People with an anxious attachment style don’t have it easy.
They can be needy, emotionally unstable, and deeply afraid of abandonment.
That said, dating someone with this attachment style is challenging as well, adding an extra layer of pressure to the relationship.
But how can you tell if that’s your case?
Easy: if your partner displays these 10 behaviors, they’re anxiously attached to you.
Once you know for sure, you can figure out how to minimize their worries – and encourage them to work on themselves.
1) They find it hard to trust you
People with anxious attachment fear being betrayed or deceived, making it more difficult for them to trust others.
They check up on you out of the blue, get suspicious when you take too long to respond to a text, or refuse to believe you when you offer an excuse for canceling plans.
On the same note, they may frequently question your motives or intentions, even if they don’t express their doubts aloud.
This uncertainty can cause them to either become distant or overcompensate by putting more effort into the relationship.
2) They are prone to overthinking
Does your partner seem apprehensive about the relationship even when everything is calm?
Then they’re probably anxiously attached to you.
As a chronic overthinker myself, here are a few dead giveaways:
- They bring up the same concerns over and over again
- They are hung up on past events, trying to analyze them from new angles
- They aspire to perfectionism in at least one area of their lives
- They imagine worst-case scenarios for every situation in order to feel more mentally prepared to handle them
- They are restless or have trouble sleeping
When they overthink the relationship, anxiously attached people have this uncanny ability to create problems from thin air, which can further sabotage the good thing you’ve got going.
As annoying as this may be for you, living inside their brain is no picnic either.
3) They constantly ask for reassurance
An anxiously attached partner requires a lot of reassurance from you.
You likely believe that they ask you to confirm you’re still into them too often. Trust me – they’re holding back.
Since they spend so much time worrying and overthinking, it’s common for them to become skeptical about whether you see them as a valued partner.
I struggle with anxious attachment, so I regularly ask my boyfriends if they still like me.
They get annoyed and explain that they wouldn’t be with me otherwise.
While I understand this from a logical standpoint, it’s hard to be objective when your anxiety is chewing you up on the inside.
4) They need external validation
Someone who has an anxious attachment style is likely insecure and may struggle with low self-esteem.
They usually rely on external relationships to fulfill their self-worth, so they need constant validation from others.
This isn’t limited to their partners. They can also seek validation from friends, family members, or even online followers.
While it’s human to want approval from others, keep an eye out for warning signs that your partner has taken this need to a dangerous level:
- They can’t make decisions without asking for external input
- They alter their behavior to fit in with a new group (like when they meet your friends, for example)
- They don’t handle criticism well
- They apologize excessively
- They compare themselves to other people
This brings me to my next point.
5) They engage in people-pleasing
The constant need for external validation makes anxiously attached individuals the ultimate people pleasers.
While people pleasing might develop as a coping mechanism in children (to connect with an emotionally unavailable parent), it can be a draining trait in adults.
If your partner always looks for ways to make you happy and puts your needs first, it’s a sign that they’re anxiously attached to you.
They might do the same with everyone else, leaving them little time to focus on themselves and what they want.
6) They have trouble expressing their needs
An anxiously attached partner might initially seem low-maintenance because they have trouble asking for what they need.
They’re so used to self-sacrifice that they simply don’t know how to do it.
Or, their fear of abandonment makes them hesitate to express their desires openly, fearing rejection or disapproval.
If you ask your partner what they want from the relationship and they act coy, you might be dealing with someone with an anxious attachment style.
7) They have difficulty setting boundaries
Anxiously attached partners may struggle with personal boundaries, wanting to merge their lives completely with their partner.
Once you’ve been dating for a while, they can prioritize you over everything else in their lives.
They forget about their hobbies, stop hanging out with friends, and focus most of their attention on you.
Granted, this can be flattering. However, it’s unhealthy and can cause resentment in the anxious partner over time.
Some degree of compromise is required in any relationship. But once you notice that your boo doesn’t seem to have much going on outside your romance, it might be cause for concern.
8) They are sensitive to your moods
Due to their fear of abandonment, anxiously attached people sometimes become hyper-vigilant about their partner’s moods.
They may ask you what’s wrong even when you haven’t told them that you’re feeling down, and they have a knack for pinpointing your exact state of mind just by giving you a quick glance.
Since they spend their time waiting for the other shoe to drop, they’re acutely aware of your emotions, facial expressions, and body language.
The worst thing about this?
When they sense a mood shift, they worry it’s because of something they did wrong.
9) They become clingy
It’s normal to be all over each other during the honeymoon phase.
However, anxiously attached individuals can become overly dependent on their partner’s attention.
They may want to be with you all the time, text you constantly, and get upset over minor periods of separation.
Even worse, they can try to make you feel guilty for prioritizing other aspects of your life, such as work or personal interests.
Naturally, this can put a strain on the relationship.
10) They are jealous for no reason
If your partner is anxiously attached to you, they may be jealous even if there’s no reason for concern.
Perhaps they get upset when you spend time with someone who’s just a friend.
Or, they feel threatened when you hang out with people they consider more attractive than they are.
Anxiously attached partners can take their jealousy to extremes by snooping or going through your phone.
In extreme cases, they may become possessive and controlling, a huge red flag.
Your partner is anxiously attached to you. Now what?
While your boo can be a handful, it’s not all doom and gloom.
There’s a good chance they’re also loyal, emotionally intelligent, and invested in making the relationship work.
Additionally, they probably have other qualities that attracted you to them in the first place.
With encouragement and emotional work, they can develop more secure attachment patterns.
You can help them by:
- Providing reassurance even when they don’t ask for it (in other words, remind them that you like them often)
- Helping them build self-esteem by celebrating their wins, no matter how minor
- Setting clear boundaries about the amount of time you spend together
- Encouraging them to focus on interests outside the relationship
- Asking them to be open with their concerns, even when they’re afraid they might sound crazy
- Being patient as they work on making their anxiety more manageable
If you love them, supporting them while they grow will be worth it in the long run.