“Intimacy transcends the physical. It is a feeling of closeness that isn’t about proximity, but of belonging. It is a beautiful emotional space in which two become one.”
~ Steve Maraboli
In order for a man to become attached in an emotional way to a woman, he needs to feel empowered to be his best self, when around her. He needs to know that he’s “enough” and that he is appreciated and honored.
How do we inspire that kind of knowingness and empowerment in a man?
Well, for one thing, we need to actually LET him be The Guy, by giving him opportunities to be the Provider / Protector that he is designed to be.
The more Feminine a woman is being, the more space there is for him to truly BE the man.
To be feminine is to be receptive, letting him truly contribute to you. Say Yes to his invitations, consider his suggestions, practice being accommodating and flexible, and speak up about the little things he can do to bring a smile to your face.
I’m in the middle of a busy work day and Hubby, Gil is headed out to run errands and grab a bite. I asked him if he could bring lunch back for me and he immediately replied with an offer to make me lunch before he left. Cha Ching.
I just took 30 minutes to sit outside on the patio outside my office, with the sun on my shoulders, relishing every bite, while Mr. Ferman’s moving on with his day.
I know for SURE that as he saw me savoring the bites that he created for me, in the most relaxed moments of my workday, he feels more emotionally attached to me than he did an hour ago.
Why? Because I allowed him to make a meaningful contribution to me.
It’s those little things that let a man know that he’s “enough” and that his sweet contributions are nothing less than heroic.
Julie Ferman, Matchmaker and Dating Coach – www.julieferman.com
What makes men emotionally attached, I believe, is no different than what makes a woman emotionally attached.
We, as relational creatures, want to know that our partner has our back. We may want a best friend. We want to be held in our deepest vulnerability. Many of us want safety, belonging, and, ultimately, to be loved for our authentic selves, who we are at our core.
Our ability to have healthy partnerships in adulthood is based in great part on the attachment styles we shared with our primary caregivers. Attachment styles are based on Ainsworth and Bowlby’s research on the child-parent bond, that was later extended to adult relationships through the research of Hazan and Shaver, who believed that a child’s first relationships with caregivers form working models, or templates, for adult relationship functioning..
The four templates, or attachment styles are secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant, and fearful-avoidant.
How do these templates work? What has been implied in the research is that we tend to select partners that confirm our existing beliefs about attachment and relational security. Moreover, when we select a partner solely based on what seems safe and familiar to us, we can sometimes risk recreating similar attachment patterns we had with our primary caregivers.
For example, someone who experienced a parent or parents who alternated between loving approval and disapproval might have a anxious-preoccupied style. In an adult relationship this person might be the “giver” in relationships and feel undervalued, Their anxiety might increase when their partner’s attention shifts or moves away periodically, therefore requiring consistent attention and responsiveness. In their search for approval and love, they may become overly dependent on a partner.
Conversely, someone who is securely attached might not experience anxiety or difficulty with emotional closeness in a relationship.
They may feel at ease depending on others and of having others depend on them. They might also not feel anxious about being alone or worry about feeling accepted by others.
It bears noting that developmental trauma as well as shock trauma are often at the core of disruptions in trust and safety that lead to non-secure attachment styles. For example, both dismissive-avoidant and anxious-avoidant styles may originate from abuse or emotional abandonment, in which the child learned they could not depend on or trust adult caregivers.
Luckily, even though attachment styles tend to remain stable over time, it has been demonstrated that you can heal ruptures in early attachment and improve the quality of your relationships.
You may be able to find a securely attached partner with whom you can create a new, healthier attachment style with. It is also possible to improve your ability to attach with a therapist that specializes in this area.
When you are not aware of how these patterns are playing out, you are more likely to find yourself repeatedly recreating the same relationship over and over again. When this happens we often find ourselves frustrated and wondering how the heck we got here, again.
Whatever way you decide to improve yourself in preparation for a happier life and a healthier partnership, the change begins with YOU.
Focus not on trying to figure out how to help him attach, but rather on how your attachment style influences your relationship needs, behavior, reactions, and partner selection.
In increasing your awareness of these patterns, you are able to make more conscious partner selections that are more aligned with what you want, and not necessarily what you learned as a child. I believe that when you improve your capacity to love yourself fully, you attract a partner who can meet you there.
Ingrid V. Rodriguez, PhD – www.embodiedquest.com
Since the beginning of documented human history there have been attempts at gaining love or admiration from others through the use of charms, spells, handbooks, attire, you name it.
The truth is, we cannot make someone have feelings for us and if you think about it, why would you want to?
Imagine for a moment that you had the power to make whomever you desired emotionally attached to you immediately- would you not question the sincerity of their devotion to you? Wouldn’t some aspect of it feel false?
Chances are good that if you are in a committed relationship and developing feelings for this person, it’s likely that they are too.
If they are not then you have options. You can wait and see if something develops in time or you can suffer your losses and search for someone who feels emotionally available to you. People attach to others for a number of reasons and the same reasons tend not to be gender specific and may have more to do with attachment style.
Again, there is nothing we can do to make someone feel the way they feel. If we could then we could control who we fall in love with and wouldn’t that be grand! How much time would you have saved yourself in the past if this were possible?! Our feelings are our own and so are theirs.
Attachment is an entire area of research in the field of psychology.
If you are unsure of your attachment patterns which form in early childhood then it is in your interest to conduct some personal research in this area. Once you know if you have some problems with attachment then you can fix them.
What is seen cannot be unseen. If you are rushing someone to attach to you or you find yourself easily and indiscriminately falling for whomever you are dating that you may have some attachment problems.
The right person is not going to leave you within the first weeks of dating if they have not professed their undying devotion to you or even attached to you emotionally. In fact, it’s likely a sign of emotional health if they have not.
That said, some people are stoic in their expression of emotion and if what we are asking for is for them to be more demonstrative than that is something entirely different than emotional attachment.
It could be that they are attached so to speak but just don’t know how you would like it expressed to them. This is an opportunity for enhanced communication through the practice of emotional vulnerability. All relational problems begin within ourselves and improving that primary relationship with you will enhance all of your future relationships!
Kate Kelly, MSW, LCSW – www.willowcreekwellness.com
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