Attached delivers a scientific explanation why some relationships thrive and steer a clear path over a lifetime, while others crash and burn, based on the human need for attachment and the three different styles of it.
Love and science. A complicated mix of topics. Some people say it’s all hokum, others swear on body measures and personality tests.
No matter which side of the spectrum you err on, you can’t help but agree that what Dr. Amir Levine and Rachel Heller outline in this book seems very reasonable and makes a lot of sense.
Attached investigates why we as humans have the desire to connect deeply with other humans, for example through a mother-child or romantic relationship.
Here are 3 great lessons about attachment and what it indicates to help you improve your relationships:
- Everyone needs attachment, it’s a prerequisite for a happy and healthy life.
- There are 3 different attachment styles, which one are you?
- Effective communication is the best way to guarantee your happiness in any relationship.
Ready for a relationship? Or already attached? Either way, here we go!
Lesson 1: Attachment is a prerequisite for a healthy and happy life, so everyone needs it (yes, you too!)
Remember the first time you stayed at home alone and your parents went out for dinner? You were super excited. Until the door fell shut behind them and you were scared half to death.
That’s because you feel attached to your parents. Attachment is a strong bond that develops over time and makes us feel the need to stay in touch with one another.
It’s the sort of relationship between parents and their child or the romantic relationship between two adults. The desire to be attached to someone is a genetic disposition we all carry in us, and it comes with many benefits.
Being in a relationship gives us a stronger emotional ground to stand on and thus makes us more resilient to stress. For example, when women hold their partner’s hand in a stressful situation, they’re more calm and relaxed, because they know someone goes through their trouble alongside them.
Similarly, being in a bad relationship can make you physically ill, for example because your blood pressure shoots through the roof every time your annoying partner enters the room.
But how do you know who to get attached to? Isn’t dating the most complicated thing in the world?
Yes. Yes it is. But this will make it easier.
Lesson 2: Which one are you? The 3 different attachment styles explained.
Rachel Heller and Amir Levine have identified 3 different types of attachment styles, some of which go together better than others. They are:
Let’s look at them a bit more closely.
If you have an anxious attachment style, you’ll spend a lot of time worrying about whether your partner loves you, if they’re spending enough time with you and what’s going on when they don’t call you back within a few minutes.
You feel a constant need to be with your partner, need them to be accessible all the time and take what they do and say very personally.
An avoidant attachment style, on the other hand, means you value your independency more than the relationship. You struggle with sharing feelings and recognizing them in others and tend to quickly assign blame to others (including your partner) when things go wrong.
You keep holding out for “the right one” and that makes it easy for you to find little ways in which your partner irritates you.
Lastly, there’s the secure attachment style. It strikes the ideal balance between caring enough and not worrying too much. A secure person just feels comfortable with intimacy and sharing feelings, without constantly stressing about it. You can read between the lines, judge your partner well, and don’t sweat it.
A secure partner is the best predictor of a happy relationship, and two secure partners rarely run into problems.
I bet you’re dying to find out which type you are. You probably already have an idea, but here’s a quiz the authors created, to help you determine for sure.
Lesson 3: The best way to guarantee you’ll end up happy in a relationship is to communicate effectively.
Wait, so if you’re not the secure attachment type, does that mean you’re doomed? Of course not.
While an anxious person should never date an avoidant person (can you imagine the rollercoaster?), even if just one partner in a relationship is secure, the relationship can work.
The key? Effective communication. Saying the right things at the right time makes everything a lot easier for both of you.
Just directly express your concerns and needs (without assigning blame or dramatizing), and you’ll feel better, while your partner is relieved they don’t have to guess what’s wrong any more.
This is also a surefire way to find out whether the person you’re currently seeing is right for you. Put everyone’s expectations on the table and then you can figure out together whether they can all be fulfilled.
It’s about finding a way to express your problems without pointing fingers. Instead of saying: “You’re so overdressed all the time.”, be honest and say: “When you dress up, it makes me feel insecure, how can we fix this?”
My personal take-aways
I remember finding out about this book from Tai Lopez a little over a year ago. I read the summary on Blinkist, then totally forgot about it, until now, so I thought I’d give it a re-read.
The cool thing about this book is that even though it’s scientifically grounded, most of it is common sense, when you think about it. Whether you’re in a relationship and want to improve it, or haven’t found the right one yet, this will help you know yourself better, so you’ll know what to do next.