An attachment style is how an individual relates to other people. Our attachment styles are developed during the initial stages of our life. They are established during infancy with our primary caregivers. However, the style of attachment we develop as a child will stay with us all throughout our life unless we become aware of it, its impact on our life, and work to change it by working with a professional counselor, therapist or coach. Our attachment style will play out in all of our social relationships and particularly in our loving relationship. To put it in another way, the type of attachment we developed with our primary caregivers, will reflect in our relationships and loving relationships as adults.

Attachment styles are often classified as secure and insecure attachment styles. An ambivalent resistant attachment style is more of an insecure and unhealthy attachment style, but it is estimated more than 50% of people have insecure attachment styles and they can be changed with work. In this article, let us understand how an ambivalent-resistant attachment style affects a loving relationship in more detail. Below we have listed out the answers for the often repeated questions regarding ambivalent-resistant attachment individuals and how this attachment style affects relationships and loving relationships.

What is the Ambivalent-Resistant Attachment Style?

The ambivalent-resistant attachment style is an insecure and unhealthy attachment style in which the infant becomes insecurely attached to the caregiver and this forms a combination of positive and negative emotional responses towards the primary caregiver. They may show distress when a parent or caregiver leaves. When the parent or caregiver returns, the child often has mixed feelings and ideas toward them or tries to ignore them. They are confused and not securely attached to their parents or caregivers. In their early years they have struggled to form an emotionally secure attachment with their caregivers. The ambivalent-resistant attachment style usually leads to feeling a lack of a secure base in any relationship and their loving relationship in the future when they become adults.

What causes the Setup of an Ambivalent-Resistant Attachment Style?

An ambivalent-resistant attachment style is often a result of a childhood in which love and affection are inconsistently provided by the parents or caregivers. The infancy period will have been dominated by the child confused and desperately looking for love and affection. They will have experienced some love and affection, but their experience of it will be fragile with a sense that it might vanish at any moment without warning. Due to this they will have remained unsure of receiving love and affection throughout their childhood. This drives a fear of abandonment in the child. They didn’t feel safe in their infancy as their experience of love and affection was too inconsistent. The child can develop a sense of self that they are not good enough and beliefs to accompany this in their adult life.

What is it like to have a Loving Relationship with a Person with an Ambivalent-Resistant Attachment Style?

Someone with an ambivalent-resistant attachment style constantly searches for proof that they are loved in their loving relationship. They may also try to prove that they are lovable with acts and deeds. They can be distrustful that they are loved by their partner and so overly seek validation in a loving relationship. The other person may feel alienated in the loving relationship leading to jeopardy of the loving relationship. An ambivalent-resistant personality will often focus obsessively on the relationship. They may constantly worry about whether they are doing everything right and how the other person really feels about them. They may seem needy and clingy and often no amount of reassurance can make them feel secure in the loving relationship. They might often respond with upset and anger due to feeling insecure and unloved.

There are a few signs that can help both parties to understand if an ambivalent-resistant attachment style is being played out in their loving relationship. Some are:

  • Ambivalent-resistant individuals seek reassurance in a loving relationship constantly. They can expect reassurance in multiple ways such as text messages, calls, words of validation, affection, signs of approval and more.
  • They can struggle with constant insecurity in a loving relationship.
  • They can find it difficult to emotionally self-regulate without intervention from their loving partner.
  • They tend to over-interpret unnecessary details in the loving relationship.
  • They may make threats about ending the loving relationship.
  • They often have issues in establishing intimacy and closeness in a loving relationship.
  • They may exhibit extreme behavior of self-importance in the loving relationship due to requiring validation that they are lovable.

Can an Ambivalent-Resistant Individual have Successful Relationships and a Successful Loving Relationship?

Individuals who have an ambivalent-resistant attachment style often find it difficult to sustain healthy relationships. The good news is it is quite possible to change this attachment style with the professional help of a skilled counselor, therapist or coach. With the support of an experienced professional and commitment from the individual, it is possible to change and heal an ambivalent-resistant attachment style disorder. In general, the focus to work through this attachment style from a professional is to rewire neuro synaptically any childhood adverse experiences to be positive, work to develop and encourage trust in self and to develop renewed communication skills, and to develop a social personality. Professional work with a skilled counselor, therapist or coach can overtime shift and transform an ambivalent-resistant attachment style to be able to form secure attachments in relationships and to develop a secure attachment in a loving relationship.

How does an Ambivalent-Resistant Attachment Style Benefit an Individual? 

Attachment styles also have benefits. Individuals with an ambivalent-resistant attachment style are very loving and loyal individuals. They are very giving and generous. When they are accepted and reassured they will go above and beyond to love their partner. When consistently reassured and appreciated their confidence grows. They are very motivated to build a life with the person they love and to do the right thing for their partner and genuinely want to see them happy. They need a loving partner in their life and that person means everything to them.

How can you Build a Better Loving Relationship with an Ambivalent-Resistant Partner?

Though it may take a lot of energy, you can build a happy loving relationship with an ambivalent-resistant partner. By understanding and acknowledging the reasons behind this attachment style, you can help this person to feel more secure in your loving relationship. Here are a few ways that you can help an ambivalent-resistant partner.

  • Reassurance – By constantly reassuring your partner, you can prevent the individual from avoiding negative thoughts about the relationship. Try to stay connected with them through phone calls, frequent texts, etc. During conflicts or disagreements, try to assure your partner such conflicts are not the end of the relationship.
  • Consistency – If you are with an ambivalent-resistant individual, you should acknowledge that they constantly want to hear, value, and be understood. By showing love and affection consistently, you can assure them that they are being valued in the relationship.
  • Prompt Responses – Do not keep your partner waiting for a reply to messages as they might over-interpret or overreact. Make sure you show up on time for dates or meetings. When you keep them waiting for long, they might feel a lack of respect. Keep in mind that ambivalent individuals fear abandonment.
  • Adapt – When you are with an ambivalent-resistant partner, it is essential to educate and remind yourself about their attachment style. Don’t try to fix the individual. Rather you should understand and acknowledge that the underlying issue is the lack of love and care they needed in the initial years of their life. You can love them more and work with a professional counselor, therapist or coach to develop your skills and the relationship.
  • Avoid – When you overlook the needs of an ambivalent-resistant partner, they will feel unworthy which will worsen the relationship. Avoid triggers or conversations that make them feel that you invalidate their needs.

Can someone Change from an Ambivalent-Resistant Attachment Style to a Secure Attachment Style? 

It is possible to transition from an ambivalent-resistant attachment style to a secure attachment style. The more you can understand yourself, the better you can correct yourself and improve. Here are a few tips to help someone to develop secure attachments and to move toward having a secure loving relationship:

  • Improve your Emotional Intelligence – Study material on intrapersonal communication and work to stay aware of your emotional needs and gain better control over them to strengthen your relationships with people.
  • Be with Securely Attached Individuals – Ideally, you should engage in relationships with people who are more secure and who have secure attachment styles. It will help to avoid insecure people who will drive negative thinking and negative behavioral patterns. Build healthy relationships.
  • Work with a Professional – Childhood adverse experiences often lead to insecurities and fear in adulthood. Work with a professionally skilled counselor, therapist or coach to work through and overcome any issues.

Summing Up

Individuals who are denied love and care when they need it in childhood tend to develop an ambivalent-resistant attachment style as adults. They find it difficult to have happy and healthy relationships. They experience difficulty in establishing an emotional connection with their partner. With education, proper awareness, effort and commitment and professional support, an ambivalent-resistant attachment person can transition to a secure attachment style over time. It is possible to change how you approach a loving relationship and to achieve fulfillment and love for one another by working on yourself and working with the support of someone professional and skilled to guide you.