Attachment is the emotional tie between two people that binds them together. It's is not just a connection between any two people, it is a strong bond which means we seek closeness, comfort and help from them and we experience distress if we are separated from that person. Some people have said that attachment is rather like gravity, we can't see gravity, but it keeps us rooted on the earth, similarly we can't see attachment but it's the force that holds our key family relationships together.
Attachment is easy to see at work in childhood. We know that babies are born seeking connection and thrive when they get it. The toddler stays in close proximity to their caregiver, turning to them when they need help or comfort, using them as the base from which to explore their world.
What is becoming increasingly apparent now is that attachment remains important for our whole lives. The father of attachment theory and the man who first worked this out, John Bowlby famously said ‘All of us, from cradle to grave, are happiest when life is organised as a series of excursions, long or short, from the secure base provided by our attachment figures.”
So although older children and teenagers might not stay in such close physical proximity, they still do better when they enjoy a close attachment relationship with their care givers. This bond gives them the security they need to emerge as kind, loving and resilient adults.
The last 20 years of research into the couple relationships has led to the conclusion that couple relationships are also best understood in attachment terms. We never grow out of needing a small number of 'go to people'. They have our backs when we are out adventuring and exploring and they are there to come back into when life gets too much and we need comfort and support.
Attachment Theory shows us that living connected lives is good for our mental, emotional, social, educational and even physical well-being. Conversely disconnection and prolonged loneliness can harm us mentally, emotionally socially and physically.
This is why Connected Lives exists - to help us form strong healthy attachments so that we can thrive.