Why Am I so Attached To Someone I Barely Know? (The ultimate guide)

In this brief guide, we will look at the question (Why am I so attached to someone I barely know?”, as well as some other questions about attachment like why do we get emotionally attached to someone and how to stop being so emotionally attached to someone you barely know.

Why Am I so Attached To Someone I Barely Know?

You might be so attached to someone you barely know because you are highly sensitive and perhaps you see the relationship turning out very well, or it may also be because you have dysfunctional patterns of attachment which lead you to get close in a short period of time.

Many people who get very attached to someone they barely know may be experiencing a fear of abandonment, which may stem from feelings of emptiness and therefore they seek interpersonal relationships to alleviate this feeling.

Getting too attached to someone you barely know can be detrimental to the relationship, even in the early stages, because often you may talk and act like you are much farther than you actually are, leading to the other person feeling uncomfortable and even possibly leaving.

When this happens, it can lead to you feeling heartbroken and dejected, and this can only lead to the fears of abandonment deepening, instead of alleviating, which is what would truly stop the cycle of getting too attached to people, go away for good.

This is the problem in cases where the person keeps looking for other relationships to deal with the ones that don’t work out, and they may also find that they keep getting attached to people they barely know because they are just constantly looking out for possibilities of all their problems going away with that one miracle relationship.

However, even in these cases, when the person does finally find a relationship which sticks, their fear of abandonment may show up at some point anyway, and it may wreck the relationship later and for a different reason other than getting attached too easily.

The solution to this is seeing someone about it, and getting to the root of the problem, which can often be found in childhood, because that is where attachment problems start.

Lauren O’Connell, a licensed marriage and family therapist, agrees, “Usually falling in love with, and being unable to get over someone you barely know and have barely dated, is reflective of having ‘attachment issues.”

She adds further that when people have had unstable, smothering, or unavailable experiences with their primary caregivers as a child they may experience problems with their patterns of attachment in the future, for example someone with an anxious attachment may have grown up with parents who were inconsistent with their attention and affection and they are experiencing difficulty to do it in a healthy way as an adult because of the same reason.

Based on this theory, the prediction would be that if someone has an anxious attachment,  they may have a hard time trusting other people’s motives and may tend to worry more about how your partner really feels about you, and also get attached to someone you barely know.

O’Connell also says, “Often people who want relationships but have difficulties due to attachment fixate and idealize unavailable people. You get the illusion of the relationship without actually having it.”

On the other hand, you may also get too attached to someone you barely know because you are simply too focused on the end result of the relationship rather than the present good feelings and present happiness.

Relationship expert Paul Bashea Williams says that sometimes people get attached to people they barely know because it isn’t the person that matters, it may just be the idea of what that person stands for or what that relationship entails, and he says, “People become married to the potential of having something long-term, It isn’t necessarily about the specific person they just met, it’s about the relationship status they had expectations of gaining. They had plans which included anyone who didn’t look like their past and fit the mold of what they wanted for the future.”

Why Do I Get Attached So Easily?

You might get attached so easily because you have troubling patterns of attachment in your childhood, or perhaps you simply did not get around to learning what to expect from an interpersonal relationship, so now you might be looking for situations that instantly fulfill you.

Many people get attached too easily to others, even before they know them properly, because they are looking to meet their need for affection and love that may not have been fulfilled when they were younger, which is entirely possible if the caregivers were not attentive enough.

Many studies have tried to explain where one might find answers to why we get attached so easily, and one such example may come from a large-scale analysis by Tianyuan Li and Darius Change of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in 2012.

They studied the attachment style and relationship quality data from 73 studies covering more than 21,000 individuals, and finally they achieved the results that people who are high on avoidant attachment have poorer quality relationships overall, and this persisted on multiple measures of satisfaction, general connectedness, or support, and it was seen that avoidant come out lower on nearly all measures of relationship quality. 

While the result is not entirely surprising given that the avoidant attachment style leads the person to strive to avoid getting close to others and when they are in a relationship, they constantly seek to maintain their independence. 

However, the anxiously attached, in contrast, are happiest when they are in a relationship because they have strong needs for closeness and support, but these are what eventually create frequent conflict and sow the seeds of their relationships’ undoing.

Emotionally Attached: Attachment Styles

Attachment styles are the most often used concept that is employed to understand how emotional attachment works, and it is assumed that the more someone uses healthy attachment styles, the better they experience emotional attachment.

Mary Ainsworth was the leading researcher in the field of Attachment styles, and her ideas are still considered to be the most applicable ones to adult interpersonal relationships.

Mary Ainsworth devised a special experimental design to measure the attachment of an infant to the caregiver; she called it the “Strange Situation” (exposing an infant to a series of leave-takings and returns of the mother and a stranger). Through this measurement technique, Ainsworth and another colleague identified four attachment styles:

Secure: Infants labeled as secure were willing to get down from their mother’s lap soon after entering the room with their mothers. They explored happily, looking back at their mothers and returning to them every now and then (sort of like “touching base”). When the stranger came in, these infants were wary but calm as long as their mother was nearby. When the mother left, the infants got upset. When the mother returned, the infants approached her, were easily soothed, and were glad to have her back.

Avoidant: In contrast, avoidant babies, although somewhat willing to explore, did not “touch base.” They did not look at the stranger or the mother and reacted very little to her absence or her return, seeming to have no interest or concern.

Ambivalent: The word ambivalent means to have mixed feelings about something. Ambivalent babies in Ainsworth’s study were clinging and unwilling to explore, very upset by the stranger regardless of the mother’s presence, protested mightily when the mother left, and were hard to soothe. When the mother returned, these babies would demand to be picked up but at the same time push the mother away or kick her in a mixed reaction to her return.

Disorganized–disoriented: In subsequent studies, other researchers found that some babies seemed unable to decide just how they should react to the mother’s return. These disorganized–disoriented infants would approach her but with their eyes turned away from her, as if afraid to make eye contact. In general, these infants seemed fearful and showed a dazed and depressed look on their faces.

It should come as no surprise that the mothers of each of the four types of infants also behaved differently from one another. Mothers of secure infants were loving, warm, sensitive to their infant’s needs, and responsive to the infant’s attempts at communication. 

Mothers of avoidant babies were unresponsive, insensitive, and coldly rejecting. Mothers of ambivalent babies tried to be responsive but were inconsistent and insensitive to the baby’s actions, often talking to the infant about something totally unrelated to what the infant was doing at the time. 

Mothers of disorganized–disoriented babies were found to be abusive or neglectful in interactions with the infants.

It has since been established beyond the shadow of a doubt that people with anxious, disorganized or avoidant styles of attachment tend to experience far more problems in their interpersonal relationships, and they may also be the ones who either get attached to people they barely know or not feel attached to people at all.

There is also an Adult Attachment Style Questionnaire that is based on these patterns of attachment, and one may be able to take it to assess what kind of attachment style they have.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we looked at the question “Why am I so attached to someone I barely know?”, as well as some other questions about attachment like why do we get emotionally attached to someone and how to stop being so emotionally attached to someone you barely know.

Attachment is a difficult thing to master, and too much or too little of it either way can be problematic, because too much and you are at risk of a broken relationship, and too little means that you might never experience a healthy emotional attachment to anyone.

The key to good attachment in your adulthood is to ensure that you have good attachment in your childhood as well, and since that is not something you can control, it may help to seek therapy as an adult to make sure that the maladaptive patterns of attachment you inherited from your parents do not carry on to your children and you can also have good relationships.

If you have any questions like “Why am I so attached to someone I barely know?” please feel free to reach out to us at any time, or leave us a comment if you have any insights on the subject.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Why am I so attached to someone I barely know?

What does it mean when you get attached to someone quickly?

When you get attached to someone quickly it may mean that you have a tendency to avoid being single or maybe you feel an emotional void in your life that you need to fill.

When people get too emotionally attached to someone quickly it may usually be because they have issues with abandonment, and they get attached because they don’t want to feel lonely or sad anymore.

Many people overcome getting too emotionally attached to someone the minute they learn that they are okay with the single life and that they don’t need emotional or romantic attachments with others.

How do I stop being emotionally attached to someone?

To stop being emotionally attached to someone, you may try the following:

Practise loving self-parenting. 
Practise being there for yourself more often. 
Recognise harshness towards self as a form of emotional cruelty.
Be responsible for your own happiness. 
Let go of attachments by focusing on gentle, deep breathing. 
Really get to know your vulnerable self.

How do you know when you’re too attached to someone?

To know if you’re too attached to someone, you need to evaluate if you feel that you cannot live without them, or when you constantly want to be around them.

In some cases, when a relationship is new and exciting, wanting to be around someone all the time is fun, and totally normal, too, but when it starts being punctuated by a never-ending spiral of negative thoughts and emotions (including suicidal thoughts) at the idea of being without your partner, it may mean that you are too attached to someone.

Is it bad to get attached too easily?

Yes, it can sometimes be bad to get attached too easily, because it may imply that you have problems with attachment and there might be something in your life that is making you feel too attached to someone before you even know them properly.

Getting too attached too easily can also be somewhat exhausting, because you may constantly be on a different page compared to the other person, and it is entirely possible for it to become unhealthy and take over your life. 

Citations 

https://www.bustle.com/p/why-you-cant-stop-thinking-about-someone-you-barely-dated-according-to-experts-18683980

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201209/why-clingy-partners-cling

Divya is currently a Clinical Psychology Trainee in a Master of Philosophy program and holds a Master’s in clinical psychology. She has a special interest in Personality studies and disorders, having researched the subject before, and Neuropsychology; with an additional interest being Mood disorders. She likes to write about Psychiatric issues, having worked in multiple specialty setups during her time as a clinical psychology student, and in her free time she likes to cook and read.

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