Your Partner Might Be Anxious If…


I, like an estimated fourth of the population, have an anxious attachment style (also known as a preoccupied style). What does this mean? Essentially, if you have an anxious attachment style you want, better yet, need to have a large amount of closeness and intimacy with your partner in a relationship. You live for the hugs, kisses, and long private discussions of a devoted relationship.

While anxious people can make the best and most committed partners, they are sensitive and demanding — their style of loving is not for everyone. They have certain needs in relationships that others may not. If your partner is anxious, it would help to recognize their unique approach to relationships. But how do you know you’re dealing with an anxious person? Your partner might be anxious if they..

7. Follow your lead

An anxious partner will let you set the pace of the relationship. They do this so they don’t get hurt by taking actions that are not reciprocated. For example, they will say I love after you say it (or hint at it) and agree to take the relationship to the next level if you suggest so.

6. Need to be reassured of your love and their place in the relationship

Anxious people are often worried about where they stand in relation to their partner — how important they are in their partner’s life, if their partner (still) feels the same way about them. They need physical or verbal reassurance of your feelings.

5. Try to keep you guessing/on your toes

At times a person with an anxious love style will play games or use extreme behavior to gain your attention if they feel neglected. They may pretend to be too busy to spend time with you or act uninterested and nonchalant. This is their way of expressing hurt (if in an established relationship) or of keeping their true anxious nature undercover (if dating or in a new relationship). They don’t simply tell you that they are feeling abandoned because they fear being seen as oversensitive or needy.

anxious-attachment-closeness4. Are unhappy when not in a relationship

Anxious people usually long to find a loving mate and be part of a relationship. In moments of closeness they may talk about how your relationship makes them or how they’ve always wished for someone like you. You can tell they feel incomplete when not in a relationship.

3. Are sensitive to any signs of rejection/easily hurt

The anxious person is sensitive to their partner’s moods and takes any perceived slights as a rejection of themselves. When the anxious person feels a threat they may act out, usually by acting out or withdrawing.

2. Want a lot of closeness

A hallmark of the anxious love style is the great need for a high amount of intimacy. This means spending a good part of your time together, lots of physical contact, and a desire to rearrange your lives around the relationship.

1. Are preoccupied with the relationship

Another name for the anxious love style is “preoccupied”. Your partner most likely has an anxious style if they spend a great deal of time and energy on your relationship. If your partner is always planning things to do together, talking about or thinking about the relationship when you two are apart, or constantly wanting to talk with you about the relationship, there is a near perfect chance they have an anxious attachment style.

Does your partner have an anxious love style? Do you?

See also:


22 thoughts on “Your Partner Might Be Anxious If…

  1. OK, Z needs to read this, because it is so him, especially #s 6, 3, and 2. I think I’m slightly anxious, but he’s way more anxious than me so it works out. 🙂

  2. Jasmin,

    Lol. Yay, if zek is anxious, you should be glad. We make the best partners (if you care for us well). 😉

    And anxious people do well with secure people. Way better than with avoidants…

  3. I’d rather date an anxious than an avoidant–I’m pretty sure I dated an avoidant before, and he got on my last nerve.

  4. Jasmin,

    I’d rather date an anxious type as well. That way we could be anxious together. 🙂

    But I attract avoidants like they are the only ones in the world. It makes sense though, since so many of them are single at any given time and they don’t like to date each other.

  5. Alee,

    I feel avoidant men like women who they consider “put-together”, but then they get mad when those put-together women actually expect treatment consistent with being in a relationship. My longest relationship to date was with an avoidant, and he made it seem like I had such unreasonable demands when all I was asking for was respect and accountability. I didn’t know what to call it then, but if I had known I would’ve fled that situation much earlier.

  6. Jasmin,

    You’re quite correct about avoidant men wanting “put-together” women. They think that such women won’t need as much in a relationship and they can have their cake and eat it too.

    You were asking an avoidant for accountability? I should have known you then: I could’ve told you that was a bad idea. 😉

    It’s extremely helpful to understand your attachment style and the attachment style of your partner; the earlier the better. It will save you lots of time and energy you would spend on trying to figure everything out, or time spent in a relationship that is fastly slowly approaching nowhere.

  7. Alee,

    I should have known you then: I could’ve told you that was a bad idea

    Seriously. I was a freshman in college and there were all of these fine seniors who wanted to date me–I could’ve been with an investment banker *sigh*. 😉

  8. OMG, while reading this…it reminded me of someone…ME! I used to be exactly like this, and after reading this, I’m thinking, “Damn, I was annoying.” Thankfully I’ve changed, and I know I couldn’t put up with this currently in my relationship. I think I’ve ventured into my inner Capricorn and became more self-contained.

  9. Jasmin,

    “I could’ve been with an investment banker *sigh*.”

    You really gave that up for an avoidant? Wow, you’re crazy. 😉


    “OMG, while reading this…it reminded me of someone…ME!”

    Lol. Really? 🙂

    Being anxious is not so bad… you just need the right partner that will understand you. Everyone is not going to love in the same way, and there really isn’t a “correct” manner of loving.

    You’re probably a secure type that “veered off” into anxious/avoidant at different times in life. Secure types are good. I wasn’t planning on writing about them because they’re pretty straightforward. But maybe I will since most of the population has a secure style, and it seems most people who read the blog do as well.

  10. ^^^Well, I only liked him (and the others) as friends, but if I had been single I probably would’ve gone out with them, just to see. 🙂

  11. Investment banker!?!?!?

    And what’s wrong with a passionate and genuine, devil-may-care handsome writer/musician/anthropologist/future Nobel laureate?

    ; )

  12. zek,

    Nothing, nothing at all. 🙂

    Btw, do you agree with Jasmin’s assessment of your being an anxious type? Have you taken the attachment style questionnaire?

  13. Babe,

    I said he was just a friend! The interest was pretty one-sided, given I was dating someone else at the time.

    But you are hotter than him. /shallow

  14. I haven’t taken the attachment questionnaire actually. But I’d guess I’m a very moderate anxious person. Either that or a somewhat secure person. Hard to say actually… I’m just so complex =P

  15. Okay, I took it and I got a “secure” style, with a low avoidance level, and close to the middle on anxiety.

    Guess that means I’ll be having a successful relationships free from psychological disorders?? (According to the website…)


  16. zek,

    Lol. Nope, no guarantee. 😉

    I wonder why so many people keep getting secure though, even when they/others think they have a different style. I got secure as well, and I know myself well enough to know that I’m not. Perhaps I should hunt for another questionnaire…

  17. I am definitely anxious type. No need to take the questionnaire to know that! (Although I did, and I got anxious type).

    But like I said elsewhere, I think many of us get secure/less anxious results because we take into account only our present relationships. And they say in the guidelines you should answer based on your full dating history. Try re-taking the test with that in mind, Zek. I don’t know you, but, permit me to say, you do seem like anxious type (unlike Alee!)

    Now, I considered myself extremely anxious, though I guess I’m moderate… I just used to date jerks avoidants, and I’m definitely one of those people who can’t be compatible with them.

    I used to believe there’s something wrong with me… Let’s face it, media promotes avoidant traits, and while secure type is praised (and rightfully so), us anxious types are led to believe we’re freaks, possessive, dependent, clingy types who are unable to take care of themselves. Saying you function better in a (good) relationship much better than you could ever function outside it is a huge no-no to say these days!

  18. Mira,

    “I don’t know you, but, permit me to say, you do seem like anxious type (unlike Alee!)”

    Lol. I’m thinking I must have a very complex personality. People never seem to see me the way I know myself. People think I’m outgoing, they think I’m practical, they think I’m “rational”, and even my family thinks I fit more with a secure attachment style… Ha. 🙂

    I mean, I can be all of those things, but I wouldn’t say they are my “true” personality. I’m definitely an extremely anxious type. I define anxious. If anyone is looking to understand how the anxious attachment style plays out in the real world, just watch me on a good (or bad) day in a relationship… One of the reasons I cover so many relationship topics is because I’m so focused on relationships and know so much about them, i.e. preoccupied with them.

    “I used to believe there’s something wrong with me… us anxious types are led to believe we’re freaks, possessive, dependent, clingy types who are unable to take care of themselves.”

    True. I used to think there was something wrong with me too. But it wasn’t the media, but people in daily life that made me feel that way. They didn’t know I was an anxious type, so they would openly disparage traits associated with it, and say forthright that these types of people have “issues” they need to reconcile.

    “Saying you function better in a (good) relationship much better than you could ever function outside it is a huge no-no to say these days!”

    It is, but I do function better in a good relationship. I have no problem saying it now. I was meant to be part of a two-some.

  19. I realize that this comment comes late, but I am a secure that tried to make it work with an avoidant type for 18 years. I didnt know that’s what she was. I thought if I could be more attentive and more loving that she would change. boy was I wrong. We are so over, and I wasted so much. Sorry, but trying to make a life with a classic textbook avoidant type was a dead end road. I sent her the profile, and hope she reads it. There is nothing better than being presented with things about yourself in black and white. What an eye opener. God, I wasted so much time…

  20. So I cried reading this because it describes me so well. It really sucks being anxiously attached. I have not even dated much in my life because dating is so exhausting when I invest myself 100 percent that I feel it is more peaceful for me to be single. And I think I am a good catch. I am a perfectly nice person. However, working on becoming more secure is hard because those unconscious feelings of possible abandonment are so very real and hard to calm. I will keep working on it though.

  21. Jana,

    I know what you mean! Being single can be a good thing, actually. In dating and relationships you just have to be aware of your tendencies and tell yourself to chill out sometimes. 🙂

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