I am not a huge fan of relationship books, but I am fascinated with how the human brain works, particularly from an evolutionary perspective. I also happen to like books with one-word titles. And then 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. arrived in the mail for review. (Ignore the subtitle. There is totally a period after that title.)
Prior to my marriage, I viewed myself as "needy." Maybe even "clingy." But I tried very hard NOT to appear this way while delivering bad poetry to the objects of my desire. It's really embarrassing to even think about. But I also would go to great lengths to pretend like I didn't care about any of it. (Until I let it all come out in my bad poetry, which was very mysterious and arty of me.) I also spent a lot of time beating myself up for feeling so clingy when I was clearly drawn like a magnet to men who were not very communicative at all when I myself type 85 words a minute and can wax philosophical for pages about an apple.
Then I met my husband. And he returned my calls. And my emails. And he didn't write two vague sentences laden with imagined subtext -- he wrote exactly what he was thinking. And he wrote it in an extremely witty manner. And often!
I was confused. What the hell was wrong with him? Didn't he know he was supposed to torture me with his inability to make plans for next weeek? But no, he did not. He made plans for next month or even next Christas, and less than a year after we met, he moved to Kansas City from Iowa.
And I haven't been accused -- by myself or others -- of being clingy since.
Attached goes into why my story could be true. The authors describe three adult attachment styles: avoidant, secure and anxious. It describes the beahviors assigned to each style. And guess what? Avoidant and anxious should not date!
But it also sort of IS a newsflash, at least if you're either the sort of person who needs space who has ever dated someone who needs his own shelf on your refrigerator after the first date or vice versa.
Here's a choice quote:
Pietromonaco and Carnelley believe that these attachment styles actually complement each other in a way. Each reaffirms the other's beliefs about themselves and about relationships. The avoidants' defensive self-perception that they are strong and independent is confirmed, as is the belief that others want to pull them into more closeness than they are comfortable with. The anxious types find that their perception of wanting more intimacy than their partner can provide is confirmed, as is their atnticipation of ultimately being let down by significant others. So, in a way, each style is drawn to reenact a familiar script over and over again.
I try to write balanced book reviews, but I loved this book so much I immediately gave it to my sister and didn't get it back and had to write the publisher for another one because I couldn't wait to write this review. If you're stuck in bad relationship after bad relationship and think there is something wrong with you, READ THIS BOOK. It talks about how to spot behaviors that just aren't going to work for your attachment style and what to look for in someone who can bring you closer to the secure attachment style -- which is the one in which you don't worry because you feel loved, wanted and appreciated most of the time.
Which is where I am now. And it rocks.