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How Your Romantic Attachment Style Can Affect Your Well-Being & Wallet

Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer
By Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer
Eliza Sullivan is a food writer and SEO editor at mindbodygreen. She writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She studied journalism at Boston University.
Image by Chelsea Victoria / Stocksy
February 26, 2020

In dating today, there are a lot of options for how you meet someone. But according to attachment theory, there are only really three styles of romantic attachment: secure, anxious, and avoidant attachment. A recent study considered how attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance can affect "life outcomes"— including well-being and our financial behavior.

According to attachment theory, our attachment style is influenced by our upbringing. An anxious attachment style is characterized by insecurity and a lack of trust, while an avoidant style is characterized by things like bouncing back quickly from a breakup or not becoming deeply invested in the first place. According to the researchers, both attachment avoidance and anxiety are considered to be "insecure attachment orientations," and they're considered to be the opposite extremes of the styles.

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Linking attachment style with happiness.

The study, published last month by researchers at the University of Arizona, collected responses from college-aged people who were in romantic relationships. Responses were given regarding life satisfaction, relationship satisfaction, and financial satisfaction.

The data showed that those with attachment anxiety frequently self-reported a lower level of overall life satisfaction, as well as low satisfaction with their relationship and low financial satisfaction.

Attachment avoidance was also linked to lower life and relationship satisfaction but did not show the same with financial satisfaction. Researchers did note, however, that participants with both attachment styles tended to be less responsible with finances overall.

How finances are affected by attachment style.

In the case of those with attachment anxiety, they may seek to "buy" their partner's love with gifts. According to Li, "People who are high in attachment anxiety may use money to get attention from other people."

By contrast, those with an avoidant attachment style may spend their money less responsibly for their own benefit. Previously research has linked high attachment avoidance to being more materialistic, according to this report.

The reasoning for these behaviors, according to the researchers, is based on the characteristics of these attachment styles. People who avoid attachment likely value their partner less, while the insecurity of those with attachment anxiety can lead to distrust in the relationship

Because of the inherent relationship between finances and well-being, the researchers hope to continue investigating the influence of attachment style on financial decision making.

There's a lot that people get wrong about attachment theory, and if you really want to, you can even try to change yours to a more secure style by rewiring your brain. And if you're wondering how to tell what your date's attachment style might be, there are three indicators that can help you figure it out.

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Eliza Sullivan
Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer

Eliza Sullivan is an SEO Editor at mindbodygreen, where she writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She received a B.S. in journalism and B.A. in english literature with honors from Boston University, and she has previously written for Boston Magazine, TheTaste.ie, and SUITCASE magazine.