Difference between Love and Attachment

By: | Updated: Feb-8, 2018
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Relationships are very confusing. One reason is that, for one, there are two people involved. A second reason is that it is sometimes difficult for a person to know their own feelings, let alone the feelings of others. So, how do you tell whether you are in a loving relationship or your significant other has just formed an attachment to you?

Summary table

Love Attachment
Makes one feel needed, appreciated and supported Makes the partner support, appreciate and take care of one’s needs
Is selfless Is selfish
Makes people supportive and attentive to the others needs Makes people clingy and needy
Lasts over time Needs constant reassuring


loving couple

Love is a feeling that brings people together. It is an emotion expected to make one feel happy, fulfilled, supported, and appreciated. Movies and books have all tried to define love in its many forms and people are still looking for the right definition of it. In the end, it seems love is different to everyone.

people bound together

Attachment is an emotion that ties a person to another in a codependent relationship. Having an attachment means wanting to be with another person and feeling out of sorts when you are away or out of touch. It can sometimes be translated as being needy, clingy, selfish and self-centered.

Love vs Attachment

There is a clear difference between love and attachment, but only when you look at them from the outside. When you are in a relationship, you might not be so aware of the differences. Here are some ideas.

How it makes you feel

Ideally, love encourages the individual and boosts self-confidence since being in a loving relationship means being supported and appreciated for who you are. Attachment, on the other hand, means that you need someone to make you feel special, needed and supported. Sometimes, the partner may be overwhelmed by a constant need for attention.

How you relate to your partner

Love is selfless and it makes one want to help the partner and make him feel great. Attachment, on the other hand, means wanting your partner to do this for you, make you happy, support your interests and cater to your needs.

When it comes to possessiveness, attachment ticks the box. People who are only attached are clingy and need to see, talk to and touch the partner constantly. With real love, there is a security that cancels this need.

The test of time

Love should last forever and not fade when the two people are not in constant contact with each other. Attachment is not as strong and it needs constant reassuring.

The one-sided situation

There is such a thing as unrequited love, which is painful. But true love can even be true at a distance. Unrequited attachment, on the other hand, does not exist. This type of emotional manifestation is only possible in a two-sided relationship.

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