When people try to manifest love, they often turn to vision boards, making lists or affirmations. As a therapist with twenty years of experience, I’ve discovered the secret to manifesting love and it all comes down to one thing: understanding our attachment style.
Our attachment style is the way that we approach connection and closeness. It’s based on our experiences with caregivers, but it can change over time depending on other relationships we have. There are four types of attachment styles. One is secure and three are considered insecure.
People who have a secure attachment style can give and receive love easily. They can be connected to others and ok on their own. They are comfortable with differences and can resolve conflicts well.
People with an anxious attachment style are preoccupied with their relationships and afraid that their partner will leave them or can’t love them back. People with an avoidant attachment style engage in distancing behaviors because closeness feels too vulnerable. Those with a disorganized attachment style vacillate between anxious and avoidant style behaviors. One minute they’re afraid of losing a partner, the next they are pushing them away.
Our attachment styles result in behaviors that impact dating. Here are some of the behaviors that can show up when we have an insecure attachment style.
1. Anxious attachment behaviors
- Texting too often
- Asking for reassurance prematurely
- Rushing into things
- Over-sharing too soon
- Dropping friends and hobbies in order to spend more time with dating partner
- Worrying excessively about what the dating partner is thinking and doing
- Trying very hard to please dating partners
- Not communicating their own wishes and needs
2. Avoidant attachment behaviors
- Guarding independence by turning down relationships
- Taking a long time to respond to texts
- Not sharing anything personal
- Withdrawing from situations when faced with conflict
- Finding fault with potential partners in order to avoid closeness
- Fantasizing about “the perfect partner” to avoid deeper intimacy with real people
- Not showing affection
- Using work to keep others at a distance
- Behaving in a cold, dismissive, or insensitive way
3. Disorganized attachment behaviors
- Fluctuating between anxious and avoidant behaviors
- Sending very mixed signals
- Fluctuating between boundaries that are too open and too rigid
- Putting others on a pedestal at first and then feeling very disappointed
- Reacting to other people in extreme ways
- Forming intense relationships quickly that also end quickly
If you struggle with any of these behaviors, try not to be hard on yourself. Our attachment styles are based on how we adapted to our caregivers in order to survive. In other words, we didn’t have a choice. There are, however, ways we can become more secure in our attachment style. By implementing the following strategies, you can develop more security and success with romantic partners in the future.
What to Do If You Have Anxious Attachment
- Try to look for partners who have a secure attachment style
- Distract and soothe yourself in healthy ways when you feel the urge to reach out too often
- Notice and manage anxiety rather than act on it
- Reassure the wounded inner child part of you that’s anxious about being abandoned that you will be there for it
What to Do If You Have Avoidant Attachment
- Notice the urge to criticize, pull away, or detach
- Connect with your own body (perhaps through deep breathing, yoga, or a body scan) and self-soothe when closeness feels scary
- Give yourself a pep talk and have the courage to reach out
- Take small steps to lean into relationships
What to Do If You Have Disorganized Attachment
- Notice your tendency to idealize people one minute and then devalue or demonize them the next
- Pause when you feel triggered rather than act on feelings
- Give yourself compassion as you work on trust and emotion regulation strategies
How Expectations Play a Role in Manifesting Love
Studies that look at whether we are attracted to people based on our attachment style or theirs found that we are drawn to relationships that meet our patterns and expectations. For example, if we expect to be rejected, we might seek a relationship with someone who is avoidant. If we expect to lose our autonomy in relationships, we might pursue someone who has an anxious attachment style.
So, can something like a few affirmations help us change our relationship expectations? Not likely. Our attachment styles and the expectations that come along with them are deeply ingrained. Through healthy relationship experiences, therapy, and practicing secure attachment skills, however, we can cultivate what’s referred to as an earned secure attachment style and naturally start to expect and seek out relationships that support our needs.
Manifesting the Love You Deserve
The most important thing to realize about manifesting love is that attraction is different from commitment – just because you are attracted to someone doesn’t mean you have to commit the next twenty years to them. Learning about your attachment style can help you differentiate between a pattern and the type of person you want and deserve in the long-term.
Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find – and Keep – Love by Amir Levine, M.D., and Rachel S.F. Heller, M.A.
The Power of Attachment: How to Create Deep and Lasting Intimate Relationships by Diane Poole Heller, Ph.D.
I’d love to hear from you: Do you think that understanding our attachment style can help us manifest love better than other strategies?