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Part 3: Dating, Relationships and Attachment Style

In part 1 of this series, we decoded the origin of attachment styles and in part 2, described common attachment patterns and what they mean. Here, we’ll dive deeper into the dance between attachment systems and the resulting relationship dynamics.

Noting the interplay of attachment styles provides fascinating insight into your possible relationship dynamics. While most people have a tendency to exhibit one of these three styles more often than not, it isn’t entirely uncommon for attachment styles to shift due to circumstances, involvement in therapy (Sroufe, 1996), learning, the approach of your partner, and other environmental factors (Brogaard, 2015).

Secure + Secure

The relationship that is most likely to ...

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Part 2: What is Your Attachment Style and What Does it Mean?

couple looking at one another

The ideal way to determine your attachment style is to work with a psychologist who is well-versed in attachment theory as it relates to relationships. A professional can help you assess what your attachment style is, understand how it developed, and how it affects your current and future relationships.

In addition, there are questionnaires and books (Tatkin, 2016) that can also be helpful in determining your attachment style. For our purposes, you can quickly learn more about your attachment style in this brief quiz from Psych Central, created by John Grohol (2016).

In part 1, we outlined the way attachment styles are formed. Here in ...

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Part 1: Understanding Adult Attachment Theory: The Impact of Your Childhood on Today’s Relationships

family spending time together

While we often think of attachment as something a child develops with a parent or caregiver, understanding the way we meet or attach to others can provide powerful insight into our relationship dynamics as adults. A deeper understanding can also help us understand and prepare for challenges that will arise in dating and relationships, which we will dive into in Part II of this piece. First, let’s take a closer look at what attachment is and why it is important to understand.

What is Attachment?

According to the ground-breaking research in the 1960’s, John Bowlby uncovered that attachment is an emotional and physical bond that develops in order ...

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Am I Dating a Narcissist?

Man with a dark side

Dating has changed dramatically in the last decade. With texting being an integral part of relationships, to shifting gender roles, the dating world is in a constant state of evolution. The advent of online dating allows singles to easily meet a variety of people outside their circle of friends, and therefore, the odds of encountering a partner with personality issues have probably also increased. When previously, singles were introduced to “a good friend” as a potential match, now people are more apt to date complete strangers and encounter completely new relationship territory -- including dating a narcissist.

While the term Narcissist might be new to you, mankind has been ...

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Dating Beyond “Looks Great On Paper”

Couple laughing

Dr. Hick tells us how to look beyond the dating “list” to find a deeper, uncharted way of dating. Let’s look beyond what’s on paper and date more mindfully.


Everyone has either shared or heard a tragic dating story that starts with, “He/She looked great on paper.” You’ve probably even created—perhaps rewriting many times over—a “list” of your own, outlining all of the qualities you desire in a potential mate.

While these lists are, in theory, a pretty good starting place for honing in on what it is you are looking for in a partner, they can only go so far. Once you ...

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Moving Beyond the Honeymoon Phase: 4 Strategies to Make Love Last

Couple smiling at one another

The butterflies, the adrenaline, and untainted hope, and the joy of something new. The honeymoon phase of a relationship – usually defined as anything from the first 90 days to the first year – is the utopic beginning of romance and usually the most beloved phase of a partnership.

Interestingly, as relationship expert and Certified Gottman Couples Therapist, Zack Brittle shares,“The Honeymoon Period is a real phenomenon, but it actually has a scientific name: It’s called limerence.  Limerence is the early phase of love, driven primarily by novelty and chemistry. The joy of discovery and the thrill of forming a new relationship are accelerated with the help ...

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Part 2: Strategies to Maintaining Fearless, Healthy Boundaries

Couple walking on railroad tracks

Knowledge of what boundaries are, how they are learned and how fear can influence your boundary setting likely led you to the question, “So how do I set and maintain a healthy boundary?”

The first step to setting healthy boundaries is to get extremely clear on the desired boundary (refer back to Fearless Boundaries: Healthy Boundaries for Better Relationships). Ask yourself about your breaking points, obstacles and must-haves in relationships that challenge you.

As a Denver psychologist specializing in dating and relationship therapy, the most effective boundary strategy I regularly share with clients is a 4-step process:

  • Set

  • Expect Push-back

  • Uphold

  • Reinforce 

1. Set: As mentioned, setting a clear boundary ...

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