The good news is that your attachment style isn’t a fixed feature of your personality. You can change from anxious to secure if you work on yourself.
Another good news is, even without changing your attachment style, you can learn to keep (most of) your cool when you’re in love. While the tips below aren’t a recipe to suddenly become securely attached, they can help you rein in your anxiety and make having a romantic relationship a lot less stressful than it usually is for you.
Get a life
Seriously, Get. A. Life.
The relationship you spent half of your workday imagining in your head doesn’t count. That’s not life, that’s an illusion. It’s escapism in its purest, strongest form.
Get more involved with projects that you’re passionate about. Keep in touch with your friends and hang out with them often. Cultivate other meaningful relationships besides your romantic one.
Keep in mind you’re living your life right now, and you’re living it for yourself, not anybody else. Don’t keep your life in a permanent state of suspension just waiting for your loved one to come around.
If you’re anxiously attached, chances are you put your own life on the back burner while waiting for somebody else to figure out theirs. Stop. You were made for more than to sit on the bleachers to cheer somebody else on. You were made to be in the field just as much they were.
This isn’t chess, stop planning 5 moves ahead
Stop imagining so many scenes in your head. Just stop.
Planning and rehearsing for a difficult conversation have their use, but you don’t have to plan every step of everything that’s going to happen between you and the object of your affection.
This is life, not chess. Live in the moment for a change. Make an exercise to be comfortable living one day at a time, not expecting much of what may come next. You two have plans to see each other? Great. Get ready and get over there and see what happens.
Are there no plans? Ask them out. Stop fretting over if they’ll say yes or no, and what happens next. Whatever they say, go from there. Act on whatever their actions are, not on what you think they might be.
Act on their feedback, not on your best hopes and dreams — or worse, on your fears.
Hi I’m Jemma, and I’m an Anxious-Avoidant
I was scandalized, and oddly relieved, to identify so strongly with a great many aspects of attachment theory. I think I fall into the anxious-avoidant statistic, but am moving toward secure. Depending on the style of attachment my partners and loved ones have, different sides of my own attachment system has emerged.
With anxious attachers, I am a classic avoidant.
With avoidants, I become anxious.
And secures have been (unfortunately) booooooring, making me end or sabotage relationships in search of more excitement, avoidant again.
I can “effectively communicate” like a secure attacher, but I also can use my communication skills to mask or rationalize deeply lodged and irrational fears. By the time I’m done explaining myself, you may be convinced that I know exactly what I’m doing. But if you are just judging by my actions, or the trail of ended relationships behind me, it may become obvious I’m a bit of a disaster.
One ex told me when we broke up “I feel sorry for your next victim,” which, at the time, felt obscenely dramatic. But maybe…
Anxious and avoidant attachers often find ourselves in relationship with each other because the push-pull creates that drama that many of us mistake for LOVE. It’s the roller coaster so many songs and movies talk about, that passionate connection that suddenly drops out, highs and lows leading to heartache and misery and sometimes abuse. Relationships with secure people can feel boring at first, especially when your system is all riled up from the turmoil and cortisol of insecure attachment. But if we want to feel a safe and deepening intimacy, we can look at our attachment style and consciously choose to behave in ways that are more secure.
Attached, and the subsequent articles I’ve read about this, are careful to state that there is no “wrong” attachment style. But obviously, those of us who desire more satisfying relationship may look critically at our histories of building roller coaster relationships. And I’m grateful for this way of assessing my own experience with relationships and giving me some tools for better choosing people I develop intimate relationships with.