There is a scientific theory behind the ways we approach and develop adult relationships, write neuroscientist Levine and social psychologist Heller, and understanding how it works will help you find the right mate—or improve your existing partnership.
Adult attachment theory, which was pioneered in the 1950s by British psychoanalyst John Bowlby, posits that human beings are genetically predisposed toward coupling, and that a secure partnership is essential to our emotional and physical well-being. According to the authors, we all have a particular “attachment style” that governs our actions and attitudes toward romantic interaction. The ideal, and most prevalent, attachment style is “secure.” A person with a secure style feels that his partner provides a loving and supportive “secure base,” and that he can provide that same emotional security in return. The authors suggest that human beings are by nature social creatures, and that even when we crave independence, it's the presence of a secure partner that allows us to explore the world on our own—this is called the “dependency paradox.” The other two attachment styles, “anxious” and “avoidant,” are the major focus of this book. In clear terms, Levine and Heller explain how we can diagnose our attachment style and what steps can be taken to combat its negative effects. For example, someone with an anxious attachment style has a different view toward intimacy and communication (anxious types tend to obsess over relationships and worry about their affection being reciprocated) than someone with an avoidant attachment style (who tend to minimize closeness and undermine emotional connection). The analysis of each attachment style is accompanied by a set of behavior patterns and real-life anecdotes to provide the reader with relatable social context. The authors write that, despite one's age or experience, change is possible, and with the right mind-set, even those who feel defeated by dating—or are stuck in an unsatisfying relationship—can find a solid partnership.
A practical, enjoyable guide to forming rewarding romantic relationships.