Of the three, this one’s the healthiest. Securely attached individuals have no trouble making intimate and close bonds to others. In marriage, they treat their partners well because they don’t regard their relationship as threatening, and their partners tend to treat them better in return. When there are disagreements, they stick to the topic and don’t exaggerate the importance of what they’re fighting about. So fights don’t escalate or degenerate into something ugly. Even when times are tough they feel good about their partner because they don’t over-analyze their problems.
This one’s more troublesome. Avoidance attached individuals are uncomfortable with intimacy and keep an emotional distance from others. At its heart is a lack of trust and a fear of separation. If we’re married to someone who has an avoidance attachment style, we’re not likely to feel they’re emotionally connected or committed to us, and that makes it hard to feel committed to them. They can be particularly tough to deal with during hard times because they tend to withdraw when confronted or feel threatened.
This is the most destructive style. Anxiety attachment is all about a fear of rejection or abandonment. Those who have an anxious style are hyper-vigilant in their relationships. They watch their partners closely and suspiciously, looking for evidence that justifies their insecurity. Their worries lead them to instigate conflicts, and these can be emotionally charged. Not surprisingly, anxiety attached people are generally unhappy in their relationships and presume their partners feel the same way, which adds to their fear of being abandoned. Through their own actions, anxiety attached individuals unwittingly produce the result they fear most — a damaged and uncertain relationship.