Attachment Theory and the Impact Adult Romantic Relationships

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Attachment Theory and the impact Adult Romantic Relationships Iksheeta Shah
University of Waterloo
March 23, 2011

My roommate, Breseis, and I get along really well. We are completely opposite in every aspect, but only to complement each other. When I met her, she barely talked and never shared any of her stories or her past. She only started trusting me when I trusted her with my problems. She was always uncomfortable talking about her life with others. However, she slowly let herself lose around me over time and now we share a very close bond. Her first step towards trusting me was when she woke me up at 3:00am on a Wednesday night because she was stressed about what her boyfriend said. Very recently, she told me that it took her a lot of trust and faith to wake me up because she was unsure of how I would react. I saw her through her first relationship and was with her in each phase she went through. Her relationship lasted for a little over a month. She never wanted to announce her relationship on Facebook or tell people. Being an extremely open person, I was shocked at why she would not want to share her happiness with people. Her response to that was that “I don’t want to be a topic talked about”. Her first relationship was rather complicated as her boyfriend was still really good friends with his ex which made Breseis feel insecure. Several weeks prior to the relationship being official she was already very attached to Vivek and the relationship as it was her first one. She constantly wanted and required more attention from Vivek. When she failed to receive such attention and warmth, she immediately tried to de-attach herself from him as a defense mechanism. Through her whole relationship she never believed that he could like her. I always had to convince her by pointing back at all his actions to prove that he does, in fact, like her. It was hard to convince her that he liked her. A month later they broke up because she was unhappy and always distressed in the relationship. Vivek’s actions like texting the ex and hanging out with her constantly worried her. She tried to be strong after the break up. However, she was convinced that Vivek was completely over her - if he ever even liked her to begin with. She would stay at the Student Life Center (SLC) till late to avoid seeing him. She did not talk to him for 2 weeks and was going through a really rough time. It was hard for her in the beginning, but fortunately another boy came along her way and liked her enough to help her get over Vivek. Jase, the new boy was quite serious in how much he likes her and works very hard to see her smile and gives her the attention she lacked from Vivek. Due to this reason, she began to like him too. She was not ready at first, but was fed up with how much she over thinks in every situation and decided to give the relationship a chance. I recall her saying, “Iksheeta, why can’t I just jump into this relationship and leave the worries behind” and I replied, “You can”. However, because Jase perfectly fits the criteria of her ideal man, she is scared that it is not true. She told me one evening, “I feel like he can change his mind the next day”. Finally, she decided to take the relationship slow and is cautious with every step she takes as she is scared to be hurt. According the attachment theory, relationships in the past attribute to the internal working model of attachment. A working model is simply a continuous development from childhood/early experiences which help model and predict future attachment-related behavior. Working models reflect your relations with others (Miller, & Noirot , 1999). Her reactions and thought processes with her second relationship can be reasoned by her working model as a result to her experience with her first relationship. The attachment system is stimulated by one of these three sources of pain. The first source of distress arises from physical threat from the person. The second source...
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