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They point out that anxiously attached people may seem fascinating at first—their preoccupation with themselves may easily be confused with self-disclosure and openness, which facilitates a sense of connection.Similarly, an avoidant person may come across as independent and strong.A body of psychological research reveals that our earliest relationships, especially with our mother, not only influence how we are able to connect to others as adults—in romantic and other contexts—but also create internalized scripts or working models of how relationships work.Briefly, children, with loving and consistently attuned mothers grow up to be adults who see themselves positively, are comfortable seeking out close relationships and depending on others, and don’t worry about being alone or being rejected. According to the work of Kim Bartholomew, anxiously attached people will be “preoccupied” in relationships; they have a negative view of themselves and look to others to validate them.Although the researchers didn’t use Bartholomew’s distinction between fearful and dismissing avoidant types, it’s clear that the fearful avoidant—who both wants and fears emotional connection—would be the hardest to read and identify.

Unfortunately, I married my mother and was never able to feel competent in my husband’s eyes, either.For most people, the beginning of a new relationship is kind of magical.Maybe there was a rom-com worthy IRL meet-cute, or maybe it was a more modern drunk-Tinder-swipe gone very, very right.In a series of experiments, the team discovered that avoidants—despite the fact that they don’t want emotional connection—actually made lots of eye contact and used touch more than securely attached people to seem more appealing in a dating situation.Avoidants use humor in dating situations to create a sense of sharing and detract from their essential aloofness.

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