What's your love style?

Laraine Bennett

It’s February, and you know what that means. It’s the month of chocolates, flowers, and romance. We begin thinking about Valentine’s Day and that special someone in our life. But not everyone easily connects with others, or feels comfortable in their romantic relationships. Even married couples often disagree in terms of intimacy and emotional expression.

Are you anxious when you meet new people? Careful not to share too many intimate details? Are you a little afraid to open up, perhaps out of fear of being rejected? Are you very independent? In fact, you really hate to ask for help! You really don’t care for too much emotional stuff, and you do better when you are not tangled up in a close relationship. Or, are you quite the opposite? You easily fall in love, easily share personal details with others. In fact, you find that often other people disappoint you. They never seem to need as much friendship, contact, or intimacy as you.

These differences are based in our very different styles of attachment, also called “love styles.” People have very different ways of relating to others emotionally, especially when it comes to our very personal, intimate relationships. The four (most common) styles are: secure, preoccupied, fearful, and dismissing.

Securely attached people tend to be trusting and open, and easily form healthy, strong relationships. They do not fear being rejected. Preoccupied people are uneasy and anxious in their relationships, and are often needy and demanding. They want close relationships, but are very worried about rejection. A very independent and self-reliant individual who tends to be rather uninterested in emotionality reveals a dismissing style, while someone who is uncomfortable with intimacy, shy, and mistrustful of others shows a fearful style.

These differences have roots deep in our past.

Psychologists have discovered that the way we learned to relate as infants and small children has a huge impact on our future love relationships. If the parent or primary caregiver was very responsive to the infant’s needs (picking up the baby when it cried, consistently being warm and loving) then the infant formed a secure attachment. If, however, the parent or caregiver was very inconsistent, anxious, or ambivalent and did not respond to the baby’s needs in a consistent way, the baby might form an insecure, anxious attachment. A caregiver who was neglectful, hostile, or unresponsive to the baby’s cries might cause the child to feel rejected or to give up on having its needs met (causing an avoidant attachment style).

How easily can you accept close attachments? How fearful are you about abandonment? Do you feel confident about being close to others? Or do you constantly feel unworthy? Those who are securely attached, will find that they not only are comfortable being close to others, but also they are not overly anxious about being rejected. The fearful love style, however, is just the opposite: they are at once anxious, clingy and yet afraid to get close! Preoccupied people fear rejection, while wanting to get close ("I hid under your porch because I love you!") and dismissing people are the opposite: they don't really fear rejection; they just don't need you.

Fortunately, these four love styles are not immutable types. Rather, they tend to be on a continuum, ranging from low (for example, low anxiety) to high. The good news is that more people (60%) are securely attached, with only 25% being avoidant (either fearful or dismissing) and another 10% anxious (or preoccupied).

Furthermore, your love style can be influenced by your ongoing life experiences. If you are generally secure, but are unceremoniously dumped by a jerk boyfriend, your trust in romantic relationships may be shaken, at least temporarily. Similarly, if you are generally dismissive, but are happily married to an affectionate and understanding spouse, you will begin to move toward becoming less dismissive and avoidant.

But the really good news is this: whether you are insecure, fearful, or dismissive, you can change. The transforming power of love and God’s grace can help someone who is insecure or fearful about relationships become trusting, open, and confident. When we allow ourselves to fully experience God’s love for us, and when we experience a committed, open and trusting relationship, we can change our old ways of relating, and begin to experience new ones. Jesus says: "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10).

This article originally appeared on Catholic Match.com, which is a part of the 4marks Network. 4marks offers a variety of online services to Catholics, including our Temperament Test, single Catholic service and Trivia. To learn more about any of our services or how 4marks is helping Catholics connect online in order to deepen their faith offline visit www.4marks.com.

Topics: Marriage , Personal Growth , Relationships

Laraine Bennett co-authored, with her husband Art, The Temperament God Gave Your Spouse and The Temperament God Gave You, published by Sophia Institute Press. Their new book, The Emotions God Gave You, is due Spring 2011. Please visit their website at http://temperaments.sophiainstitute.com/.

View all articles by Laraine Bennett

Ads by Google
(What's this?)


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)



Abortion (42)  Advent & Christmas (19)  Beauty (2)  Bioethics (4)  Books (55)  Church history (14)  Church teaching (28)  Contraception (22)  Culture (119)  Current Events (85)  Dating (15)  Death (4)  Depression (14)  Divorce (7)  Education (12)  Eucharist (3)  Exercise (3)  Faith (213)  Family (86)  Fashion (5)  Feminism (12)  Fertility (2)  Fitness (1)  Food (2)  Forgiveness (17)  Friendship (18)  Generosity (2)  Girl Scouts (2)  Grieving (1)  Health (23)  Home Management (17)  Humor (14)  Leadership (4)  Lent & Easter (12)  Liturgical Year (9)  Marian devotion (8)  Marriage (33)  Mature Years (5)  Meditations (17)  Mental illness (1)  Mercy (1)  Military Families (2)  Ministry (4)  Miscarriage (1)  Motherhood (55)  Movies (1)  Music (4)  Natural Family Planning (2)  Nutrition (4)  Parenting (44)  Personal Growth (105)  Politics (3)  Pornography (3)  Prayer (31)  Pro-Life (26)  Psychology (1)  Reflections (4)  Relationships (44)  Religious freedom (10)  Saints (9)  Scripture (6)  Service (8)  Sexuality (18)  Single years (4)  Social justice (1)  Social Networking (5)  Special Needs (3)  Spirituality (2)  Suffering (13)  Suicide (1)  Travel (11)  Welcome (1)  Women in the Church (3)  Women's Health (20)  Workplace (12)  Writings of the Saints (8)  Young Women (39) 


Liturgical Calendar

April 23, 2014

Wednesday within the Octa ve of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:8-15


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Acts 3:1-10
Gospel:: Lk 24:13-35

Saint of the Day

St. Adalbert of Prague »


Homily of the Day

Mt 28:8-15


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: