I’ve talked at great length about what insecure attachment in relationships looks like. Check out these posts if you need a reminder:

This Is Not What I Expected, but That’s OK: Reversing Our Insecure Attachment Stories

Creating Relationship Security When You Have an Anxious Attachment Style

Attachment Styles in Romance and Parenting: Moving Toward Love Rather Than Away

Are Perfection Seeking and Self Reliance Holding You Back from Love? The Avoidant Attachment Style’s MO

Highly Sensitive, Anxious or Avoidant? What You Need to Know to Make Relationships Last


Today I would like to talk about what a secure relationship or a securely attached individual looks like. This gives those of us with insecure attachment adaptations (Dr. Diane Poole Heller’s term) something to look for in a partner and something to strive for in ourselves.

I want to give credit to Dr. Poole Heller and her book, The Power of Attachment:How to Create Deep and Lasting Relationships, for many of the characteristics I am about to list.

The following are signs of security to look for in ourselves and in a partner:

Affectionate with those we feel close to

Expect to be treated well, knowing we can leave if we are not

Believe people are basically good at heart

Feel it is important to meet the needs of those close to us

Want to connect with others, find it easy to connect and expect relationships to go well

Feel relaxed most of the time with the people we are closest

Find it easy to transition between alone time and being with others

Handle conflict fairly well, being able to apologize when necessary and work toward win-win solutions

Able to express our needs in a way that others can understand and not feel threatened

Able to be present with others, set aside distractions

Maintain emotional safety in relationships and protect those we care about

Look forward to spending time with significant relationships

Maintain healthy boundaries. Able to say no when necessary.

Can play as well as be serious

As I review the list, I definitely see characteristics that are a work-in-progress for me. In particular, the handling conflict well and expressing my needs in a way that others can take in are the areas I struggle with the most. When I feel my husband is distracted or I feel he is not truly listening to me, I protest in a way that makes him feel threatened.

I am working on expressing my needs better and being more aware of how he’ll receive them. I admit, in the heat of the moment, I just want to protect myself and win. Win-win seems like a pipe dream. I realize my tone of voice and actual words set off alarms in him too. I have to consider his insecurities.

Dr. Stan Tatkin, — author Wired for Love, Wired for Dating — says that we can become more securely attached by being in a relationship with someone who is secure. Our brains rewire and we heal from the wounds we suffered as children or in past relationships. We can learn to trust and feel safe. Besides partnering with someone more secure, I hope the above list serves as inspiration and motivation.

How secure do you think you are after reading the list? Where can you do some work? What or whom made you feel insecure? Who could help you become more secure?


Photo by Catherine Gonzalez on Unsplash

If you’d like help getting to the stable point in your relationship, contact me for personal coaching. If you’d rather learn on your own time, check out my online courses in connection and insecure attachment at brendaknowles.teachable.com or click on the image below.

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