I never understood why I always picked partners who were emotionally unavailable. Uncovering my attachment style changed everything.

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Before I began my journey of self-discovery, I had a strange habit that left me perplexed and, quite frankly, a little frustrated. It seemed as if I had an uncanny knack for choosing partners who were emotionally out of reach. It was like a moth to a flame; I would always find myself drawn towards those who were not capable of giving me the emotional support and connection I craved.

Call it coincidence, or maybe just bad luck, but this pattern repeated itself over and over again. From the high school sweetheart who could never fully express his feelings, to the college boyfriend who was more interested in partying than building a meaningful relationship, to the post-grad partner who was too entangled with work to spare time for our relationship — it felt like I was trapped in a never-ending cycle.

And then came the turning point. A friend recommended diving into some readings on attachment styles. Intrigued, I delved into it and soon realized that this wasn’t about bad luck at all. It was about me. It was about my attachment style—an aspect of my personality I had never considered before.

I discovered that understanding my own attachment style could be the key to breaking this cycle. That perhaps, by understanding myself better and learning to love myself more, I could finally choose partners who were capable of being emotionally present.

Believe me when I say that this realization didn’t come easily. It took months of introspection, countless self-help books, and endless late-night conversations with friends. But once I understood my attachment style and began working on myself, everything started to change.

Now, looking back at my past relationships from a place of self-awareness and self-love, it feels like I’ve unlocked a secret door to healthier, more fulfilling partnerships. And if sharing my journey helps even one person break free from their own pattern of emotionally unavailable partners, then every bit of soul-searching and self-discovery will have been worth it.

Uncovering my attachment style changed everything. It could potentially change your love life, too.

Discovering the concept of attachment styles

I’ll admit, when I first heard about ‘attachment styles’, I was skeptical. It sounded like another pop psychology trend, and I wasn’t convinced it could explain my pattern of choosing emotionally unavailable partners.

However, after one failed relationship too many, I decided to give it a shot. I started with online articles, moved on to self-help books, and even attended a few workshops. And slowly, the pieces started to fall into place.

Attachment theory, in simple terms, is about how we form emotional bonds with others. It’s something that starts shaping from our early childhood experiences and continues to influence our relationships throughout our lives.

There are mainly four types of attachment styles: secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant, and fearful-avoidant. As I read more about each of them, I found myself identifying with the avoidant styles. It was like a light bulb switching on in my head.

Looking back at my past relationships, everything started making sense. My upbringing had shaped me into an avoidant person who subconsciously sought out other avoidants—people who were emotionally unavailable—just like me.

It was a hard pill to swallow. But at the same time, it was liberating. I finally understood why I kept picking emotionally unavailable partners—it was because of my own emotional unavailability.

In the next section, we’ll dive into a common misconception about attachment styles—that they are set in stone and can’t be changed. You might be surprised to hear that my journey has led me to believe otherwise.

Challenging the belief that attachment styles are permanent

One of the most common misconceptions I encountered during my exploration of attachment theory is the belief that once an attachment style, always an attachment style. That seemed to be the consensus—once you’re categorized as secure, anxious, or avoidant, you’re stuck with it for life.

But this didn’t resonate with me. I always believed in the power of change and personal growth. When I looked at my own life and thought about my own potential for self-improvement, I couldn’t accept that my attachment style was something fixed and unchangeable.

And guess what? My intuition was right.

As I explored deeper, I found studies and experts saying otherwise. Yes, our early experiences shape our attachment styles. But no, they aren’t set in stone. With self-awareness and effort, we can shift our patterns and form healthier attachments.

I began to see a glimmer of hope. If I could change my attachment style, maybe I could break my pattern of choosing emotionally unavailable partners. Maybe I could find the emotional connection I had been longing for.

In the next part of my story, I’ll share how this newfound understanding led to a profound transformation in my relationships and self-perception.

Changing my attachment style and breaking the cycle

With the knowledge that change was possible, I embarked on a journey of self-improvement. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but the promise of healthier relationships was worth it.

First and foremost, I had to confront my own emotional unavailability. I began journaling, recording my feelings, thoughts, and reactions in various situations. This helped me understand my patterns and triggers better.

Then, I started therapy. I found a therapist who specialized in attachment theory. We worked together to explore my past relationships and childhood experiences. This wasn’t a comfortable process—digging into old wounds never is—but it was incredibly enlightening.

But the real change started happening when I began practicing mindfulness. This allowed me to stay present during emotionally charged moments instead of retreating into my avoidant patterns. It helped me respond rather than react.

Slowly but surely, I noticed a shift in myself. I became more open, more emotionally available. And as I changed, so did my choice in partners.

If you find yourself in a similar pattern of choosing emotionally unavailable partners, know that it’s not a life sentence. With self-awareness and effort, you can change your attachment style and break the cycle.

Empowering myself through self-awareness

Reflecting on this journey, there are several key insights I’ve gained that go beyond just understanding my attachment style. These lessons have not only changed how I approach relationships but also how I navigate life in general.

First, taking responsibility for my relationship pattern, even though it wasn’t entirely my fault, was empowering. It shifted my mindset and helped me realize that I have the power to shape my own life.

Second, I learned to question societal norms and expectations that surrounded me. Understanding that our thoughts and behaviors are often influenced by societal and cultural conditioning was liberating. It opened up a path for me to live life on my own terms.

Here are the key takeaways from my journey:

  • Confronting your own emotional unavailability
  • Seeking therapy and guidance
  • Practicing mindfulness to stay present
  • Embracing the possibility of change
  • Challenging societal norms and expectations

In doing so, I realized the importance of aligning my life with my true nature and questioning societal myths that limited my potential.

My pursuit of self-improvement led me to various resources. One such resource that I found incredibly helpful was the Love and Intimacy Masterclass. It reframed how I view relationships and helped me build a healthier relationship with myself.

Remember, this is a journey of self-exploration, and it’s okay to take it at your own pace. The key is to stay committed to your personal growth and never stop questioning what you’ve been conditioned to believe.

Lost Your Sense of Purpose?

In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.

Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.

Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.

With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.

Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.

 

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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