Those who have an avoidant attachment style tend to externalize their issues while anxious attachment style people internalize.
Being cheated on is one of the worst experiences anyone can have and it also leads to the fear of being cheated on in future relationships, which can be pretty taxing. A family and marriage therapist says there's a good way to predict if a partner is going to cheat, especially in relationships where one partner has an anxious attachment style and the other has an avoidant attachment style. Kate, who goes by @RestoringRelationships on TikTok, has been helping couples understand their relationship and their attachment styles. She posted the video with the caption: "Healing for anxious attachments is expressing needs + getting support and for avoidants, it’s leaning into connection." The video went viral garnering more than 902,000 views and 83,000 likes.
What's the anxious attachment style?
Anxious is an insecure attachment style driven by the deep fear of abandonment. They often look to their partner for validation. This attachment style is often associated with "neediness" or clingy behavior. This style is often found in people who have had caregivers who were inconsistent and unpredictable with affections.
What's an avoidant attachment style?
The avoidant attachment style is marked by a fear of intimacy. They have trouble getting close to their partners and have trust issues, and relationships can make them feel suffocated. They tend to be independent and often seek validation outside the relationship and can be emotionally unavailable. Avoidant partners are often found in people whose caregivers were not responsive and were distant. This leads the child to believe their needs won't be met.
Kate explains the idea of cheating with the help of a triangle, with the third wheel being where the partner gets their emotional needs met. "In a relationship, there is a bond between an avoidant and an anxious. When this bond gets unstable or stress is put on the bond, the partners' stress responses come out," she explained in a video. "So an avoidant literally avoids vulnerability and avoids confronting issues in the relationship so they bring in a third party. Avoidant attachment styles are externalizers. They externalize and get their emotional needs met by this third party. It could be work, another person, alcohol, or any external thing. To make this bond stable, they make a triangle."
She added that the other partner tended to internalize her stress. "The anxious tend to internalize, and when they are stressed in a relationship, they usually direct it toward their partner. This brings stress to the relationship. When they do not get their needs met in the relationship, they internalize. This is likely to come out as eating disorder issues, depression, or anxiety," she explained.
She also explained in cases where partners have kids, the anxious partners tend to get their needs met through the children. "This becomes an issue for kids especially when the anxious attachment doesn't get their needs met by their avoidant partner and so they get them met through the kids and that's how co-dependency happens," she explained. "How does this relate to cheating? If your partner is constantly going outside of the relationship to get their needs met; whether it's through work or avoiding, that is a warning sign that cheating could happen."
She also warned that anxious partners who relied on their family of origin to help them with their relationship were inviting trouble. "People still count on their parents and siblings to help them in their relationship and that is so bad for their relationship. They need to leave their family of origin and come toward each other. That is the first step in marriage, as it otherwise inhibits the development of the couple," she said. Kate explained the relationship issues and attachment styles are not necessarily applicable to all relationships, so it's important to take whatever is applicable to you and leave the rest.