5 Reasons Why You Get Emotionally Attached Too Soon | Adam LoDolce
Are You Too Attached To Him?
He loves me, he loves me not: It was a fun game on the playground, but the relationship roundabout gets a little old by the time you've hit adulthood. Unfortunately, this kind of instability—particularly when it's driven by a fear of rejection—is also bad for your health.
That's the conclusion of a fascinating new study revolving around "attachment anxiety" in relationships. Those with an anxious attachment style crave intimacy, but they're also fixated on being hurt or rejected: Your husband called an hour later than he said he would? If you're anxiously attached, it's enough to make you pretty angry—not to mention leave you feeling vulnerable and insecure. And while this approach to relationships might sound extreme, take a close look at your own behavior: Around 20% of adults qualify as anxiously attached, according to reasearch published in theJournal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Unfortunately, anxious attachment takes a toll on more than just your relationship: Earlier research has suggested that this attachment style leaves us at an increased risk of suffering heart attacks and strokes, and more likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure. This new study helps explain why: Anxious attachment seems to trigger elevated levels of cortisol (the hormone released during the body's stress response) and diminished levels of key immune cells.
"Imagine a person who has chronic, non-stop concerns about being rejected," says lead study author Lisa M. Jaremka, PhD, a postdoctoral candidate at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. "Obviously, that's going to be very stressful for the body."
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Jaremka and her colleagues evaluated 85 married couples with an average age of 39 years. Each participant filled out several questionnaires meant to determine their attachment styles, anxiety levels, and sleep quality. They also provided saliva and blood samples, which researchers used to measure cortisol levels and immunity cells.
Indeed, individuals who exhibited attachment anxiety in their marriage also had 11% higher cortisol levels than participants who didn't. And when researchers measured several different immunity cells, they noted that anxious participants had between 11% and 22% fewer cells than their peers.
In other words, worrying about your relationship can actually make you sick: Elevated cortisol levels have been linked to myriad chronic health problems, including excess visceral fat, an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and even gum disease. Too much cortisol can also reduce immunity, which likely explains the findings of this study.
Unfortunately, there's no clear-cut solution to changing your attachment style, Jaremka says. "Experts have seen that attachment styles can be altered," she says. "We just aren't exactly sure how to make that happen yet." Typically, anxiously attached individuals change their stripes when they're involved in a highly supportive, secure, longterm relationship, but as Jaremka notes, "you can't just snap your fingers and make that relationship happen."
If you're concerned about your own attachment style, seek out professional guidance.
Video: Warning - 8 Signs You're Overly Emotionally Attached
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