There is a link between attachment styles and why some people stay and others leave following a discovery of a romantic partner’s deception according to a study by interpersonal communication scholar Steven McCornack.
The study looked at the importance of the lie, emotional intensity following discovery of the lie, communication patterns following the discovery of the lie, and relationship termination (in layman speak, break-ups).
Analyses of the 213 participants who reported being deceived by a romantic partner revealed that:
- People with a secure attachment style were more likely to report talking about the issue.
- People with an anxious/ambivalent attachment style were more likely to report talking around and avoiding the issue.
- Both secure and anxious/ambivalent attachment styles reported being able continue their relationships.
- Respondents with an avoidant attachment style reported being more likely to avoid the person after discovery of the lie, and they tended to report terminating their romantic relationships more than the other two attachment style groups.
The results were consistent with the theory that our attachment style plays a very significant role in how we communicate following the discovery of a partner’s lies or deception, or even if we talk about it at all.
The termination of the relationship however is directly related to importance of the information (what the lie is about) and whether or not your ex avoids you.