Scrawled on the inside cover of our copy of Attached in the Drawing Down the Moon office is a vital message: ‘Essential reading for all DDM matchmakers!’ Well, I’ve never been one to turn down homework!
Subtitled Are You Anxious, Avoidant, or Secure? How the Science of Adult Attachment Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love, this groundbreaking book by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller explores one of the cornerstones of psychology: attachment theory. The authors encourage readers to examine their own relationships, both past and present, as well as how they’ve behaved within them—and perhaps even prepare for a future partner.
Levine and Heller’s thesis is that people can be split into three categories—and so can their relationships:
- Anxious: They blame themselves for their relationship woes, and feel needy for wanting more intimacy.
- Avoidant: They value independence over intimacy, and resent a partner who they perceive to be ‘trapping’ them.
- Secure: They are sure of the level of intimacy they desire from their partner.
(There is a fourth fairly rare category, anxious–avoidant—but the authors don’t really delve into that, so neither will I.)
Levine and Heller draw on anecdotal evidence to elucidate a theory that could be complex to those without a psychological background. These stories show how attachment styles play out in real life, and they apply them to less obvious scenarios, too, such as arguments over whose turn it is to do the dishes, and holidays, and looking at exes on social media. They also include helpful charts and quizzes to aid the reader in identifying their (and their partner’s) attachment style.
Attached goes far beyond the stereotypes of needy partners and commitment-phobes. In fact, the authors seek to remove blame from the equation altogether, be that self-directed or aimed at one’s partner. Attached argues that the desire for intimacy is not a weakness, and that we all have responsibility to be proactive in ensuring our emotional needs are being met.
I think one flaw of the book is that the authors seem more sympathetic toward those with the anxious attachment style than the avoidant. I suspect this is because anxious partners are more likely to attempt self-development in their quest for love—so Levine and Heller naturally assume that those reading a self-help book about love are themselves more likely to be anxious than avoidant.
Attached also seems to imply that secure partners are almost perfect—and I doubt this is true! The truth is, attachment theory is a vital component of psychology—and this book does a stellar job of explaining it—but it remains nevertheless just that: a component.
Attached is a valuable book in that it forces readers to put their relationships under the microscope, examining them in a way we rarely do in the day-to-day. Levine and Heller don’t have all the answers, of course, nor do they profess to. Many relationship issues aren’t solvable solely by virtue of identifying one’s attachment style, although it is undeniably a core element of romantic relationships.
The book is well written, easy to understand—and sometimes uncomfortable in its raw accuracy. I must agree with that handwritten note to readers in our copy in the office: Attached is most certainly an essential read—although not just for matchmakers, but also for pretty much anyone who’s ever been, is currently, or intends to be in a relationship!
If you are ready to meet someone special, contact the friendly award winning matchmakers at Drawing Down the Moon Matchmaking.