This might be one of the more personal and unique book recommendations I’ve ever made, but seeing as how I can’t shut up about this book with my girlfriends (and in turn, after reading it, they come back to me and are like OH EM GEE THIS BOOK), I figured it was my duty to share it with you guys, too. It’s not a novel, and it’s not even a new release. It’s actually kind of a self-help book, and one that deals with romantic relationships. Have I lost you yet?
I hope not! Because Attached has been one of the most incredibly interesting and revealing books I’ve picked up in quite a while.
Attached is all about attachment theory, in the context of how we form and keep attachments with people we’re in romantic relationships with. You can think of it as an easy-to-follow distillation of decades worth of research about how people connect with one another (there’s actually an evolutionary basis behind it). The book aims to answer the question of why some people seem to have effortless relationships, while others struggle. And this applies to people who are single, dating, OR are married. Honestly, the back of the book can explain it way better than I can:
In Attached, Levine and Heller reveal how an understanding of adult attachment — the most advanced relationship science in existence today — can help us find and sustain love. Pioneered by psychologist John Bowlby in the 1950s, the field of attachment posits that each of us behaves in relationships in one of three distinct ways:
- Anxious people are often preoccupied with their relationships and tend to worry about their partner’s ability to love them back.
- Avoidant people equate intimacy with a loss of independence and constantly try to minimize closeness.
- Secure people feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and loving.
In this book, Levine and Heller guide readers in determining what attachment style they and their mate (or potential mate) follow, offering a road map for building stronger, more fulfilling connections with the people they love.
Kind of cool, right? (Here’s a great article from Women’s Health that explains these three styles a little more.)
I didn’t know what to expect going into the book, but reading through various case studies, filling out some of the worksheets, and looking at these different scenarios and lists provided by the authors was revelatory. It gives you so much insight into your relationships — past and present — and perhaps more importantly, a much stronger understanding of what you as an individual need in order to feel loved and cared for within a relationship.
Maybe this sounds cheesy. But no joke, after recommending it to a few different friends, I’ve gotten texts that read, “Got sucked into Attached this afternoon. All I gotta say is HOLY SHIT. So good. I feel like I should send my ex a copy and be like, if you do anything in life, read Chapter 6. Life changing.” Or, “More than halfway done. Such a good book. I am definitely anxious, with a penchant for avoiders. It really simplifies everything.”
In other words, chances are if you’ve ever dated somebody — like, ever — reading this book is kind of like putting a mirror up to your relationships. It really helps you understand the mechanics of why people connect (or don’t) and get what they need (or don’t). What I hear from friends (and what I experienced too) is that people really see themselves in the various dynamics the book talks about — both good, and bad. I think that’s incredibly valuable!
My one criticism of the book is that it feels geared towards people who are single and dating, with not as much of a focus on those in long term relationships or marriages. But it’s a pretty minor gripe, because so much of the content is incredibly interesting. No matter your current relationship status, it is definitely worth reading.
Pro-tip: Kindle readers, take note. I originally downloaded the book for my Kindle app, but there are a lot of places in the book that require writing things down, tallying up points or making notes. So this is one book in which I think the paperback version is the way to go!
If you pick up a copy, I’d LOVE to hear what you think. Did you find it applicable to your own relationships? Anything really surprise you?