Chuck Ford tells his wife often how much he loves her. He likes to hold hands when they walk, cuddle when they watch TV and hug -- a lot.
His wife has learned to like it. 'I don't like to sit on the couch and cuddle for two hours,' says Judy Ford, a 66-year-old retired high-school counselor from Carmel, Ind.
Of all the ways that opposites attract, the thorniest may be when emotionally giving types pair up with types who are emotionally reserved.
Givers love to show affection: Hugs, kisses, flowers, skywriting -- there's no such thing as too much. They crave receiving displays of love, as well. Reserved types certainly may love deeply, but they are uncomfortable showing it. Often, they rely on their partner to initiate a display of affection. Sometimes, they don't even enjoy receiving expressions of love.
Initially, emotionally giving types are attracted to emotionally reserved types, and vice versa, because they are so different, experts say. Giving people often find reserved people intriguing; they like to elicit affection from someone who doesn't express it easily. And deep down, reserved types often like to be drawn out.
Over time, though, the two types can bring out the worst in each other. The giver starts to seem needy. The reserved partner reacts by pulling away. This makes the giver give even more in order to elicit attention; the reserved one backs away even further.
Early in their 20-year marriage, Mr. Ford, a 61-year-old retired social-studies teacher, began to feel his wife didn't fully reciprocate his affection. She rarely initiated hugs and kisses. And while she let him hold her hand sometimes, Mr. Ford says he could tell she didn't really enjoy it. He began to pull away. 'I didn't want to waste my time,' he recalls. 'If the marriage isn't working so well, I can go fish or hunt or work on my studies or business relationships.' He worried the relationship wouldn't last.
Then Ms. Ford asked her husband what was wrong. He told her, 'I need more physical closeness, and not necessarily sex.' She reminded him that she had been raised in a German-American household that wasn't 'huggy-kissy.' She told him she prefers to show love through actions -- making a nice home, planning vacations, setting up get-togethers with his family. 'I was raised in a very bonded family that showed their love by spending time together,' she says.
In the psychology field, these different ways of relating are called 'attachment style,' and they are partly learned and partly genetic. Attachment is believed to be a basic human need with an evolutionary basis. Many children, such as orphans, who aren't held or given physical affection fail to grow at normal rates.
纽约哥伦比亚大学(Columbia University)的精神病学家兼神经科学家阿米尔•莱文(Amir Levine) 是《依附：有关成人依附的新科学以及它如何帮助你找到并维系真爱》(Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find- and Keep-Love)一书的作者之一，他认为依附类型有三种：安全型(Secure)、焦虑型(Anxious)和逃避型(Avoidant)。他说，安全型的人在总人口中所占比例超过半数，他们往往较为热情、体贴，亲密关系会让他们感觉很舒适。
Amir Levine, a psychiatrist and neuroscientist at Columbia University in New York, identifies three types of attachment styles: Secure, Anxious and Avoidant. Secure people make up more than half the population and are typically warm, caring and comfortable with intimacy, he says.
Those with an Anxious attachment style, about 20% of the population, often worry about their relationship and whether their partner loves them, says Dr. Levine, co-author of the book 'Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find -- and Keep -- Love.' They typically are emotionally giving. Those with an Avoidant attachment style, about 25% of the population, tend to think intimacy leads to loss of autonomy and try to minimize closeness, he says.
20世纪60年代中期，约翰霍普金斯大学(Johns Hopkins University)的心理学家玛丽•安斯沃思(Mary Ainsworth)设计了一个名为“陌生情境”(the Strange Situation)的实验：一个婴孩在房间里和她母亲一起玩。随后母亲离开了房间，一个陌生人留在房间里。然后母亲又回到房间里。弗吉尼亚州夏洛茨维尔(Charlottesville)的玛丽•D•安斯沃思儿童-父母依附行为诊疗中心(Mary D. Ainsworth Child-Parent Attachment Clinic)的负责人罗伯特•S•马文(Robert S. Marvin)说，大多数孩子在母亲离开房间会情绪低落。
In the mid-1960s, a Johns Hopkins University psychologist, Mary Ainsworth, developed an experiment known as 'the Strange Situation': A young child plays with her mother in a room. Her mother leaves, and a stranger remains. Then the mother returns. Most children were distressed when their mothers left the room, says Robert S. Marvin, director of the Mary D. Ainsworth Child-Parent Attachment Clinic, in Charlottesville, Va.
Dr. Ainsworth examined what took place during the mother-child reunion. Some children rushed to their mothers and were easily consoled; Dr. Ainsworth concluded they secure. Other children were unable to be consoled by their mothers; these she called 'anxious-resistant.' Some didn't rush to their mothers, or they started to approach but then turned away; these she called 'anxious-avoidant.'
另一项名为“无表情面孔”(the Still Face)的实验是由现为麻省大学波士顿分校(University of Massachusetts Boston)发展心理学家的爱德华•特罗尼克(Edward Tronick)设计的。这项实验显示，一个孩子在婴幼儿时期就能感知母亲感情的冷淡了。特罗尼克博士用视频记录了一位母亲与大约一岁的婴儿充满爱意的互动。随后，这位母亲板起脸来。婴儿注意到了母亲表情的变化，一开始试图用微笑重新建立与母亲的互动，然后她开始把手指向母亲、尖叫，最后哭了起来。
Another experiment, 'the Still Face,' conducted by Edward Tronick, now a developmental psychologist at the University of Massachusetts Boston, demonstrates that a child can experience a mother's emotional withdrawal at an early age. Dr. Tronick videotaped a mother engaging lovingly with her approximately 1-year-old baby. Then the mother makes her face immobile. The baby notices and tries to re-engage with her by smiling, then by pointing, then shrieking and finally crying.
The good news, Dr. Levine says, is that attachment style can change. Experts say couples need to tell each other what they need and be specific. For example, they can say, 'I know it's difficult for you to be affectionate in front of my friends, but at home I really need a hug every day.'
示爱不必锱铢必较，只要双方都有所表示就可以了。纽约州芒特基斯科(Mount Kisco)的婚姻和家庭治疗师沙伦•吉尔克里斯特•奥尼尔(Sharon Gilchrest O'Neill )说，“伴侣双方都应向与他们心理舒适区相反的方向迈出一小步。”她说自己比丈夫情感内敛，而丈夫让她在自己回家时吻他一下。
Displays of love don't have to be 50-50, as long as both people show something. 'Each partner will need to make some slight movements in the opposite direction from which they are comfortable,' says Sharon Gilchrest O'Neill, a Mount Kisco, N.Y., marriage and family therapist. She says she is more emotionally reserved than her husband, and he asked her to give him a kiss when he comes home.
The Fords worked on their differences, and now Ms. Ford gives her husband hugs when he comes home and before bed. She has become more comfortable holding hands and often initiates it. Mr. Ford has altered his expectations and doesn't take his wife's lack of verbal or physical expression personally. He also pays attention to the other ways she tells him she loves him: planning special weekends together, washing his hunting clothes, preparing and freezing meals before he goes camping. 'We've moved to a mutual center,' Mr. Ford says. 'It comes from communication.'