The relationship styles we exhibit as adults are continually evolving, beginning with our earliest relationships. They continue to progress as we form close bonds. Relationship styles are unique to each connection made and can vary throughout life.

There are four different relationship styles:

  • Fearful

  • Avoidant

  • Anxious

  • Secure

Let’s dive into an overview of each.


Fearful Relationship Style

Those with a fearful relationship style have often coped with challenging life experiences, such as grief, abandonment, and abuse early on. This can make forming healthy relationships difficult because the individual may struggle with confidence and relying on others. Those with a fearful relationship style may push people away, fearing physical or emotional loss and doubting others’ intentions.


Avoidant Relationship Style

True to its name, those with an avoidant relationship style desire freedom and will push away to keep others from getting too close. This often stems from issues with commitment, causing them to avoid the intimacy that can make one feel vulnerable. Those with an avoidant relationship style will have few truly close relationships, choosing to be independent instead.


Anxious Relationship Style

Individuals with this style often have a history of emotionally turbulent relationships, but they dislike being alone. They can feel nervous and insecure about relationships, displaying neediness, possessiveness, mood swings, and oversensitivity. An anxious relationship style means you are reluctant to give people the benefit of the doubt – often interpreting their intentions as negative.


Secure Relationship Style

While the above styles are characterized by unhealthy habits, a secure relationship style allows one to find joy in friendships and an intimate partnership. A person with a secure relationship style can send and receive healthy expressions of intimacy and will draw appropriate and reasonable boundaries when required. They feel secure whether alone or with a companion.

Of course, people with a secure relationship style will have ups and downs like everybody else. However, this overall approach is the healthiest of the four relationship styles.