FOR COUPLES: Four Behaviors that Make a Relationship Stick

shutterstock_8935201Wondering if your relationship is normal? Do you question weather your tiffs, pouts, missed communication beats, followed by mad crazy make-up sex are a sign you are in a secure attachment or a psychotic union? The truth is that there are many ways to bond and feel fulfilled in a relationship. But the unions that really provide food for our soul, have what researchers call, a secure attachment style. Here are four super vitamins that define a secure relationship that is armed for the long haul.

1. Seeking Closeness. I’m not talking about the closeness that comes with emotional intimacy. I’m talking about physical proximity. People with a secure attachment style don’t feel smothered by too much time together. In fact, they feel calm and fortified knowing their love is nearby and do everything they can to make it happen often.

2. Acting Needy. For people who can securely attach, that closeness becomes paramount during times of stress. Those who have an ability to reach out to their closest companion for help when things are bad can use their relationship to steady themselves. Those who don’t risk being vulnerable and needy sometimes may have the belief that people can’t be trusted to respond well. Or they may think that their tender spots are unlovable.

3. Taking Risks Together. Attachment experts call it exploration with a secure base. If you and your partner discover new experiences together, take emotional risks, and explore life with the feeling that you are braver as a twosome, then you are probably securely attached. On the other hand, if most of your risks and growth involve you acting as a free agent, this could be a sign you don’t trust relationships.

4. Stressing Over Separations. Let’s face it. Even the most bonded couples have to endure separations of a week or more. But if breaks from each other bring more feelings of relief than distress, you may not be in a secure bond. It’s a good sign to miss your partner a lot.

Did you notice that I didn’t say anything about money, sex, division of household labor, communication any of the other things couples fight about? That’s because the frequency of conflict doesn’t correlate with strength of attachment. Plenty of couples argue for sport or argue because the rupture makes the repair process so blissful. But if a relationship is missing the important supportive qualities of secure attachment, those other bones of contention could be an ominous outcome.

Finally, if one partner is exhibiting attachment behaviors that aren’t being reciprocated, yet is still staying addicted to the relationship, that’s a clear sign of an insecure bond. In a healthy relationship, people who can securely attach move away from those who don’t trust love. As my mother once told me, never love something that can’t love you back.

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