Sunday, March 13, 2011

The science of adult attachment

So, I'm reading this book on relationships that's been blowing my mind. It's called "Attached: the new science of adult attachment and how it can help you find -- and keep -- love."

Being a science geek who also loves love, I was drawn to the title. But also the reviews.

"...We allow some deeply ingrained misconceptions to influence our thinking. The first misconception is that everyone has the same capacity for intimacy. We've been raised to believe that every person can fall deeply in love (this part might well be true) and that when this happens, he or she will be transformed into a different person (this part is not!). Regardless of what they were like before, when people find "the one," they supposedly become adoring, faithful, supportive partners -- free of qualms about the relationship. It's tempting to forget that, in fact, people have very different capacities for intimacy. And when one person's need for closeness is met with another person's need for independence and distance, a lot of unhappiness ensues." ...
This book says it's important to be yourself. If you crave closeness, don't try to hide it. If your mate craves independence and distance and you aren't up front about needing to connect, you can end up in a relationship that isn't fulfilling your emotional needs:
"Your relationship needs are valid... and expressing them authentically is crucial to effective communication.... Our culture encourages you to believe that many of your needs are illegitimate... [but] they are essential for your happiness and that is what's important."


  1. Yay, a new post!!

    I am telling you -- we are sisters from another mother. I have, sitting on my countertop, a stack of self-help/breakup books I bought used on Amazon, which is like my favorite thing to do ever. I think I've purchased well over 10. Adding the one you're talking about to my wish list. :)

    Fascinating about different levels of intimacy. This totally applies to Brodkey and me, not to mention makes me think that this was one more thing I screwed up (thinking we were the same, intimacy-wise) which then led to the demise of our relationship. My best relationship ever.

    Also a great point about being yourself -- and that's something I try to hide when I first meet someone. I feel them out, sometimes say things they want to hear. When we do that, no wonder we end up getting results we don't like. Jesus. This stuff is not rocket science, yet hearing it just opens a whole new world for me. In the hell?

    Anyhoo, glad you're back. :)

  2. I've had a few of those conversations recently myself. And each time I say "Yes, I knew, but just because my head knew and accepted it, doesn't mean my heart accepted it, or that I could just close it off."

    People do indeed have different levels of intimacy. I certainly have been guilty of being the commitment phobe in the past, but the recent string of guys, the last one being the most significant, put me to shame. And just because we KNEW in advance, doesn't mean we're not allowed to feel. Our friends who say that to us are just trying to fix the problem because they're not OK with hearing about it. Period.

  3. Thank you, for that. It's so comforting to feel validated.

    I've been trying to shift my perception of rejection since it triggers so much hurt and imagine it instead like a sweater.

    If I try on a sweater, maybe I LOVE it, right? Maybe the knit is perfect! Maybe I'm excited about it but oh no, it's summertime and too hot.

    Or maybe my arms are too long or it's too tight in the shoulders.

    Does this mean the sweater sucks? Or I suck? No, it's just not a good fit.

    If I could think about relationships this way, wouldn't that be freeing? Instead of me automatically assuming I'm not good enough. I mean, aren't we all trying others on to see how we fit? Some matches are better than others, I suppose.

    You know, I may blog post this comment. It's got me thinking.