Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Parenting Pointers: Attachment Styles in Relationahips

I recently had the opportunity to review the book Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find - and Keep - Love. Don't let the "science" in the title scare you away. It's quite easy to read, and if you've had problems with relationships in the past (or now), could serve as a welcome explanation for some of the issues. I interviewed the authors to learn more about attachment and relationships. I definitely recommend this book for people struggling to make relationships work.

What makes the science-based book different from other relationship books?

A lot of books are based on the author's personal opinion or on their own experiences. What's great about the science of attachment is not only that it has held ground scientifically for many years but that the findings about attachment styles have been replicated time and again in many different cultures around the world by many different research groups. It was very important to us to get this information out there into the hands of people who can actually use it to better their lives.

For example people think that playing hard to get in the beginning of a relationship helps keep the other person interested. WRONG!!! For some people playing games early on in the dating process helps attract the wrong person for them! A science based book can help you where other books can trip you. It dispels lots of myths that you find in other relationship books. It tells you who you should date and who you should stay away from, how to deal with difficult situations in the relationship, and even how to break up, if you reach the conclusion that it's not working for you anymore.

Also, don't let the word science scare you away. The iPad is a technological marvel yet you don't find that scary! This is not a book for brainiacs. Rather, we took all the information and transformed it into a relationship book that anyone can read. It's full of stories and examples.

2) What effects does the attachment style have on relationships - or on finding new relationships?

It's the age old question—but is he the right person for me? Think Clueless meets Jane Austin. How do you find the person who will make you happy and how do you avoid a painful divorce down the road? Luckily, science has some answers.

The combination of your own attachment style and that of your partner has a dramatic effect on the kind of relationship you'll have and the issues you'll be dealing with. If you're in a dating situation this can be hugely helpful because you can make a conscious effort to find someone who is compatible with you from the very start. In Attached we show you how to figure out someone's attachment style very early on in the relationship before you're overly invested emotionally. If you're already in a relationship, knowing about attachment styles can shed light on what is really going on under the surface. This understanding can make a huge difference.

3) What was the most eye-opening thing you discovered while working on this book?

Attachment is a hugely important part of our lives, in more ways than can be imagined. It can make our lives a happy place or make us so miserable we'll wither away. So choosing right and making your relationship better is key for health and success. Understanding how attachment styles work can get you there. For example:

People with different attachment styles not only behave differently in relationships but actually perceive things in very different and even opposing ways. For example, when anxious people are asked to think about some negative aspect of relationships, areas of their brain that deal with emotion light up on MRI scans for longer than other people while other areas of their brain that are responsible for regulating and calming emotions are slower to light up. For someone secure the opposite happens – they don't naturally think about negative aspects of relationships and when they're asked to do so they can hold that thought for a short while but the minute they're told to stop, they go back to normal. In other words, they won't spend an extra second pondering these negative thoughts while anxious people will be preoccupied with them and have a hard time letting go of those thoughts. You can see how understanding that your partner needs that extra little reassurance in order to calm down those very real fears can be helpful.

4) What is the biggest thing you hope readers take away from this book?

That you don't have to leave your love life to chance, and that you can minimize heartache and bad relationship outcomes by following a few simple relationship rules. By understanding your own attachment style and that of others you meet, you really hold a key to understanding romantic interactions.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book as a thank-you for this post,

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