“The greatest gift one lover has to give another, is emotionally attuned attention and timely responsiveness.”

Dr. Sue Johnson

secure bond


A secure bond is NOT just feeling familiar with someone and knowing that you can turn to them when you are troubled and need support. A secure bond is deeper than this. 

All the research says that this bond is a vital safety cue for your nervous system – one that colors the world as manageable – and basically safe enough to explore and enjoy.

A secure bond is where someone is predictably accessible to us – emotionally and physically for affection, touch and, in romantic relationships, erotic play. We can, most of the time, call and have them turn towards us and give us attention, their presence.

Such a bond is also where we trust that a person will respond to us emotionally, feel for and with us. This does not mean that they will always be able to protect us or solve our problems. It means that we will not face these problems alone.

This bond does not only mean Accessibility and warm Responsiveness, it also implies a certain kind of engagement –  – So the acronym for this kind of bond is A.R. E. – as in  “Are you there for me?”.  This engagement is about feeling that someone give us their full presence and attention, even if this is only for short periods. We then feel that we matter to this person.

We know, even when we are not WITH the person we love that we exist in their mind – we matter to them. This gives us strength – a sense that we can tolerate being vulnerable and deal with challenges. Barry tells Jen, his lady, “ Seems like we have found a way through all the differences – and now, even when we are apart, I know that you are mine – that we have this link, this connection. It’s even better than when we were first together – first caught in all the first heat of loving.”

I think of these bonds as the “true” love that poets and romance novels are trying to capture – they are only really captured in precious moments when two people are dancing together in a way that their connection is front and center and the rest of the world recedes. As Walt Whitman suggests in his poetry – moments where we can say – “We were together, I forget the rest.”

This “true” love can now found not just in poetry but in psychologists labs, in therapist’s offices, and so, as we understand it more – it will become easier and easier for all of us to find!

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This article was published on: 02/25/16 2:05 PM