Mar 26

Book Review: Attached

Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find and Keep LoveAttached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find and Keep Love by Amir Levine

I almost stopped listening to this in the first half hour, because it sounded like the worst of all possible pop-psych books, where it’s mostly a sales-pitch for how this wonderful new science will solve all of your problems. I’d heard things about attachment parenting, most of which make me roll my eyes and/or fume about unrealistic perfectionists who tell you with a straight face how sacrificing 100% of yourself for your squalling infant will eventually be rewarded with unparalleled joy. So: skeptical.

But I kept listening, and as it turned out, there were some useful tidbits in this book. The first tidbit may fall into the “no duh” category. People are happier and more secure when they’re emotionally bonded with someone who looks out for their well being. The book further divides people into one of three categories: secure, avoidant, or anxious. You either can balance out and communicate your needs with a partner, you’re afraid of getting too close and losing your identity, or you are terrified of losing the attachment you have with another person.

So I took the test, and of course took the test on behalf of a certain man, and found out that I am mostly secure but somewhat avoidant, and he is mostly secure but somewhat anxious. But of course I also have avoidant characteristics, and he has anxious characteristics, which kind of proves (no duh) that people are complicated.

I do think it was useful in giving me some terms to describe traits I’ve seen in other people. Like, you know how there’s always a couple where one (usually she) is always throwing tantrums because the other partner (usually he) doesn’t return phone calls? Or when people play games because they’re testing the other person’s commitment? I’ve seen this relationship play out over and over and over again on TV and movies, and even with some people I know, but I’ve never been half of one. Apparently, avoidant people are a very common pairing with anxious people. I missed why this was so. I’ve seen it’s so, but I missed where the author said why, and it was an audiobook, so it’s not like I can really go back and flip through to find it. Maybe it’s because avoidant people are the most common types on the dating pool, for reasons that make mathematical sense.

This wasn’t a groundbreaking book, but it’s not bad either. It did manage to give me some ideas, and explain things in a way that made sense. It made me think about my last relationship and outline one of the ways I messed it up. Too little too late, but any book that can keep you from making the same mistakes over and over again is worth a read.

I recommend this for people who play games in relationship, or who get easily bored with partners, and then wonder why they’re always alone. I also recommend it for people like me who love self-help books.

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