The Right Attachment Style with Your Partner Can Give You a Competitive Advantage in Your Business.
In an earlier blog, I spoke of the fact that traditionally, personal relationships and business have been studied as two separate systems. In the past decade that has changed, and more awareness has been placed on examining the importance of the interface between the business and the romantic relationship. In other words, when problems occur in couple relationships, the business can falter, and vice versa.
In this month’s blog I will take a look at how insight into the attachment behavior of romantic partners can have implications for the entrepreneur’s work life.
Attachment research tells us that our need for a secure bond is embedded in our DNA.
Neuroscientists state that the science of adult attachment explains why some couples navigate relationships better than others.
The science of attachment posits that each of us attaches to our romantic partner in one of three styles:
- Secure Attachment Style
- Co-dependent (Anxious) Attachment Style
- Counter-dependent (Avoidant) Attachment Style
Secure Attachment Style
If the following characteristics apply to you, you have a secure attachment style:
- You are comfortable being intimate with your significant other.
- You are comfortable depending on them and having them depend on you.
- You don’t worry about your partner abandoning you.
- You find it easy to be affectionate with your partner.
- You find it easy to express your needs to your partner.
Co-dependent (Anxious) Attachment Style
If the following characteristics apply to you, you have a co-dependent (anxious) attachment style
- You often worry that your partner doesn’t really love you.
- You never feel close enough to your partner, and this desire scares them away.
- When your partner is away, you fear he/she might become interested in someone else.
- You think you are not good enough and are always asking for reassurance.
- You feel the need to overprotect your partner.
Counter-dependent (Avoidant) Attachment Style
If the following characteristics apply to you, you have a counter-dependent (avoidant) attachment style.
- You are uncomfortable being close to your partner.
- You find it difficult to trust your partner and to depend on them.
- You miss your partner when you are apart, but when you are together you feel the need to escape.
- You prefer not to share your innermost feelings and thoughts with your partner
- Your independence is more important to you than your relationship.
Examples of Attachment Styles
More than likely you had little difficulty in recognizing your own and your partner’s attachment styles or combination of styles. Your attachment style tells you two things about yourself:
- Your comfort with closeness and intimacy (or the degree to which you avoid intimacy)
- Your anxiety about your partner’s love for you
Let’s take a look at two couples with different attachment styles:
Secure Attachment Style
Roz and Rick have been married for 20 years and have raised three children. They co-own a franchise business, which like all businesses has had its share of ups and downs. Within the business their roles are clearly delineated.Roz and Rick are thoughtful collaborators in their business and personal lives. They learn from each other and describe their relationship as “deeply satisfying.” Rick stated the following: “When we bring our best selves to the relationship our business thrives.”
Co-dependent/ Counter-dependent Style
Susan and Sydney are both self-employed. Susan, the sole practitioner of her busy domestic relations law firm, works in a downtown office. Sydney, an author of crime novels, works from his home office. With five siblings, each two years apart, Susan learned to be independent at a young age, but lacked emotional security from her parents. Sydney, an only child of two professional parents, was a latchkey kid who spent many hours alone. While they each received insufficient nurturing as children, their needs for attachmentmanifested differently in adulthood. At the end of a workday Susan craves Sydney’s attention. She is rarely satisfied with his degree of closeness to her. Sydney, on the other hand, feels smothered by her neediness and keeps his distance. Susan and Sydney are stuck in a co-dependent/counter-dependent dance, which sadly creates chronic stress between them.
Why Is It Important To Know Your Attachment Style?
The first step is understanding why you relate to your partner the way you do in order to become the kind of partner you wish to be. Identifying and understanding your attachment style and intimacy needs will also give you insight into your partner and their need for closeness or distance.
When intimacy needs differ between romantic partners and they don’t have an effective way to navigate those differences, the end result can be stress,which has the potential to create distance, disagreements and disconnection, as in the case of Susan and Sydney.
Successful entrepreneurship is absolutely impossible without the help, love and support of your significant other. Whether or not you and your partner are co-preneurs or one is an entrepreneur and the other works or is a supportive spouse, you need the following from each other:
- Concern for each other’s well-being
- Appreciation of each other
- Commitment with the idea that “we’re in this together”
- Willingness to engage with each other
- Understanding each other’s emotional needs
- Effective communication skills
Intimacy differences can spill over into many areas of your life, from a simple matter – for example, one person likes to hold hands in public and the other doesn’t – to having different desires, attitudes and values.
The first step toward resolving intimacy differences is to become aware of your attachment style and how it affects your thoughts, feelings and behaviors in your relationship with your significant other.
In my next blog I will talk about the importance of effective communication between romantic partners in an entrepreneurial couple.