Attachment types can describe how we behave in our relationships and how they develop. You can learn more about the so-called attachment theory and how it affects our partnerships in the following article.


  • What is attachment theory?
  • What types of bindings are there?
  • What All Binding Types Have in Common
  • Is it possible to change the attachment style?

Despite all the natural needs for love and affection, there are people who repeatedly end up with the wrong person: While one person is clinging, the other person feels crushed by too much closeness. Frustration and despair in the search for a partner as well as constant conflicts in the relationship are often the result. “I guess I’m just not capable of relationships,” many conclude. The theory of attachment types can explain why and how we enter into or even avoid relationships. The causes of this go back to early childhood. In this post, we would like to invite you to get to know the different types of attachment, the strengths and weaknesses, as well as your self-image in a relationship.

What is attachment theory?

The so-called attachment theory assumes that the first year of life in particular is formative for a child’s development. This year, children learn from their primary caregivers – usually mothers and/or fathers – how to deal with attachments to others. As early as the 1940s, the psychoanalyst and child psychiatrist John Bowlby laid the foundation for the attachment theory between parent and child. Together with him, psychologist Mary Ainsworth further developed the model in the 1950s: The researchers observed the behavior of children when they were separated from their mother. In the research on the theory, some children behaved completely indifferently when their mother left the room, while others began to cry or react angrily. Overall, four different behavioral patterns emerged in the tests. In psychology, this test is considered the foundation of relationship types. It was concluded that the relationship between the primary caregiver and the child forms the basis for all relationships throughout life and explains the types of attachment we develop into.

If children experience a secure attachment to their caregiver, they have learned to build trust with other people at an early age and have good self-esteem.

However, if the attachment to the caregiver is insecure, this can have a negative effect in adulthood and manifest itself, for example, in behavioral patterns such as jealousy, fear, anger or detachment .

An overview: What types of bindings are there?

The Secure Binding Type

A secure attachment type has the ability to regulate one’s own feelings and can also communicate them well. In addition, secure attachment types usually have no problems trusting others and are able to have healthy and long-term relationships. According to attachment theory, they have emotionally available parents/caregivers who have shown them a sense of security, encouragement, and appreciation.

The insecure-ambivalent attachment type

The insecure-ambivalent attachment type is characterized by fear of rejection and abandonment. In their relationships, this type of attachment is always looking for validation and is also sometimes prone to jealousy due to their low self-esteem. These behaviors can be the consequences of an inconsistent upbringing that was not adapted to the needs of the child. Parents who have blamed the child for their own feelings are also typical.

The Insecure-Avoidant Attachment Type

Building long-term relationships and engaging in physical and emotional intimacy is often difficult for this attachment type. As a child, insecure-avoidant attachment types often had the expectation that they would have to be independent and take care of themselves at an early age. They may also have been rejected as a child when they expressed their feelings and needs, so it’s no wonder that they don’t find it easy to do so in adulthood.

The insecure-disorganized attachment type

Typical characteristics of this type of attachment are inconsistent behavior and difficulty trusting other people or one’s partner. Often there is also the fear of rejection and the inability to regulate one’s own feelings. Causes for these behavioral patterns can be trauma, neglect or experiences of abuse in childhood. Sometimes this attachment type also had parents who were very contradictory in their behavior and upbringing.

Important: The types of relationships presented represent a very helpful approach in our practice. In reality, of course, there is not always a simple connection. However, the fact that the behavior of the parents has a great influence on the development of the child is undisputed in science.

What All Insecure Attachment Types Have in Common

With their behavior, all insecure attachment types want to avoid feared injuries again and develop supposed protective strategies for themselves in order to be able to exclude them in the future. If the painful childhood experiences remain unhealed, many people repeat these patterns over and over again in adulthood. A typical example is loss-fearing partners who fall in love with a person with commitment anxiety and want to bind them to them with even more closeness – unfortunately, the exact opposite happens.

The more separations or disappointments we experience, the more protective strategies we develop if they are not recognized and dealt with.

Is it possible to change the attachment style?

Have you identified your attachment style or that of your partner and are wondering whether the attachment style can be changed or whether relationship skills can be learned? At this point, there’s good news: what type of relationship you are doesn’t determine your whole life or current relationship. If both partners develop an awareness of their unhealthy attachment patterns, they can escape the negative cycle together as a team.

We at Liebling + Schatz are happy to accompany you in breaking out of learned patterns and dealing with yourself and your relationship behavior in a self-honest way. Based on our many years of practical experience, we know that in this way it is possible to improve the quality of the relationship or finally lead the fulfilling partnership that you want. If you would like our support, contact us!

Would you like to learn more about couples therapy with us? Then feel free to take a look here.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Kontakt Liebling + Schatz

Nehmen Sie Kontakt mit uns auf!

Get in touch with us!