It looks like your relationship style is...
Based on your responses, you’re a person who highly values your independence and freedom and you tend to be fairly self-reliant. You can be emotionally distant and you’re not entirely comfortable dealing with other people’s emotional needs. You’re more likely to approach problems intellectually, which makes you great in a crisis as you readily take charge, but you’re not one to offer a lot of emotional support.
In times of difficulty, you’re not inclined to lean on others for support or ask for help, as your default is to handle problems on your own. You tend to equate relationships with the loss of your independence, so while you crave emotional connection, when things get too close, you can feel a little claustrophobic and start to pull away.
You expect others to look after themselves in the same way that you do, so you might feel imposed upon if others lean on you too much. You like a lot of space in a relationship and need to be in a relationship with someone who is willing to give you that space. You’re not one for a lot of physical affection and you like to ensure you have plenty of time for your own interests and activities outside of the relationship.
Sometimes after you get into a relationship, you question whether you really wanted it and you have a tendency to focus on the negative traits in the other person. If you choose to break up with them or put some space between the two of you, you might find that you become attracted to them again. The reason for this is that without the threat of intimacy, you’re able to see all the good things in the relationship. If you do get back together, you usually find all the old problems resurface. This might feel frustrating and perplexing but it’s helpful to understand it’s more than likely more to do with your own attachment style than anything about the other person. It’s for this reason also that you probably miss someone terribly when you’re apart from them but feel claustrophobic as soon as you’re together.
Here’s the kicker:
Only slightly more than half the population (around 60%) has a secure attachment. The other 40% have some variation of an insecure attachment - either anxious or avoidant. If your caregivers weren’t consistently available so that you didn’t feel you could rely on them to meet your needs, you might have developed an anxious attachment style. If your caregivers were physically absent or emotionally distant or unavailable and you learned that you couldn’t count on them to meet your needs, you might have developed an avoidant attachment style.
The figures (60% secure) apply to both children and adults, although it IS possible for your attachment style to change over time, so even if you feel you didn’t receive the most positive, consistent and loving parenting, that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to have an insecure attachment. And if you do, it’s entirely possible to change!
What can I do?
1. Don't buy your own B.S.
When you get into a relationship with someone new, you may initially be really excited about then and then, as things progress, you start to have doubts. It’s important for you to recognise that this is your brain’s way of protecting you from the threat of too much closeness. Rather than believing the stories in your head (you’ll likely start identifying all the things wrong with the person or why it won’t work), learn to see those thoughts as a self-protection strategy, not as facts. Mindfulness is a great way to practise observing those thoughts with detachment and curiosity instead of believing them to be true.
2. Ask for Help
As much as you love your independence and are incredibly self-reliant, it’s important to start experiencing the positive benefits of a mutually supportive relationship. We humans thrive when we experience interdependence - relying on others and also being relied on by others. You can start slowly with this. You don’t need to share a deeply personal problem with someone but asking your partner or a friend to help you out when you’re overwhelmed or struggling (or accepting help when it’s offered) is a great start and then be sure to acknowledge how nice it feels to have that support.
3. Practise gratitude for the people in your life
It’s a hallmark of the avoidant person to de-emphasise people’s positive qualities and focus on the negatives. (This isn’t intended to be cruel or mean; it’s a way of deactivating the attachment system to feel safe again). By spending time every day recognising and appreciating the positive qualities in people, you can counter that negative bias and reduce the likelihood that you’ll damage the relationship by being critical and negative.
*Disclaimer: This quiz is not a validated psychometric assessment and is intended to be a guide only. If you're interested to know more about your attachment style, see this site.