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7 Ways to Support an Anxiously Attached Partner

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5 min

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Published on:

Mon Oct 23 2023

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Last updated:

Mon Nov 20 2023

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The Personal Development School

If you’re in a relationship with someone who is anxiously attached, you may struggle with feeling like you can’t meet or support your partner’s needs. People with an anxious attachment style tend to have a hard time with self-connection and self-soothing, so they typically rely on their partner to fulfill their emotions and needs and help them feel secure.

For this reason, individuals with anxiously attached partners often feel like they’re not doing enough for their partner. And as we all know: attachment styles have a big impact on our love lives.

So therefore, it makes sense that you have to learn how to support your partner during these bouts of doubts.

Let's look at what triggers an anxious attaced person in the first place.

anxious-couple-arguing

What is the Anxious Attached Attachment Style?

There are four attachment styles, and the anxious attached (AA) style (also known as anxious preoccupied or AP) is one of the three insecure styles.

Anxious attached indivudals develop their traits and core wounds because of inconsistent parents. Examples include when one parent was always working; the other was at home, or that their parents would swing from being supportive to not.

So, the child - and later adult - develops "anxiety" when being unattached or fearing they'll be unattached.

This stems from their core wounds (also known as attachment wounds):

-- “I am/will be abandoned”

-- “I am alone”

What's why AAs struggle when they think they'll be abandoned or their partner is pulling away. And if you're doing this unintentionally, then there's a good chance your AA partner is

With that in mind, there are ways you can support an anxiously attached partner—here are eight of them.

How to Support an Anxiously Attached Partner

1) Be consistent with your actions and words.

While your own inconsistencies may not be obvious to you, you can bet they are to your anxious attached partner. If they notice any incongruencies in your words and actions or you’re suddenly less available due to an issue that has nothing to do with them (like a busy time at work), this will activate their fear of abandonment.

While it’s not possible to be consistent 100% of the time, doing your best to be consistent as often as possible—and communicate any reasons behind inconsistencies when they do come up—will be incredibly helpful for your partner.

2) Communicate anything that’s on your mind.

Because anxiously attached individuals are likely to craft stories in their minds about what’s going on in the relationship that isn’t based on reality, it’s important to communicate with your partner as often as possible. Let them know what’s on your mind, and be open about any changes or inconsistencies going on in your life. When you communicate openly, it can help an anxiously attached partner feel secure and encourage them to communicate more openly as well.

3) Discuss interdependency (not codependence!) as the goal.

People with an anxious attachment style often struggle with codependence, meaning they rely on their partner to meet every single one of their needs instead of working to meet those needs themselves. They have that same expectation for themselves: They think they should be able to meet every single one of their partner’s needs.

By having a conversation about interdependency—meaning you meet some of each other’s needs but can also meet your own needs—you can encourage your partner to begin to move toward a more securely attached place. For advice and tips on how to do that, you can check out The Personal Development School’s course on ending codependency.

4) Explain any physical or emotional distance

Anxiously attached people are likely to be very cognizant of distance, whether it’s a literal physical distance, like sitting far away on a couch, or your decision to take a trip somewhere without them.

Explaining the reasons for distance can be helpful for anxiously attached people. If it’s the height of summer and you’re not cuddling with them on the couch while the two of you watch a show, be honest about it and say, “I wish we could cuddle right now, but I’m just so hot! It has nothing to do with you.” Statements like these can provide reassurance that the distance isn’t a threat to your relationship.

happy-secure-attached-couple

5) Do your best to give certainty.

Individuals who are anxiously attached are triggered by any uncertain messages they receive from their partner, thinking it means they will be abandoned. If they ask you when you’ll see each other next and you say you don’t know, they might think you want to break up with them. Try giving statements of certainty, like, “I’m busy with XX activity this weekend, but how about we get dinner on Tuesday night?

6) Reassure them that you love them.

While it’s important for anxiously attached people to work toward learning to reassure themselves, getting semi-regular reassurance from their partner can be incredibly helpful. Let them know you love and appreciate them regularly, and reassure them that they’re happy in the relationship. This will mean a lot to a person with an anxious attachment style.

7) Remember: be patient.

Even if you’re securely attached, being in a relationship with an anxiously attached partner can be difficult. It’s not easy to constantly feel like you have to prove how much you love your partner and always show up and be everything to them.

As long as you know they’re working hard to learn coping mechanisms to become more securely attached, it’s important to be patient. With The Personal Development School’s courses, your partner can become more securely attached in just 90 days.

Changing an Anxious Attachment Style

Your partner can always work towards changing their attachment style to become more secure and confident in themselves. It may take a while, but with the right reprogramming tools, they can overcome their anxious preoccupied attachment style.

It’s important to remember that an anxiously attached person has to do internal work in order to move toward a more secure attachment style and that there’s only so much their partner can do.

If you wish for your partner to take these steps, inform them about The Personal Development School and our exclusive courses.

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