4. Need vs passion
Attachment is mostly superficial. We feel attached to certain individuals because they meet our psychological and emotional needs, not necessarily because we are emotionally connected to them. Attachment makes you feel excited and happy. You feel like you are on top of the world. Although most of us confuse this uncontrollable feeling with love, it is simply a toxic attachment. Such feelings of excitement arise because you feel your needs are met, you feel affirmed and validated, you get the support you need and you feel satisfied by the person you are attached to. However, as you do not feel connected from your heart, the positive feelings are soon replaced with worry, stress, anxiety, doubts and a lack of mental peace. According to a 1991 study, people with insecure or toxic attachment styles often fail to recognize their “desire for a warm and secure love.” They also tend to experience less intimacy & commitment and are unable to identify their partner’s need for love.
Love, on other hand, feels calm and tranquil as both of you feel deeply passionate about each other. It comes from a place of appreciation and respect for the other person as you feel there is a soul connection. You want to be with your partner because you understand them as they understand you. There is a sense of belongingness here. You feel curious about knowing their innermost thoughts and feelings, their preferences and dislikes, their dreams and goals. You want to understand them at their deepest level as you want to create an enduring connection and build a healthy relationship. Love dives a lot deeper than attachment ever can. The 1991 study found that “secure people put more emphasis on intimacy,” compatibility and self-partner love.
5. Fleeting vs lasting
In attachment, positive feelings like joy and pleasure eventually fade away as your needs for attention and validation are met. As your partner plays their role in boosting your self-esteem, sense of self-worth and confidence, you feel increasingly detached from them. As the toxic relationship falls apart, all the positive emotions you once felt are overtaken by negative emotions, like bitterness, betrayal, spite, jealousy and resentment. You feel that your partner was obligated to take care of you and meet your every need. When your needs are satisfied or left unmet, the attachment melts away. In essence, it is truly transient.
But when you share a genuine emotional connection and feel that they are your soulmate, then that emotion can last a lifetime. Although there are no guarantees that the relationship will last forever, the emotions you once felt for them will always be there even after you break up. You will share fond memories about them and will always want them to be happy even if they are not with you anymore. “If you were truly in love, however, that person will always have a place in your heart and you will continue to wish them well for the rest of their life,” explains author Thibaut Meurisse. Love lasts forever regardless of the obstacles and the duration of time. Hence, when couples in love can make their relationship or marriage work, then there is no greater joy than that. Studies have found that “Romantic love can establish long-term pair-bonds.”
Choose love over attachment
Attachment is a manifestation of your fears and insecurities. It makes you feel anxious and overwhelmed as you cling to your partner and do anything and everything to prevent them from leaving you. It is based on needs that can never be satisfied as you do not accept the reality of your relationship. Love acknowledges all its imperfections and allows you to be free, to show yourself as you are and appreciate your partner as they are. It is about being vulnerable with each other and opening yourself up to the other person even though you may be afraid of falling and hurting yourself. But there is faith as well. Faith that you are strong enough to let them go. Faith that your partner will be there when you need them. Love is not about your fears or weaknesses, it is about your strength. It comes from a place of compassion, empathy, understanding, confidence, forgiveness, self-worth and self-love.
Don’t let toxic attachments fool you. Look for the red flags, identify the signs, develop self-awareness and ask yourself – “Am I truly in love?”
Be honest with yourself and let your heart guide you towards a better, stronger and healthier relationship.