Decoding Your Partner’s Attachment Style

Happy Valentines Day Everyone!

If any of you know me at all yet, you would know that I can’t write about superficial ways to make your valentines day the most amazing day of your life. It should be an awesome day in a string of other awesome days in your relationship. So if you are starting a relationship or want to better under your partner, this valentines day article is for you! Go into your valentines day date with a better understanding of your self and the person who is sitting across from you!

When reading about attachment styles it is often fairly easy to figure which best suits us. Sometimes we may feel we can relate to each style on some level, but there is one that we primarily default to more than the others. The question is, how in the world do we go about decoding the attachment patterns of our partner or potential mate? It’s actually easier than you might think. People give off tell tale signs about their comfort level with codependent and secure connection. This article will go through some of the clues that your partner may be giving off, which will help you to better understand their attachment style. From there you can read more about their attachment style here, and then stay tuned to the blog in the upcoming weeks for more insight as to what styles are best paired together.

The Secure Attachment Style is characterized by constant, reliable and trustworthy attachment patterns. These individuals account for roughly 50% of the population and are the God given super-mates of relationships. If your partner is secure they will present as the following:

  • Reliable and consistent
  • Makes decisions with you (not unilaterally)
  • Flexible view of relationships
  • Communicates relationship issues well
  • Can reach compromise during arguments
  • Not afraid of commitment or dependency
  • Doesn’t view relationships as hard work
  • Closeness create further closeness
  • Introduces friends and family early on
  • Naturally expresses feelings for you
  • Doesn’t play games

The Avoidant/Dismissive Attachment Style is characterized by a strong need to maintain independence and self-sufficiency.  They really struggle with partners who show any sign of being dependent and tend to have a dismissive attitude towards connectedness. This leads them to resort to deactivating attachment patterns if they find someone is getting too close. These individuals account for roughly 25% of the population. Here are some of the clues that you are dating an avoidant/dismissive partner:

  • Sends mixed signals
  • Values his/her independence greatly
  • Devalues you
  • Uses distancing strategies—emotional or physical
  • Emphasizes boundaries in the relationship
  • Has an unrealistic romantic view of how a relationship should be
  • Mistrustful—fears being taken advantage of by partner.
  • Has a rigid view of relationships and uncompromising rules
  • During disagreements needs to get away or “explodes”
  • Doesn’t make his/her intentions clear—leaves you guessing as to his/her feelings
  • Has difficulty talking about what is going on between you

The Anxious/ Preoccupied Attachment Style is characterized by a unique ability to sense little changes and shifts in the relationship. Often these shifts are perceived as a threat, which causes them to try to re-establish closeness in the relationship. If their partner pulls away when they attempt to restore closeness, they often resort to protest behaviour (constant attempts to re-establish connection). On the other hand, if they are met with reassurance and support, their anxieties cease and things return to normal. These individuals make up roughly 20% of the population and have a “spidey sense” or heighted awareness to small cues given in relationships. The clues that your partner may have an anxious attachment style are as follows:

  • Wants a lot of closeness in relationship
  • Expresses insecurities—worries about rejection
  • Unhappy when not in a relationship
  • Plays games to keep your attention/interest
  • Has difficulty explaining what is bothering him/her. Expects you to guess
  • Acts out—instead of trying to resolve the problem between you
  • Has a hard time not making things about himself/herself in the relationship
  • Lets you set the tone of the relationship to not get hurt
  • Is preoccupied with the relationship
  • Fears that small acts will ruing the relationship; believes she/he must work hard to keep your interest
  • Suspicious you might be unfaithful

You may have noticed that 5% of the population is unaccounted for, and that is because they are a mixture of both anxious/preoccupied and avoidant/dismissive. They make up the Fearful Avoidant Attachment style and you can learn more about them here.

Identifying your partner’s attachment style is for your own understanding of how your partner relates, and to learn how to improve your relationship. It is not meant to act as a guide for you to diagnose and/or confront your partner. Use this information wisely to understand what your partner needs, and how you can better relate to them. Take it a step further and understand your attachment style. Get familiar with how the two relate to one another. Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks where we will continue attachment conversations and what attachment styles are best suited for long lasting relationships.

Wishing you love and connection,






Levine, A. & Heller, R. (2010). Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—And Keep—Love. Penguin Group, NY: New York.


  1. This is really interesting, Erica.

    Am I interpreting correctly that 50% of relationships are based upon attachment styles that are (lack of better word) dysfunctional in nature? When I think about this, I can see these attachment styles in a number of couples I know.

    Hummm – definitely food for thought :-)

    1. Hey friend, thanks for your comment!

      It means that 50% of the population have an insecure attachment style. As we get into it over the next couple of weeks we will discover that when people with an insecure attachment style are paired with secure partners or are focused on building secure attachments, they too can experience safe and secure relationships.

      Knowing these signs from the beginning is always helpful when trying to find the right partner, but certainly doesn’t mean it is hopeless for those just coming across this information now :)

      Warm regards,