Love and attachment usually come hand in hand, but there's a fine line that differentiates them. More often than not, we confuse one with the other and end up misunderstanding the entire relationship, which is never a good thing given the lives and emotions of those involved.
It is important to understand the distinction as it only helps in strengthening the relationship, be it love or attachment. The clarity is of utmost importance and there are 7 signs that you can look out for in order to know if you are attached (without love) or in love.
While both love and attachment may stem from the same need love is way more complicated than attachment. Attachment puts you in the comfort zone as both of you are focused on the same thing and do not look beyond the similarities and the peace that comes with it. Love, on the other hand, is more than that. In love, you are also interested in the bad and the ugly side of the other person.
You are not only looking for the things that brought you together but also the things that may cause you to argue, fight and differ. Love brings out a much larger range of emotions in a person (including hate and anger) than attachment and that is why love consumes a person completely.
People who are attached and not in love will miss the other person a lot as they grow comfortable in each other's company. This need for company emerges out of the comfort zone in which people find themselves in with each other. Attachment doesn't challenge a person, it comforts them.
Love works in a different way. In love, you are not just looking for company, but for the person completely. In love, you need to have the other person mind, body and soul and true love goes even further wherein distance stops mattering and the need for company is reduced by the thought that you both are in love with each other.
When someone finds themselves attached to someone else, but not in love, they feel the need to be closer, they feel that they are missing out on something and that the other person owes them their presence in some way. They complain if the other person doesn't do exactly what is expected out of them. It's more of 'me' than 'you'.
Love, however, is not based on receiving but giving. In love, you do not look for what you gain out of a relationship but what you can give to the other person. Love is generous, an attachment is selfish. In love, you would always find yourself wishing to give all you have to the other person while attachment works in exactly the opposite way. Attachment hopes to receive while in love, there's no extent to what you may be willing to give the other person.
If you find yourself stuck in a relationship and realize that you haven't grown as a person, chances are that you may be more attached than in love. Since the attachment is based on somewhat selfish needs, the impulse to help each other grow is generally not present. Both people find themselves in their comfort zone and it turns into stagnation from that point on.
Love, as we pointed out, challenges a person. When you find yourself challenging your partner and being challenged in turn, you can safely assume that both of you are moving towards growth (both as individuals and as a couple). Love will propel you to demand more and more from your partner because you know you are giving more and more every moment. Love will instinctively drive you towards mutual growth which might not be true for a loveless attachment.