This is How to Build Secure Attachment in a Relationship
You talk about your feelings.
Anxious attachment feels like not knowing what your partner is thinking or feeling. How they will react if you say this, feel that, or do the other thing. Will they leave? Judge you? Criticize you? Reject you?
You’re not really sure if your needs will be met. Shit, you might not even know what your needs are or think you’re worthy of getting them met, let alone communicate your needs!
If you want to feel secure in your relationship, you have to be vulnerable with your partner. You’ve gotta have these variously scary and awkward conversations, transparently sharing all of yourself with the person you love. This is the basis for true intimacy, trust, and a deep, lasting bond.
My wife and I go for a walk every Sunday and Wednesday morning. Always. It’s built into our schedule. The sole purpose of this walk is to discuss our feelings. What’s going on with us? What are our fears, insecurities, and budding resentments? We put it all on the table.
We don’t interrupt each other, justify, minimize, criticize, shame, or debate. We don’t offer unsolicited advice or try to fix or “help.”
We simply listen to each other.
We speak in “I statements,” staying in our own lane, talking about ourselves, careful to not accuse or incriminate. These are my feelings. This is the story I made up about what’s going on.
Sometimes these conversations are filled with joy and gratitude, butterflies, and rainbows. Often they are unremarkable. And other times, they really suck.
Last Sunday, I had to share a thing with my wife that was very scary for me to say out loud because I just knew it would be painful for her to hear. But I had to say it. If I didn’t let her know, it was going to become a resentment, and then a wall, and then who knows?
With any difficulty that arises, the solutions are usually:
3) Work it out like adults
Since neither one of us wants to hire an assassin or a lawyer, we are working through it.
And every time we do, we grow closer together, understand each other a bit more, and become a little better equipped to meet each other’s needs.
Loving each other through emotional turbulence builds emotional security.
Writing to heal myself, others, and the world.