The Important Differences Between Love and Attachment

I’ve been in love once in my life. But I’ve been in “like” and “infatuation” more than a few times. Sometimes when you’re in “serious like” with someone, lines become blurry and you may actually think you’ve fallen in love. But I’ve realized that there’s a difference between love and attachment. You can feel attached to someone, to care about them and want to spend time with them, without loving them. You can miss them when they’re gone and not be in love. This is all very possible. In fact, it’s common and it’s why it the line between love and attachment is so fine. Because sometimes feelings of attachment disguise themselves as feelings of love. That’s when things get messy. It feels like love, but it’s simply caring about someone and/or perhaps valuing the time you’ve spent together. Add in a physical element to the relationship and this line becomes even harder to distinguish.

Mistaking attachment for love is easy to do, especially if you haven’t yet experienced real love. I’ve definitely had this happen in the past. Caring for someone and wanting the best for them can seem like love. Wanting to spend time with them and thinking about that person sometimes feels like love. But it’s important to keep in mind that love has all the components of attachment and then some. Love passed attachment four exits ago. It’s levels deeper than attachment. It’s connecting with someone and understanding that person in ways that no one else can. Love is steadier than attachment and it’s more intense.

Another feeling to further complicate this love/attachment dilemma is nostalgia. Sometimes you feel nostalgic about the time you spent with someone and you mistake it for love. You’re feeling sentimental about your relationship with an ex and you think it means you want to get back together. In reality, it means you’re just feeling emotional about important times from the past. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should keep creating these times in the future.

When you’re evaluating current relationships or thinking about pursuing future ones, it’s necessary to stop and consider what’s really going on. Are you in love with that person or are you experiencing attachment? Is it possible that you’re feeling nostalgia for past memories? There’s no shame in any of these things, but it’s important to make a distinction between them.

Have you had an issue telling the difference between love, attachment, and nostalgia? How do you handle it? Tweet me @lifewithlauren1 or find me blogging over at Life with Lauren.

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About the Author,

Proud Syracuse University alum. I work in radio by day, but at night I run my blog "Life with Lauren"( I'm also a freelance writer and contribute to other terrific blogs (such as the one you're reading right now). I've been dating a great guy for three years. Our relationship started right as I was leaving to study abroad in London for a semester, so I write a lot about long-distance relationships. Find me on Twitter: @lifewithlauren1. Thanks for reading!