How about insecure attachment? A study was conducted to investigate the long-term success of relationships with different insecure attachment styles, anxious and avoidant. Those with anxious attachment are clingier and demanding as they don’t think their partner will be there for them, while the avoidant style also believe their partner won’t be there for them but are more independent, they fear being too close to someone.

The researchers wanted to investigate 3 types of insecure attachment styles, anxious-anxious, anxious-avoidant, and avoidant-avoidant. However, they really couldn’t find couples that were avoidant-avoidant.
One of their first findings was that men are generally avoidant attachment while women are anxious attachment. To most this might make some sense as men are seen as more independent in most cultures, while women tend to want more of an emotional connection to their partner. And thus, this was the most common style of couple in the study.

The study found that anxious-avoidant relationships are attractive early on, but the longer the relationship lasts, the less the couples are satisfied. However, anxious-anxious style actually has a high satisfaction in the long term. This may be due to the fact that both partners expect their partners to be uncaring but of course it is the opposite.

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References: Kuncewicz, D., Kuncewicz, D., Mrozinski, B., & Stawska, M. (2020). A combination of insecure attachment patterns in a relationship and its quality: The role of relationship length. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Advance online publication. DOI: 10.1177/0265407520969896

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