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According to psychologists, determining your attachment style can help you identify and troubleshoot issues in your adult relationship, often originating from unresolved childhood trauma. You can take an attachment style test online if you haven’t identified yours yet.
However, you need to know how to interpret your results. Many free assessments only provide a basic overview. Here is an in-depth look at understanding the results of your attachment-style test so that you can change your behavior and improve your relationships.
1. If You Have a Dismissive-Avoidant Style
If you have a dismissive-avoidant attachment style, independence is your buzzword. You find it challenging to trust romantic partners because you fear that a relationship will limit your freedom. Further, you must spend some time in mindful soul-searching to determine how much you are willing to sacrifice to get the love you crave.
You probably find it rather easy to begin romantic relationships. Others might peg you as the strong, silent type and find your rather standoffish allure irresistible, at least at first. Problems arise after the initial courtship phase fizzles, and your partner wants to deepen your intimacy. The closeness triggers a stress response — it can make you back off even if you say you want commitment and marriage.
Your coping mechanisms depend on other factors in your personality. People with narcissistic or antisocial tendencies can sometimes become cruelly dismissive of their intimate partners. Those without the dark tetrad personality traits can still behave in hurtful ways. You’re likely to withhold affection and tell your partner that they deserve better — gently sabotaging things to get them to break up with you.
What can you do? When you find a potential mate, and things advance past the first few dates, keep honest communication lines open. Spend time mindfully reflecting on how you feel about your partner. Share your attachment style test results with your therapist if you have one, and consider seeking professional help if you don’t. If you decide intimacy is what you crave, they can help you overcome your reluctance.
2. If You Have a Fearful-Avoidant Style
If you experienced severe trauma, you might have a fearful-avoidant attachment style. This pattern frequently occurs in those with borderline personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
This attachment style is also called disorganized because you desperately want to get close to others — but the prospect also terrifies you. You might fluctuate between going to extreme measures to avoid abandonment and acting like you don’t care. One day, you might go as far as to threaten suicide to keep a loved one from leaving. The next, you might tell them you wish you had never met.
If you have this attachment style, please consider seeking the help of a qualified therapist. They can help you set realistic expectations for relationships and manage your emotional reactions to keep from unintentionally pushing partners away with erratic behavior.
3. If You Have an Anxious-Preoccupied Style
If you are a mom or dad with an anxious-preoccupied attachment style, you may have been accused of helicopter parenting more than once. People with this pattern need constant validation and may panic if anyone in their immediate circle shows signs of pulling away.
As an adult with this result on your attachment style test, you probably struggle with low self-esteem, which can sometimes lead to trouble. You may become overly clingy and jealous in romantic relationships. This behavior, ironically, can drive your partner away.
You also risk falling into an abusive relationship, especially if your insecurity leads you to seek a partner who will rescue you. Pay attention to early red flags while dating. If your partner seems too good to be true and says things like they never want to share you with others, they could become dangerously possessive or even stalk you. As much as their words sound like sweet music, keep your radar alert.
Like anyone with an insecure attachment style, you could benefit from working with a qualified therapist. They can help you overcome your fear and learn to trust others. If professional help isn’t in your budget, practices like yoga and guided meditation can soothe anxiety and give you a sense of agency over your racing, panicked thoughts.
4. If You Have a Secure Style
If your attachment style tests reveal a secure pattern, congratulations. You had a healthy enough childhood to develop a strong sense of self and trust in the people in your world.
People with this style make ideal partners because they balance intimacy with independence. They adore spending time with their partners, but they don’t look at every out-of-town business trip as a crisis. Instead, they treat it as an opportunity to explore individual interests — not check in with their loved one multiple times daily or develop a straying eye.
If you scored in this quadrant, keep doing what you are doing. However, study up on the other three attachment styles — it can help you understand your partner’s behavior if they don’t share your pattern.
Understand the Results of Your Attachment Style Test
Your attachment style influences how you interact with others and how healthy your relationships are. Once you understand your test results, you can take proactive steps to improve how you relate.
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