Most people will have heard of attachment theory. This explores how we form close relationships with others – based on our attachment to our primary caregivers.
When Hazan & Shaver (1987) researched these bonds in adult subjects they were able to identify the following four styles: secure attachment, anxious-preoccupied attachment, dismissive-avoidant attachment and fearful-avoidant attachment.
Secure attachment: These adult partners will generally be trusting, trustworthy, available to their partner, and have a healthy self-esteem. They do not fear being abandoned, rejected, or alone. Also, they tend to view themselves, their partner and their relationships in a hopeful, optimistic and positive way. Furthermore, they are able to balance their need for independence with their healthy need for intimacy.
Anxious-preoccupied attachment: These people worry that their partners will abandon and reject them, or won’t love them quite as much as they, themselves, love. They have a strong need for their partners to be responsive and show caring, and they continually push for intimacy. Thus, they tend to be more anxious and to trust their partner less.
Dismissive-avoidant attachment: These partners usually pull back from being close and vulnerable. They are highly independent, and may not attach at all. They view themselves as self-sufficient, and will repress and deny feelings. Also, they tend to deal with conflict through distancing.
Fearful-avoidant: These adult partners have mixed feelings about emotional closeness. Hence, they tend to mistrust and will pull back from being open. They will suppress and repress feelings, and are fearful of attaching – even though, on some level, it is something they desire.
How does this relate to infidelity?
It has been suggested that dismissive-avoidant partners are most likely to engage in affairs and casual sex.
It has also been suggested that those who’ve been betrayed are more likely to become either anxious-preoccupied or fearful avoidant in close relationships. This is generally true even if they had formed secure attachments to their primary caregivers.
If you’d like to learn more about your attachment style, then check out this link, and complete the questionnaire: http://www.web-research-design.net/cgi-bin/crq/crq.pl