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What Makes a Love Relationship Secure?

By Jim Hall MS, Love Addiction/Relationship Specialist


Securely attached relationship couple embracing on beach

You don't need a secure attachment style to experience a happy, fulfilling relationship -- Knowledge is Key. That's why in this article you will learn about S.E.C.U.R.E. -- which describes the six fundamental overlapping qualities that make up a healthy, secure based relationship.


The experience of a secure, healthy relationship is not a familiar one for love addicts and those with an insecure attachment style (anxious or avoidant).


Whether we realize it or not, most of us desire to have a securely attached relationship.

Secure relationships contribute to our well-being and healthier functioning.

There's a good chance you know when you're in a Secure Relationship. You don't feel embittered, worried, or consumed. Instead, you feel content, satisfied, and hopeful in such relationships.

In contrast, when you're in an Addictive or Insecurely Romantic Attachment, you feel overly dependent, obsessed, confused, and if you're avoidant, engulfed. And though you may feel an occasional "high," the anxious, disconnected, and unfulfilled feelings run chronic.


Why do some people fall for insecure, addictive type relationships instead of  secure, healthy ones?


For many its familiarity.  As a child, if we grow up with parents or primary caregivers where the example of a relationship was troubled or less than healthy/secure-- then, through no fault of our own, we will perceive this example as the norm, it becomes our relationship schema on how intimate connections are supposed to be (unhealthy/insecure). 

Consequently, we grow into adulthood mimicking what we learned, choosing romantic relationships and lovers that feel all too familiar- unhealthy, anxious, obsessive.

Here is the thing:

We can't change what we experienced in childhood.

We can, however, change our relationship schema-- how we view romantic relationships-- our perception of how relationships should actually look and feel like. You don't have to read tons of literature to make this change.

You don't even have to have a secure attachment style either. It's all about gaining a new understanding of what secure love is, then retaining it.

One helpful way to gain a new understanding of secure relationships to change old insecure schema is by utilizing the S.E.C.U.R.E. acronym.

As you will see below-- S.E.C.U.R.E. outlines six crucial overlapping qualities that make up a healthy, secure based relationship.

You can use S.E.C.U.R.E. to help you (or someone you know) keep a sense of what a healthy, secure relationship looks or feels like (it's meaning/concept). Keep mindful of S.E.C.U.R.E. to help you strive for these essential qualities in your relationships. You can also use this to help you clarify whether a current relationship is secure or insecure. If S.E.C.U.R.E. doesn't much represent your relationship, then it's likely an insecure or addictive relationship.



6 Indispensable Qualities That Make Up A Healthy-Secure Based Relationship 



You consistently feel safe and protected being together. You trust each other and see each other as reliable. You feel secure in disclosing vulnerabilities or sharing inner heartfelt thoughts or feelings. You each treat one another, not like an enemy, but the one who matters most. If you feel anxious or unsure, you can turn to your partner to lean on. Physical or emotional abuse is non-existent. You know where you stand together. Even when you're apart, you feel confident in your connection together. You sense things will work out during conflicts, and you never worry much about losing your partner.


Romantic partners in a secure relationship hold each other in high regard. You know your partner wants you, and you want your partner. You feel appreciative and grateful to share and experience your lives together. You like and love each other on the inside as much as the outside. You cherish each other's unique qualities and characteristics. You genuinely care about each other's joys, fears, and hurts. You value one another despite having imperfections. You don't view each other as being superior or inferior, but as equally valuable and deserving of love.


Mutual commitment is foundational to a secure relationship. Making a genuine commitment with each other, you choose to love and prize the special bond you have. You see each other as having the capacity of sticking around for the long haul. You choose to honorably value each other's needs, wants, and wishes. You don't downplay or minimize each other's words or promises-- you take them seriously and are accountable to them. Love never has to be "earned"- but freely given and received through mutual devotion. Dedication never ceases nor flounders when flaws are exposed-- but continues to grow and mature. Through ups and downs, good and bad times-- the commitment to one another endures.


You and your partner have understood "what you see is what you get"-- thus you've never fallen in love with an imaginary version of each other, but for the person, you've come to know and one you see today. When you might fail to understand one another, you seek to understand each other's points of view  - which breeds intimacy and connection. You wholeheartedly support most of each other's hopes and desires. You know the importance of allowing for each other's autonomy and independence, with a healthy balance of dependency. In your relationship, you each connect at a deeper emotional level with empathic understanding. 


Secure, loving relationships and mutual respect go hand in hand. You each share a deep respect for one another, including each other's commonalities and differences. You see each other as the best of friends. You are supportive and caring for each other's endeavors, allowing their freedom to make choices without controlling or undermining his/her confidence. Respect says, "I see you, hear you, your reality is important, and you matter as equally as myself." Unconditional acceptance reveals this deep respect you have for one another - This does not mean you should tolerate unhealthy behaviors (e.g., addiction problems, controlling behaviors, abuse)-- a sign of self-respect.

Effective Communication:

Effective communication is a must to
sustain intimacy and closeness in a relationship. You and your partner communicate transparently and actively. You're mentally "checked in," not shut out or turned away. You are honest when sharing thoughts and feelings. You express needs, wants, and expectations directly and congruently. You always take the well-being of each other into account. When conflicts arise, you focus on a resolution by talking/listening, and compromise-- doing so in a caring and nonaccusatory manner. Shared communication is never from a 'one-up' or 'one-down' position -- but encompasses the first five SECURE qualities, above.


If You Want To Feel Secure In A Relationship Then You Must Be In A Secure Relationship!


No relationship is perfect, but if you have a relationship where the S.E.C.U.R.E. qualities are present MOST of the time- it's a safe bet you are in a pretty darn good relationship.


Finding a romantic partnership and developing a long-term relationship with a person is a fundamental process that most of us strive to achieve. The success or failure of this venture can have significant consequences for our happiness, health, and well-being.

If your desire is to have a happy, fulfilling romantic relationship that will enhance your life and ability to thrive-- be mindful  S.E.C.U.R.E--  Strive for it, Expect it.

One last thing:

Don't buy into any false notion that given a shaky relationship history you can't have a healthy, secure relationship. Even if all of your past relationships were troubled, addictive, or insecure, it doesn't mean you have to repeat this history. You CAN change past relationship patterns when you intentionally and choose to do so.  

Strive for S.E.C.U.R.E. Relationships


About the Author: Jim Hall MS is a Love addiction Specialist and Relationship Coach who helps love addicts get over insecure attachment patterns, and develop the skills and self-assurance to acquire healthy, fulfilling love in their lives. Jim is also the author of three books and workbooks.