Love is an all-encompassing thing, but it can also be super-confusing. It’s very easy to confuse love for something else, thanks to the intense emotions that anything like this tends to create. Love and lust are very often confused but what about love vs attachment? Do you fully understand the differences?
Sometimes it’s easy to think that you’re in love with someone but in reality, you’ve developed an attachment to them, you’re infatuated, or you’re simply totally in lust.
While they’re all very different things, they can feel very similar. Love and lust can be very similar because of how overwhelming they can both feel.
By understanding whether you’re really in love or whether you’re simply attached, you can figure out the truth and ease your confusion.
What exactly is love, really?
Love is a strange thing. It makes us feel on top of the world one minute, then suddenly has us plummeting down to depths we never thought possible. The highs make you feel alive. The lows make you wonder why you even bother with love in the first place.
The bottom line is that we all want to be loved, but we all want to love in return. Loving someone is selfless. It’s a way to look after and care for someone without expecting anything back in return.
Of course, it’s nice to get something back in return, i.e. their love too, but that’s not always the case!
But, what exactly is love? It’s very hard to define it. For sure, it’s a very strong emotion that you feel towards someone and it helps you to maintain a firm bond.
When you love someone, you’re committed to ensuring their happiness but despite us knowing what it might feel like to be in love, nobody can actually define it in words. Other than feeling strong affection and passion for someone, can you describe what love actually is?
It’s one of those ‘once you feel it, you’ll know’ situations, but what about confusing it for other things?
Can you confuse love for something else?
Love can be confused with many things, and lust is probably the most common. Infatuation is another.
While love is supposed to be passionate and all-consuming, it’s not supposed to take away a part of who you are. Nor should it make you feel like you can’t breathe. Love is a gentle, yet powerful, phenomenon. In order to ensure that it is love you’re feeling, think very carefully about the relationship you’re in.
With that in mind, we’re going to pit love vs attachment against each other.
Aside from lust and infatuation, two of the most breath-taking and extreme feelings, attachment is something that is often confused for love.
Attachment can form part of a loving relationship, but it will only allow the relationship to thrive if the attachment is healthy. When attachment becomes too extreme, it can suck the life out of your partner and turn you into a nervous wreck.
If you’re recognizing that explanation in your current relationship, perhaps it’s time to sit down and have a hard look at the union you’re in.
So, what is attachment?
Attachment can be healthy, but it can also be extremely unhealthy. It really depends upon how attached you become and in what context.
When you’re attached to someone, you have a strong bond, but is that bond one-sided? And, are you able to function without the other person? You can love someone and be attached to them, which is something we’re going to explore shortly, but if you’re so attached that you can’t separate your own identity, it’s time to take a step back.
Love shouldn’t turn you into someone else completely and it should never rob you of your independence. If anything, love should enhance who you are and how you feel within yourself.
So, while attachment is normal to a degree, you should always question how attached you actually are. Of course, it can also be that you’re simply attached to someone out of habit and you don’t love them, or you’ve fallen out of love.
We tend to stick with situations that feel comfortable to us sometimes because we’re scared of how we might feel if we leave.
For far too many people, attachment ends up replacing love once they realize that this isn’t the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with. But, they don’t leave. Instead, they waste their lives with someone who doesn’t fulfill their needs.
Love vs attachment, what do they feel like?
To figure out whether you truly love someone or are simply attached, we need to pit them against each other. How do they feel, and what situations you might feel them in.
Attachment can be obsessive. It can be an unhealthy connection to someone which means you don’t want them to leave your sight. When they’re away, you might feel worried, on edge, and have a tendency to check in with them far too often.
On the other hand, attachment can occur when a relationship is simply ticking along. The passion has gone and you’re sticking around out of habit.
Both situations can be due to attachment. Neither is a true form of love.
Let’s be honest, attachment is selfish, but love is selfless. From that description, you might wonder how the two can coexist. Well, they can, but not very well. Let’s look at both situations again and work out what the differences are.
When attachment can turn love toxic
If you’re overly attached, e.g. you don’t like your partner going out without you, nervous when they’re away from you, and you don’t like them being spontaneous with their friends – that’s not love, that’s control. You might love them deep down, but your love has taken a turn for the dark. You’re in danger of suffocating the life out of them.
Your attachment in this case isn’t pure. A loving relationship allows your partner space, just like you have space in return. You allow each other time with your friends separately. In fact, you encourage it.
You both know that spending time apart and enjoying your own personal interests gives you something to talk about. It allows you to enjoy your special time together. It’s a healthy balance within a relationship, ensuring that the scales don’t tip too far in one direction.
When a relationship consists of one partner who doesn’t want to be apart from their lover and the other one trying to go about their business and see their friends, there are going to be screaming rows, emotional ups and downs, and the whole thing is doomed for failure.
The attachment has become too much, and it’s probably down to a total lack of trust and faith in the relationship.
Can you turn this situation around?
If this sounds like your predicament, consciously pull back a little. Right the scales of love vs attachment, and work on trusting your partner. Understand that time apart is healthy and necessary.
Of course, if you’re coming to the end of a relationship you might be feeling attachment that stops you from leaving. You know it’s for the best, but you don’t want to forget their face, you don’t want to live with the memories. You can’t bear to not have them in your life in some way. Again, this is selfish.
You’re stopping your partner from being with someone who appreciates everything about them and isn’t secretly plotting to leave them on the side. You also deserve a relationship with someone who you’re not staying with simply out of habit and attachment.
The bottom line is that you need to ask yourself if you’re still in love. And, if you know you are, ask yourself whether you’ve blurred the lines between love and attachment and whether you need to pull back a little.
We all deserve love
Real love has a certain amount of attachment connected to it. If you weren’t attached to your partner, then there would be no reason to be together! The difference between a loving, healthy amount of attachment and a type of attachment that doesn’t serve a purpose is understanding you are two separate people in your own rights.
This type of attachment is natural and doesn’t require any work. You are magnetically drawn to each other because of the love you feel for one another. You want to see each other and spend time together, but it doesn’t drive you to extremes or cause negative feelings.
For instance, whenever your partner is away, of course, you miss them, but you don’t send them messages every ten minutes, sit and let your life get away from you, or refuse to eat. You are not pining for them. You are simply missing them. That’s a healthy amount of attachment. The type of balance between love vs attachment you need to aim for.
How to judge an unhealthy attachment
On the other hand, if you can’t eat, sleep, constantly wondering where they are and what they’re up to, focus on yourself. Take the spotlight from your relationship. Ask yourself why you feel this way, and why you have so little trust in your partner.
Have they cheated on you before? Are you acting out of previous experiences in past relationships? Do you have a generally negative mindset? These are all things you can work on. It will help to right the balance between love vs attachment.
The scales should sit somewhere in the middle. The weight should be even, so neither side is higher or lower than the other. You should be attached to each other because you are in love, not because you want to control or escape the relationship.
A healthy amount of attachment is a good thing, anything other than that is negative and toxic.
But, if you feel like you’re attached but the love has gone, ask yourself whether this is a relationship you want to continue. It’s never easy to make changes in life, but sometimes it’s necessary.