To love and to be loved is a wonderful feeling. Nothing seems more beautiful and euphoric than being loved by the person you love. Lucky and sensible are those who are aware and sure of their feelings. But there are people who might be confused between love and attachment. While these two terms seem quite familiar, they are different in actual meanings. Things can be complicated if you don’t know whether it is love or attachment.
Instead of growing anxious in your relationship, it is better to understand the difference between mutual love, and healthy and unhealthy attachments.
What is Love
There’s no fixed definition for love. It depends upon one’s perception, emotions, and experience of being in love with something or someone. It is multifaceted and complex and is often marked by attachment, pleasure, warmth, passion, infatuation, and deepest connection. At the same time, love is liberating and fulfilling.
What Is Attachment
Attachment is a feeling of comfort and the way you build an emotional connection or bond with someone. It is about clinging or holding on to someone or something. It can be healthy and unhealthy depending upon the earliest attachments or connections you had with people.
Attachment is controlling, codependent and placid.
Difference Between Love And Attachment
1. Love Is Eternal, Attachment Is Transient
When you love, you do it from all your heart and soul. You become sure of the person you love and the feeling keeps on growing over time. It survives the test of time and goes on until you break up permanently or temporarily. But even if you part your ways, the person still has a place in your heart. You may wish them happiness and good health forever.
But attachment is transient. The person you are attached to can be replaceable. If it was a mere attachment and not love, you may have bitterness in your heart after the breakup. You may not wish well for the person you thought you were in love with. In fact, it may make you feel betrayed.
2. Love Is Selfless, Attachment Is Selfish
Love makes you go out of the way to make your significant other happy and proud. You leave no stone unturned to be the best partner. There is no room for dominance, manipulation, blame game, or doubts. Instead of expecting too much, you tend to be more giving and nurturing. In order to be a caring, loving, and honest partner, you also work on yourself.
Attachment is completely different from love in this context. You are with that person, only because he/she makes you feel happy and better. Instead of caring about his/her happiness, you look for ways in which that person can make you happy. It is more about fulfilling your emotional and mental needs. You use the person to help you achieve self-esteem and self-validation.
3. Love Has Acceptance, Attachment Has Repudiation
If you have been in love with someone, you will understand how accepting love can be. Your partner accepts you for who you are. Your partner feels proud to have you in their life and loves your flaws. You often receive appreciation from your partner for everything that you do.
As mentioned above, attachment is selfish and it also contains repudiation. Since you care more about what you feel and want, you may criticize the person for not being good enough. You may point out their flaws and push them to change themselves. Not only this, you may often become angry or frustrated after seeing a person going through a bad phase. Because in that state, the person can’t fulfill your expectations.
4. Love Helps You Grow, Attachment Encumbering
When you are in love, you give your 100% to be the best version of yourself. You want to be the best for your partner and grow together. Love helps you to work on your dreams while extending support to your partner. You constantly try to achieve mutual goals and improve with every passing day.
An attachment could be encumbering as the other person may not care about what you think or feel. You may not focus on mutual growth. In fact, you may not resolve or address your individual issues and expect the person to do it for you.
You may need the person to achieve your goals and may not be present when he/she needs you.
5. Love Is Easy-Going, Attachment Is Complex
Love indeed is easy-going because when you love someone, you just want them to be happy. You always try to do things that would make your partner proud and ecstatic. You and your partner work on your relationship and achieve relationship goals. In love, you are pretty sure about your emotions and expectations.
Attachment is not easy-going. You may find yourself wondering, ‘whether it is love? Does he/she love me? Will it be an eternal love?’ The other person may seem on and off to you. They may want you to change yourself every now and then, depending upon their perception.
6. Love Is Liberating, Attachment Can Be Controlling
True love allows you to be your true self. It encourages you to accept your flaws and weaknesses. Your partner inspires you to be a better human and supports your dream. He/she won’t stop you from spending time with people who make you happy and lively.
Attachment, on the other hand, is not the same. If a person is merely attached to you, he/she would not withstand seeing you spending time with others. He/she may stop you from being with your friends. The person may not accept your flaws and would want you to change as per their wishes. Also, the person may want you to help him/her achieve his/her dreams but won’t do the same for you.
7. Love Empowers You, Attachment Makes You Weak
True love makes you feel, that you can do anything and achieve everything you have ever dreamt of. This is because you have your partner’s confidence and faith in you that pushes you ahead. With this, you feel rejuvenated each time you see yourself falling back.
Contrary to this, an attachment may make you powerless. It makes you feel that you can’t achieve anything without that person being around you. Instead of caring about whether the person believes you or not, you just want that person to be around. It could be because you can’t let that person go.
Love is a beautiful feeling and it fosters growth, self-development, kindness, and empathy. It leads to positive and productive changes in you and your significant other. You get exposed to your vulnerabilities, and weaknesses and build an emotional and spiritual connection.
Attachment, on the other hand, fosters relationships between ego and selfishness. Perhaps, therefore, people often go through several failed relationships with recurring problems. You may feel that you can survive without that person.
If you are confused about whether it is love or something else, it is advisable to figure out your feelings. If you are still finding love, how about working on yourself and being a better human? Why not try to be a person, you would want to spend the rest of your life with? After all, ‘Like attracts Like’.
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Prerna loves to write and shower love on animals. She enjoys reading and exploring places. Though sweet in her pictures, at times, she is difficult to understand. Being a strong believer in hard work and karma, she loves solitude and peace. Apart from this, she loves petrichor and harmony and wishes to achieve her one and only ataraxia for a lifetime.