Attachment Styles and Relationships - Essay 2

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Attachment Styles and Relationships


Irene Deutsch

Attachment Styles and Relationships1

This paper will discuss how early relationships affect adults relationships later on

in life. It will elaborate on the three dimensions each relationship has and they are

passion, intimacy and commitment. The paper will include Robert Sternberg’s triangular

theory of love.

First, there are three types of attachments one may develop when we are infants.

The first one is secure attachment. This manifests itself when an infant is with his or

her mother and happily explores an unfamiliar environment. Furthermore, when the

mother leaves, the infant will become distressed. On the other hand, when the mother

returns, the infant runs to her and then continues playing (Bolt, 2004).

Next, there is another type called avoidant attachment. These type of infants do

not show distress when removed from their mother. They also do not cling to their

mother upon reunion. They react to strangers in the same way they do with their mothers.

They keep their attention focused on their toys (Bolt, 2004).

The last type is called anxious attachment. In unfamiliar settings, these infants

cling to their mother and cry when she leaves. However, when she returns, they are

hostile. They do not explore their environment. These infants may continue to cry even

after being picked up (Bolt, 2004).

Attachment Styles and Relationships2

Furthermore, in adults relationships there are also three types. The first one is

secure adults. This can be expressed when these adults find it easy to become close in a

relationship. Their relationships are characterized by happiness, trust and friendship.

They can accept and support their partners despite faults (Bolt, 2004).

Next, the next type is avoidant adults. They are less invested in relationships and

more likely to leave them. It seems that they are afraid to become too close to people.

They have emotional highs and lows. They may have intimate relations with a partner

without feeling love (Bolt, 2004).

The last type of adult relationship is called anxious adults. These types are less

trusting and demand reciprocation. They are generally more jealous and possessive. They

may break up repeatedly with the same person. They can become angry and emotion

when discussing differences (Bolt, 2004).

Furthermore, the reason this is so is because when these adult types were infants

they lacked close physical proximity. This is important in any type of relationship. It

helps for caregivers to for a bond with infants and adults to develop closeness in a

relationship. Also, infants develop a feeling of security when they are held. The lack of

this physical proximity contributes to the different attachment problems.

Attachment Styles and Relationships3

Next, it is known that attachment styles can change in adults. The first thing to do

change the style is to reflect on oneself and decide to change. Also, the next

thing that can change a person’s style is to have good relationships and this can help a

person relearn how a relationship should function.

Furthermore, according to Robert Sternberg’s triangular theory of love there are

three major categories. These categories are passion, intimacy and commitment.

Bolt (2004) stated, “Passion is the motivational component of love and reflects attraction,

romance, and sexual desire. Intimacy involves feelings of closeness, trust, and the sharing

of one’s innermost thoughts. Commitment is the decision to maintain a long-term caring

relationship”  ( 1, p. 27).

Next, in order for a relationship to last, there must be more than just passion. The

initial feel of passion may wear off after a long-term relationship. Therefore, there has to

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