based on Love Sense – The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships, by Dr. Sue Johnson

“Exchange Theory” of Love

This might sound familiar, that female is in it for security and the male for fairer companion; that the couple exchanges amongst themselves, money, beauty, affection and care. There are real world applications of this exchange theory of love, whether in through popular modern sugar daddy App or in traditional discrete entertainment joints. Walk through the (in)famous streets at night, and you will see how  the exchange theory works in reality, and not just validated by famed psychologists and clinician researchers.

Yet most of us will not openly admit to this, and some of us will feel indignant at this insult to love. Dr Sue Johnson is one of those who spoke up against the exchange theory,

They are not bargains. They’re bonds. Emotional bonds. Just like the ones between mother and child.”

Attachment Creates Bond

Attachment might sound like a negative word nowadays, suggesting codependency in relationship which seems to go against the grain of a healthy relationship. Many efforts have been put in into solidifying our own independence, self reliance and self love, being complete being alone etc.

But the truth is that attachment is a natural human tendency. Since our infancy, the need for ongoing, reassuring physical and emotional connection is undeniable. Child-care experts whom had advocated for distant, detached care, had widely accepted the attachment perspective over the past forty years, leading to the majority explicitly recognizing attachment as natural, human and also optimal for human development.

When it comes to adulthood, there is much shame in being attached to something, signifying weakness. But to be human is to need others, and this is no flaw or weakness. In a recent experiment, psychologist Mario Mikulincer found that in times of threat or danger, we automatically and swiftly think of our loved ones, representing our safe haven.  There is no way that we are programmed to being alone. It is human nature to need to rely on others and be bonded.

3 Styles of Attachment

It is established that there are generally 3 styles of attachment: secure, anxious or avoidant. The style of attachment is formed in childhood, with secure being the optimal. If our early caregivers are unpredictable, inconsistently, neglectful or even abusive, then one’s attachment style might be anxious or avoidance. However, these categories are not fixed or absolute, there could a range of in-between since human experiences are so varied. With more awareness of one’s own style and that of the partner, perspectives and behaviour could also change for the better.

I Am Attached, Happily So

Know that being attached to someone is nothing wrong. It is healthy and natural. It can make you happier when you need someone and someone needs you. Knowing the styles of attachment helps in relating to each other better in the relationship. It is the first step to transforming attachment into a deep loving connection and bond between the couple that lasts through time.

Like this article? You might also be interested in the other articles in this category of Love Psychology:

Happily Ever-After – How to Keep Love and Stay Happy Together

Perfect Timing – When to Fall in and out of Love

Relationship Ambivalence & WHAT to do with your unsatisfactory relationship



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