Feeling happy and secure in our relationships is a goal many people strive for, but in times of need the emotionally insecure partners may be doing us a favor by being more alert to possible danger.
Evolution may have shaped us to consist of groups of emotionally secure and insecure individuals, researchers write in the March issue of the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science.
When faced with threats to close personal relationships, people react in different ways according to their sense of whether the world is a secure place. The same reaction styles also cause people to be more or less attuned to dangers of all kinds.
Evolution would have favored a mix of these so-called attachment styles if mixed groups were more likely to survive than groups of only secure or only insecure individuals.
“Secure people have disadvantages,” experimental psychologist Tsachi Ein-Dor of the New School of Psychology in Herzliya, Israel, told LiveScience. “They react slowly and then act slowly because they need to first get organized.”
This notion would explain why almost half of all people in the world have insecure attachment styles, he said, despite the fact that people prefer secure types as romantic partners.