Clients often come to our practice after noticing troubling, recurrent patterns in their relationships. Maybe they’ve had multiple relationships fall apart for similar reasons, keep dating the same type of person over and over again, have a hard time opening up and trusting in relationships, or have found themselves attracted to emotionally unavailable partners and they don’t understand why.
Our early attachment experiences with our parents or caregivers shape our adult attachment style and how we interact in romantic relationships. Understanding yourself and your attachment style can have profound implications on your ability to create and sustain meaningful romantic relationships.
Take our adult attachment style quiz now to discover if you are a secure anchor, an anxious wave, or an avoidant island.
What is Attachment Style?
Before taking our adult attachment style quiz, it’s a good idea to explore just what attachment styles are – and what they can tell us about ourselves and our relationships.
The idea of attachment styles first became part of the psychology world back in the 1960s and 70s, when researchers John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth developed what is known today as Attachment Theory.
Attachment theory identified different styles of attachment based on how we were cared for as children. In short, the way you were raised and the relationships you formed in childhood – particularly with caregivers – play a significant role in your relationships as an adult.
As part of their research, Bowlby and Ainsworth identified 4 styles of attachment, now commonly known as:
- Secure attachment
- Anxious attachment
- Avoidant attachment
- Fearful-avoidant attachment
Later, another psychologist, Dr. Stan Tatkin, came up with three new ways to describe these styles of attachment:
- The Anchor (secure attachment)
- The Island (avoidant attachment)
- The Wave (anxious attachment)
It’s these three ways of describing attachment styles that we address in our adult attachment style quiz.
Attachment Style Types
As Dr. Tatkin describes them, the Anchor, Island and Wave each have their own unique characteristics and ways of functioning in relationships. If you’re wondering, “what is my attachment style?”, it’s important to first get a good understanding of the different types. This will help you better understand the results of your attachment style assessment.
If your adult attachment style quiz results come back as The Anchor, then that means you meet the criteria for Dr. Tatkin’s version of secure attachment. You were likely raised with at least one parent who put your needs first. You were also likely encouraged to be independent as a child, but still knew your parents were a safe place to return to when sad, scared or upset.
Because of these childhood experiences, Anchors grow up to be well-adjusted adults who are typically successful in building and maintaining relationships with friends and romantic partners. You are typically able to commit and experience emotional and physical intimacy in relationships.
Did your adult attachment style quiz classify your attachment style as The Island? Then your attachment style is considered avoidant. Your parents may have stressed performance and appearance and likely discouraged dependency on their care and support.
One parent may have been emotionally overbearing and placed their own needs on you as a child. You may not have felt safe to express vulnerable emotions to your parents, for fear of punishment or shame, and as a result you learned to rely only on yourself for soothing. As an adult, these childhood experiences likely mean you need a lot of space in relationships. Without it, you may feel trapped or controlled by your partner.
If your adult attachment style quiz results came back as The Wave, then you likely had parents who were emotionally inconsistent, leading to anxious attachment. This is common among children of addicts or mentally ill parents, who experienced unpredictable love and care. You may also be a child of divorce or a child of a narcissistic parent.
In adult relationships, you likely focus a lot on your connection with your partner, and worry about your relationship’s stability. You may seem needy or require frequent validation from your partner, and may often worry about your relationship ending.
Why Take an Adult Attachment Style Quiz
Whether you’re struggling to understand why you act a certain way in relationships or working to better understand your partner, an adult attachment style quiz can help.
So much of our behavior in adult relationships stems from the attachments we formed in childhood. If you can better understand those attachments – and the consequences of your childhood relationships – then you can start to figure out how to build better, more secure relationships as an adult.
Even if your attachment style quiz comes back with anxious or avoidant attachment results, all is not lost. You can always work on getting to secure attachment.
At Couples Learn, our therapists are highly trained in attachment theory, and work with both individuals and couples to work on forming secure attachments in adult relationships and heal from childhood trauma.
Take the adult attachment style quiz now to determine your attachment style.