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Adult Attachment

Mating is a subject that has received a lot of attention in social culture. Songs sing of “the one.” Fairy tales speak of true love, and romantic comedies top the movie charts. Men claim they cannot stay faithful because of some biological need to “spread their seed,” and women claim all of the “good ones” are either taken or gay. But what makes them “the good ones”? How does it come to pass that a man (or woman) is so completely wrong for one individual and the most perfect fit for another? It is the connection, the union, the bond.  The tie that holds people together is attachment. It is in the first time a man says, “I love you.” It is in the first kiss of a new couple. It is the “forever” in wedding vows. There is a lasting bond that forms between two people. It is a bond to love and care for one another.

Many people have studied this attachment process in humans. From the beginnings with Bowlby, to infant-caregiver attachment with Ainsworth, on to full adult attachment with researchers like Hazan and Bartholomew, scientists have wondered what keeps two people together throughout their lives. Research has mainly centered on evolutionary theory and the infant-caregiver model, but in the 80’s and early 90’s there has been gaining interest in the prospect of adult attachment and its relationship to both evolution and childhood attachment.

Early research on human mating focused on evolutionary theory. The works of Charles Darwin were used to show that certain traits were evolutionarily productive, and as a species evolved, those traits would be inherited to produce better evolutionary fitness. Mating is one of those traits. A species must reproduce to survive, so humans have come up with a system of mating that is as effective as possible. The Sexual

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