In psychology, the theory of attachment can be applied to adult relationships including friendships, emotional affairs, adult romantic or platonic relationships and in some cases relationships with inanimate objects.
Attachment theory, initially studied in the 1960s and 1970s primarily in the context of children and parents, was extended to adult relationships in the late 1980s.
Four main styles of attachment have been identified in adults:
ie: positive view of self and positive view of others
Often they report greater satisfaction and adjustment in their relationships than people with other attachment styles. Securely attached people feel comfortable both with intimacy and with independence.
Secure attachment and adaptive functioning are promoted by a caregiver who is emotionally available and appropriately responsive to his or her child’s attachment behavior, as well as capable of regulating both his or her positive and negative emotions.
ie: negative view of self and positive view of others
People with this style of attachment seek high levels of intimacy, approval, and responsiveness from their attachment figure. They sometimes value intimacy to such an extent that they become overly dependent on the attachment figure.
The desire for independence often appears as an attempt to avoid attachment altogether. They view themselves as self-sufficient and invulnerable to feelings associated with being closely attached to others. They often deny needing close relationships. Some may even view close relationships as relatively unimportant. Not surprisingly, they seek less intimacy with attachments, whom they often view less positively than they view themselves.
People with losses or other trauma, such as sexual abuse in childhood and adolescence may often develop this type of attachment and tend to agree with the following statements: “I am somewhat uncomfortable getting close to others. They commonly view themselves as unworthy of responsiveness from their attachments, and they don’t trust the intentions of their attachments.