To love or to be attached… that is the question


“I was afraid of falling in love and becoming attached”. This is a phrase I heard during a consultation a few weeks ago. And this sentence came up in my mind, in relation to a particular family situation.

I then asked myself the following question: what is the difference between loving and being attached to? Can there be love without attachment, and can there be attachment without love?

So everything I’m going to write now comes from my thoughts, and from my personal or professional experience. I absolutely do not want to pass this off as the truth – on the contrary, everything is stated implicitly with a question mark. Because everyone has their own definition of what love is, and attachment.

There are people who fall in love, but don’t want to be tied down. They twirl from one flower to another like a foraging bee. What is most important for them is to keep their freedom and independence, and also to satisfy their needs, their desires . But in fact, do they really love?

In fact, most of the time, if they don’t want to get attached, if they don’t want to be attached to this or that person, it’s mainly because they don’t want to be told or ‘they are encouraged to do something they don’t want to do. They do not want to be led to conform to a certain attitude, or expose themselves to a certain judgment, to certain criticisms, or to take certain positions for the other, which would put them at odds with themselves. same, or having to make compromises. They don’t want to be in a situation of waiting for each other’s approval. Which might sound legitimate. Except that, when there is a fear of becoming attached, there is more implied a kind of opposition, of resistance compared to all that I have just quoted, an “especially not that! », a rejection of the approval of the other,

There are other people on the contrary, who need to be linked, who need to be attached, to attach themselves… or to feel that one is attached to them. It reassures them, it secures them, it fills in their gaps, it perhaps also values ​​them somewhere… and all of this is more important to them than freedom.

In attachment, there is a notion of commitment, stability, responsibility, in relation to the relationship. But when we are attached, or we become attached to someone, there again, do we really love?

In both cases, the reaction is often influenced by previous events that made us suffer, mostly in our childhood, and mostly in our relationship with our parents, and our upbringing.

Thus, in our image of the ideal couple, which obviously comes to us from our upbringing, from the example given to us by our parents, and from previous generations, we have the impression that both must be included in the relationship.

The notions of attachment or love obviously do not only concern couple relationships. We can be interested, for example, in what happens in parent/child relationships, or between brothers and sisters.

If we take the example of a parent/child relationship, instinctively and naturally, attachment appears from birth, because there is a notion of responsibility towards the child. Love comes at the same time, or right after… usually…

And sometimes as you grow up, only attachment remains, one way or the other, and relationships get a little more complicated. It is not uncommon to see people cut ties with their parents, children, brothers and sisters… or keep them, despite everything, while hating them.

Because in fact, even when you are from the same family, you can obviously never force anyone to love anyone. The only thing on which we can possibly intervene is precisely the attachment. And when it’s the only thing left, it feels like obligation, not love.

I remember, for example, the relationship between my mom and my grandfather – a clearly toxic relationship. But despite everything, my mom never managed to detach herself from her father, from the grip of this relationship… and it destroyed her…

Attachment is moreover often the last thing we manage to break – whether it is in a friendly relationship that no longer suits us, in a love relationship that is over, whether it is the attachment that we may have by in relation to our past, in relation to a particular place that we must leave, etc.

Whenever there is an attachment, there is something that binds us, that commits us, that contains expectations. And when it concerns something that no longer exists, that no longer has any place to be, it becomes heavy, and deprives us of our freedom.

In attachment, there is the notion that “I have to do something for someone else’s well-being, for someone else’s interest”, and vice versa (I expect on the other that he does certain things for my well-being, or for my interest).

When there is only attachment, or only attachment remains, there is an important hold, which takes precedence over love. Essentially the grip of having to get approval from the other, or having to give it to them. It is this sensation that gives us the impression of being deprived of our freedom. We feel imprisoned. And again, it doesn’t matter what relationship it is – it’s going to be, more and more, about making concessions, meeting each other’s needs , conforming to the opinion of the other. And little by little, we take the risk of dying out… and of giving up on ourselves… because then, we find ourselves in a relationship of dependence.

So yes, attachment isn’t healthy in some cases – especially when it’s all alone, without love… and so it can be scary .

To love is in fact to include the other person inside oneself, it is to be in unity with this other person. This naturally leads to committing oneself to her, to wanting her well-being, to paying attention to her, and to giving to her (as if we were giving to ourselves, since being a part of self). There is then no longer any need for the notion of attachment, which is included in love… This notion of attachment only appears in fact when there is no love, or no longer.

When one manages to distinguish between these two notions in a relationship, things instantly become clearer, and only then can one be able to re-evaluate the relationship, and intervene objectively, on it, or on one of the protagonists…

In attachment, there is the image of two people being bound together, and therefore by implication, there is separation. In love, there is union, the two people becoming one.