“Love is not jealous, it does not brag, does not get puffed up, does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury. It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.”
(1 Corinthians 13:4-6)
Love is unconditional; whereas, attachment comes with many conditions. When you’re attached, you may require a person to remain accessible at all times, to meet your expectations, to provide you with physical pleasures, to tell you what you need to hear, “fix” their flaws, or to change their ways. When they oblige, you may feel that they are “showing their love.”
However, when that person is no longer meeting the conditions, you feel distraught or claim to be “falling out of love.” This isn’t really falling out of love, because love exists despite circumstances. Instead, this is the typical dissatisfaction that stems from unhealthy relationship attachment.
(This is not an issue that is limited to romantic relationships, as it often shows up in relations with family, friends, and others that are close to us.)
Attachment creates a sense of anxiety about what is to come—a fear that something is going wrong or will go wrong. Whereas the purity of love allows peace of mind with what is.
Here are a few examples in case you’re not sure how to identify attachment disguised as love:
The feeling that you can’t live without someone
Feelings of jealousy, anxiety, or worry regarding your partner
Inability to let go of a person without falling apart
Depending on a person to make you feel loved
The feeling that a person’s actions or words control your happiness
A need or desire to control
A need to keep your partner around so that you aren’t lonely
Inability to feel peace of mind when your partner doesn’t comply with your wishes
Desire to manipulate with phrases like, “If you loved me you would…”
Don’t be alarmed by the list above if you noticed that you have an attachment to someone. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you do not love them because it is possible for attachment to exist with someone that you love. What we need to do is to identify the two as separate emotions.
The problem with people these days is that we are so easily misconceived. We try too hard to get into a relationship, creating arbitrary standards or expectations of our potential partners. We ran around foolheartedly labeling various emotions as love so we can finally change our fb status from “single” to “in a relationship”.