We’re diving deeper into emotional attachment with special guest, Taylor Zimmerman! Taylor’s blogged at Spiritual Friendship and spoken at Revoice. He’s a University of Chicago student currently pursuing his third (3rd!) master’s degree with interests in philosophy of religion, theology, and psychoanalysis — and how they all come together.
Taylor talks to us about attachment theory and the four attachment styles: secure, ambivalent-preoccupied, dismissing-avoidant, and fearful-avoidant. It’s the deepest we’ve ever doven on this topic, a fascinating psychological exploration into why we attach to other men the ways we do as gay/SSA (same-sex attracted) men, sharing our relational stories along the way. We also close the episode talking about arousal we may experience when attaching to those we love and what it means for the friendship.
Additionally, Tom, Ryan, and Jacob catch up on the last month! Ryan rode a train to Connecticut, Jacob rode a boat in Alaska, and Tom continued living out of his car while shedding pink calamine scales. We also share our “triumphant tidbits” involving vacation styles (chill or action-packed?) and the last times we felt mighty.
Finally, Jacob gets a special surprise in the form of a knock at his door that you won’t want to miss.
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Enjoy our ATTACHMENT STYLES episode! And don’t forget to comment below: What is your primary attachment style? Does it vary depending on the person or type of person (male, female, straight, gay, etc.?) to whom you’re attaching?
LINKS FROM THE SHOW
- Our “Emotional Attachment” podcast
- Taylor Zimmerman’s “Gay Men and Falling in Love” blog series on Spiritual Friendship: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
- Taylor’s book recommendation: Attachments: Why You Love, Feel, and Act the Way You Do
- Tom’s posts
- Ryan’s posts
- Jacob’s posts
I must say, this was probably my favorite episode thus far! I love the dialogue between Ryan, Jacob, and Tom! Would love for this to continue! I had previously posted that I felt like I had an avoidant attachment (which I definitely do from time to time), but I have had plenty of experiences in my life (especially around other guys) where I’ve had the anxious attachment style. I really liked what Taylor had to say about friendships between two SSA guys. Unfortunately, to date every time I have started to develop “feelings” for another SSA guy, I tend to break off the friendship entirely for fear that I might not have the self-control to deny myself, should the other guy want to take things further. I identify as bisexual, and it’s difficult for many people to wrap their minds around someone having attraction to both genders, so I’m typically not forthcoming with this information and because of this I don’t often talk to these non-straight men I have developed “feelings” for. In some ways, I think that I’ve protected myself from crossing a line by ending these friendships, but in other ways, I think I’ve abandoned friendships that could have been very fruitful and holy.
Thanks for this wonderful, gem of a podcast!
Hey Landon – thanks for sharing. I understand the awkwardness of having friendships in which “feelings” develop and am prone to protecting myself. However, in recent years, I have been learning how to navigate such friendships. My one OSA (opposite sex attracted) friend periodically tells me — when discussing all-things-gay — “Ben, there is much potential for messiness, but also for good. Live honestly and wisely.” So, when these “feelings” happen, I immediately tell several friends and set some boundaries with the friendship until they pass. Sometimes they don’t, and that’s ok too. I simply have to have a more guarded friendship. I would gladly discuss this more if you would be interested.
Thanks for your reply! I would love to hear more of your story and success in navigating OSA friendships! I think what I struggle with most is vulnerability and rejection. Simply, “coming out” to some of my OSA friends in the past has completely ruined my friendship with them. Granted this was a quite a few years back (I think 2009), I feel like through YOB and other resources I have been able to articulate my struggles more openly!
Glad you enjoyed this one so much, Landon! It’s for sure one of my faves, too. So glad Taylor could join us and share some of what he’s learned along the way! Thanks for sharing some of your story with us. We have a few bi folks in our community, so you’re definitely not alone. Grateful to learn more of that perspective from you.
Really looking forward to October’s episode!
Also, it’s nice to know that I’m not alone as a bi guy!
Great podcast gents! I enjoy learning about the attachment types. I first remember being intrigued by them when I was listening to the audio book “The Social Animal”. I am better at managing my interactions with folks now. Still have a lot of growing to do though. Anyway, thanks for a thought-provoking and insightful podcast.
Thanks, Ben! I echo your testimony at getting better…with a lot of growing yet to do. At the very least, I’m way more self-aware of my approach to friendships, gay/straight and across the board. That’s been an invaluable gain of the last few years.
So I have a thought/question if anyone else knows or wants to discuss. Do you think children who grew up in a church, and were left in the daycare or nursery every week, have a different or impacted attachment style because of this? Of course it may differ it lets say its the same person in the nursery every week or if its a different person every week but I am curious if other people have thoughts on this.