How To Protect Yourself While Dating If You Have An Anxious Attachment Style

Our attachment style affects all of our interpersonal relationships. It's the reason we seek companionship and intensely grieve the loss of a partner when a relationship ends. Believe it or not, our attachment styles can happen in friendships, romantic relationships, and even the workplace. Wherever we build relationships with others, we also develop an attachment to them within ourselves.


According to MindBodyGreen, our attachment styles develop as early as infancy and childhood. For example, if you faced a significant amount of insecurity and abandonment during childhood, then it's likely to transfer onto your interpersonal relationships. In children, an anxious attachment style may show up when a child cries easily, avoids strangers, and struggles to say goodbye to their parent or caregiver. In adults, however, the same attachment style can show up as codependency, low self-worth, and the need for frequent reassurance, per Healthline.

What does this mean for adults who struggle with an anxious attachment style? Well, you're in luck. Having an anxious attachment style, while occasionally debilitating, doesn't mean you can't regulate and keep these feelings under control. There are a number of ways to protect yourself while learning how to reconcile abandonment issues for a healthier connection — let's get started.


Identify and soothe emotions

Having a mindfulness practice such as deep breathing, yoga, or meditation can help you identify and soothe your emotions quickly. In a world filled with constant overthinking, a grounding mindfulness practice can help bring you back to reality (because sometimes we get lost!), according to clinical psychologist Dr. Lori Lawrenz. "Mindfulness is an important way for you to be present in the moment," she told PsychCentral, emphasizing the emotional impact of a grounding practice.


"By learning mindfulness, you can engage with others, be more present, and develop relationship security." Ask yourself what calms you down — the possibilities are endless. Mindfulness can include the 4-7-8 breathing technique, cardio, gardening, journaling, dancing, etc. Whatever helps spark joy can also help you move through hard feelings. As a result, you'll slowly learn how to protect your heart from the validation it seeks from others. If you want to make this a collaborative practice with your partner, find an activity you both enjoy and do it consistently.

Finding an effective communication model

Learning to communicate your feelings starts with knowing how. There are a few examples of effective communication models, but each one trickles down to this, per Innerflow Counseling: Hinting, assuming, and making false inferences is not the way. Instead, people with anxious attachment styles should be intentional about communicating with their partners more often. Remember that there's nothing wrong with asking for what you want or need.


When it comes to putting a communication model into place, start by staying on topic. It's easy to generalize a conversation at times of nervousness, but being clear and detailed about how you feel will thoroughly improve the relationship. Explain how you approach intimate relationships, what you expect in return, and ask your partner for any comments or feedback. Be open to what your partner has to say, don't be afraid to counteract any defensiveness, and know that both of you require different systems of support. With a nonjudgemental attitude and clear rhetoric in mind, notice how things change when you're emotionally expressive.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Psychological treatment is in no way cheap or easy to access, but the results can drastically change your cognitive makeup. Per the American Psychological Association (APA), the mission of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is to reassure each patient that they're in control of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. By having an understanding of what we can and can't control, patients can then identify, challenge, and overcome their lifelong beliefs. As a result, their thoughts, habits, and relationships change for the better.


For patients with an anxious attachment style, learning how to restructure thoughts can drastically change how we generally feel. CB can also act as an umbrella term for more patient-centric treatment. For example, Psychology Today explained how trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy consists of psychotherapy geared toward patients suffering from the early effects of trauma. While this isn't necessarily geared towards resolving attachment styles, an anxious attachment can be rooted in childhood, adolescent, or adult trauma that could be effectively resolved — subsequently changing how you interact with the people around you.