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Attachment Theory Is Totally Wrong (Part 4)

This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series Attachment Theory Is Totally Wrong

“Secure attachment” is central to Attachment Theory.

But what does the theory mean by this statement?

Finding a clear definition is harder than you think.

But let me give you one such offering.

The authors of the book Attached say someone who is securely attached is “comfortable giving and receiving love, can trust others and be trusted, and gets close to others with relative ease.”


Nothing in there about being dependent.

Nothing about needing a partner to be okay.

Nothing about them “meeting your needs” for you.

So if secure attachment is just about being comfortable with these things, where does the whole “attachment” part come in then? Clearly you don’t have to “attach” to anyone romantically, to be totally fine just connecting with people.

In a very real sense?

It’s just the influence of monogamy.

Despite monogamy’s failings?

It’s still the romantic paradigm of our culture.

If you do much reading in the Attachment Theory world, you will soon see how “secure attachment” frequently is implicitly assumed to equate to “successful long term committed monogamy.”

So much so?

It is frequenly assumed.

Fix your attachment wounds?

You’ll want and have a successful monogamous relationship.

While I definitely believe attachment wounds impact things, you’re naïve if you think that is the only reason monogamy is failing. Living together and seeking to build a life together long term, provide plenty of other opportunities to mess up your love completely.

So then do I think “secure attachment” ISN’T a thing?

Not at all!

I just define it a little differently.

(“Of course you do Kel!”)

My definition of secure attachment is “Autonomous Connection.”

I see secure attachment to consist of two different things: (1) Being secure in yourself and (2) Being open to connection. You become secure by developing a healthy autonomous independence where you’re okay alone, so you’re free to share yourself without needing anything.

Until you have both these things?

Secure attachment isn’t possible.

Love addicts fail at being autonomous.

Avoidants fail at being open to connection.

So what do you think? Am I crazy to see autonomous connection to be what you should be seeking, or is this really a precondition of being “comfortable giving and receiving love” like the definition above was saying?

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