Looking to apply the knowledge from Attached to your life? How can these exercises help you improve your relationships?
Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller teaches you about the three adult attachment styles. The book helps you identify the attachment styles of both yourself and your partner and how to navigate around them.
Continue below for exercises from the book Attached.
Attached Book Exercises
Have you ever wondered why your partner behaves in ways you cannot understand? Attached by Dr. Amir Levine and Rachel Heller offers practical, science-based wisdom that will help you gain insights into yourself, your beloved, and your partnership. The key is identifying and understanding which of three attachment styles—avoidant, secure, or anxious—is wired into your brain, driving the way you interact in romantic relationships.
Below are exercises inspired by the book Attached:
How Does Your Attachment Style Affect Your Relationship?
Once you’ve determined what your attachment style is, reflect on how you manifest that attachment style and what that means for your relationships.
- List 3-5 of your common behaviors that clearly mark you as a secure, anxious, or avoidant attacher.
- Now consider your present relationship (or most recent relationship if you’re not currently in one). List 3-5 ways that your attachment style affects your partner either positively or negatively. Consider phrasing your answers as: “When I do X, it probably makes my partner feel X.”
- What ways could you adapt your behaviors to better suit the emotional needs of your partner?
How Does Your Partner’s Attachment Style Affect You?
Once you’ve determined what your partner’s attachment style is, reflect on how he or she manifests that attachment style and what that means for you.
- List 3-5 of your partner’s common behaviors that mark him or her as a secure, anxious, or avoidant attacher. For each behavior, give an example of a recent incident in which he or she exhibited that behavior.
- Now consider your own attachment style and your emotional and intimacy needs. If your styles and needs differ from your partner’s, describe the ways in which they differ.
- Overall, how well do you feel your partner meets your needs for intimacy and closeness? Reflect on this in a few sentences.
Find Good Role Models and Copy Them
“Security priming” is role-modeling how secure people interact and behave. To behave like a more secure partner, emulate people you know who have a comfortable and secure way of dealing with their romantic partner.
- Name two people you know who you think have secure relationships with their partners.
- Come up with four real-world examples of how those two people behave in their intimate partnership—two examples for each person. (For example, “Bob calls his wife Sue during his lunch break every day and they chat for 15 minutes” or “Bob always attends Sue’s hockey games and cheers her on”)
- Now make a list of three ways you might be able to emulate your two role models’ behavior.
Make a Script for Tough Conversations
To communicate effectively with your partner, think carefully about the words you’ll use. Just like you’d prepare before giving a presentation to your boss, it’s not overkill to prepare your words before an important relationship conversation.
- Think about a specific conflict that occurred recently in your relationship—one that either resulted in an argument or just left you feeling uncomfortable or unloved. What were your partner’s specific words or actions that hurt your feelings?
- What actions could your partner take that would make you feel more at ease?
- Using the answers to the first two questions, write a short “script” that focuses on that issue and communicates what you need. (Remember to apply the principles outlined above under “What Effective Communication Sounds Like.”)
Rewind Your Last Argument
Effective communication is useful in all kinds of situations, but it’s especially important during an argument. In this exercise, you’ll examine your communication skills during conflict.
- Think about the last significant disagreement or argument you had with your partner. Briefly describe what the conflict was about and how it got resolved (or didn’t).
- Now try your best to remember what you said during that argument. Did you show a genuine concern for your partner’s feelings? If so, what words did you use?
- In addition to showing concern for your partner’s feelings, did you openly communicate your own feelings? If so, what words did you use?
- If you could revise the words you used in that argument, what would you change and why?
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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Amir Levine and Rachel Heller's "Attached" at Shortform.
Here's what you'll find in our full Attached summary:
- Why your partner behaves the way they do
- How your attachment style affects your relationship
- How to distance yourself from unhealthy relationships