Last Updated on November 9, 2022 by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt
Emotional attachment is a feeling of closeness or affection that helps sustain meaningful relationships. Human connection is based on attachment. Your earliest relationships with your parents and other family members will influence the bonds you make later with friends and romantic partners. Even if you don’t have a romantic or sexual attraction, it is possible to become emotionally attached with people. Feeling close to someone can make you feel closer and increase your sense of connection. That’s when you know you are emotionally attached!
This attachment can help you feel secure, comfortable, happy, and maybe even euphoric when they are around. A healthy level of attachment in relationships is normal and healthy. How can you tell when you are too attached? What can you do if this happens? Are you able to form attachments to people or places?
Is It The Same Thing As Love?
Healthy attachment is essential for lasting love. But attachment and love don’t always go hand in hand. These relationships will thrive if you have an emotional attachment to your romantic partners or friends. If you don’t feel attached, you may feel driven to find a new partner after the first feelings of love subside, or a new best buddy after a disagreement.
Oxytocin is a hormone that encourages trust and bonding. It can help you develop long-term affection and love. It helps you move past the initial stages of attraction and lust, and into the realm of relationship.
In the initial stages of romance, other hormones are involved, which contribute to the feelings of euphoria and tension that people feel when they fall in love. These emotions are often dulled over time but attachment lasts. It makes you feel secure and secure, and promotes feelings of love and lasting relationships.
The Driving Factors
The factors that make attachment and love different are key to their success. You don’t love someone based on what they can do or give you. They are who they are, and you love them regardless of what they can do or provide.
Romantic relationships can fulfill some of your most important needs. But, relationships built on love are based on mutual support and sharing. It is not enough to love someone just because they fulfill your needs.
In contrast, attachment can be formed when you are not satisfied with your needs for companionship, validation or intimacy. If you find someone who can fulfill those needs, it is possible to form a strong attachment.
Everyone has needs and everyone wants those needs to be met. It’s okay to look for a partner that fulfills your most important needs. It’s also important to be able to fulfill these needs on your own. Dependence on others to complete you can cause problems for both of you.
When Does Emotionally Attached Relationship Become Unhealthy?
Sometimes emotional attachment can become too intense and cause dependency. Emotional dependency can have a negative impact on your relationship and your well being. These signs would indicate a potentially unhealthy attachment level.
Relying on their Approval
You might find it difficult to self-validate and feel confident. Instead, you may define your worth according to how others view you. Your partner’s perception of you can make your self-worth a very unhealthy attachment.
You might feel completely different when you experience conflict or disagree with someone. They might think they don’t care about you or that you are a burden. You might feel empty, depressed, anxious or lonely as a result. Your self-esteem may also drop.
These feelings may persist until they do something to show they care, such as giving you a gift, physical affection, or complimenting your work. This can lead to a dangerous dynamic, as people with abusive or toxic traits might manipulate your feelings and needs in order to control you and make you dependent.
Losing Sense of Yourself
If you feel you are dependent on someone, you may find yourself willing to do whatever it takes for their love and support over the long-term. You might notice a gradual shift in your interests and habits that will allow you to align your behavior with your partner.
You might be pushed by your partner to do this in an abusive or toxic relationship, but it is important to recognize that unhealthy attachments can occur in any relationship. It is possible to find yourself trying to alter your identity in order to match that of your partner, even if you are not conscious.
However, the end result can often be similar. The result is often similar, however. You and your partner become more like a team and you lose sight of who you are. While it is important to share with friends and family, it is equally important to take some time to yourself and pursue your interests.
Not Knowing How to Function Without Them
You may find it difficult to meet your own needs if you depend on others. This is why attachments are often formed. You will seek out someone to provide security, love, and acceptance if you don’t feel safe, loved, accepted, and feel less alone.
Too much reliance on the support of others doesn’t teach one how to meet their needs. You might feel totally lost if the friendship or relationship doesn’t work out or if other commitments or relationships prevent you from meeting your needs temporarily. You might be asking yourself, “What would you do without them?”. There is fear of losing them, and they may start to act out in a way that is difficult for you.
Healthy relationships are interdependent and balanced. Interdependence is a compromise between dependence and independence. Interdependent partners are able to fulfill their emotional needs but also feel at ease turning to one another when they need support.
Partner who is fully independent may have difficulty reaching out to their dependent partner when they need assistance. However, a dependent partner might be able to ask for help rather than trying to manage things themselves.
An unhealthy attachment is one where one person looks to the other for emotional support. Usually, they don’t offer much in return. A partner who provides support but does not get what they need can feel depleted, resentful, or unsupported.
Emotionally Attached Relationships to Objects
Emotional attachments are often involving people but you can also be attached to possessions and places. Maybe you remember having a blanket or security toy as a child. These were comforting and soothing when you were feeling sad or lonely. Perhaps you have a favorite book, piece of clothing that you treasure and keep close to your heart.
People may also feel a strong connection to specific places such as their homes or land. It is normal to feel attached and proud of special possessions or places that hold meaning. People treasure things such as wedding rings, photo albums and family heirlooms because they are tangible reminders of important moments.
It’s not unusual to feel attached to other possessions such as clothes, furniture, phones or items that are related to hobbies. These things are important to you because they bring joy, make your life easier or help you achieve other goals. You might feel upset if they are lost or damaged. You’re likely to be fine as long as the attachment has no negative effect on your life or well-being.
When Should You Be Concerned about Emotional Attachment?
These signs will help you recognize when an object attachment is causing concern.
- Attachment to an object can replace healthy attachments to people.
- It’s as if you can’t live without it, to the point that you consider shelter, food and other necessities secondary.
- Anxiety and distress caused by the thought of losing an object can be extreme.
- You are unable to leave the object/place, even if it is a danger to you.
- Attachment to objects can make it difficult to meet your basic needs. You might spend so much on maintaining an object or place that it becomes impossible to pay for food or rent.
Research shows that object attachment may play a role in hoarding disorder. This is especially true for those who experience chronic loneliness. Hoarding is often characterized by attachments to many objects and not just one or two items.
Breaking Emotionally Attached Relationship to Someone
You can address your feelings of attachment to someone if you feel it is not healthy.
Consider the following reasons for attachments:
- Fear of being alone
- Insecurity and emptiness in relationships that are not with someone you love
- A vaguely defined sense of self
Once you understand these triggers, you can start looking for solutions.
- You can reconnect with your own identity by dedicating some time to self-discovery.
- Making time to do the things you love can make time more enjoyable than frightening.
- You can feel secure even if you don’t have a romantic partner by building and strengthening positive relationships with family and friends.
Attachment issues can often start in childhood. How you bond as an adult can be affected by your earliest relationships. Insecure attachments to caregivers may lead to patterns in your relationships that are difficult or impossible to break. These patterns are difficult to resolve on your own. However, a professional in mental health can offer support.
Therapy for Emotionally Attached Relationship
- Learn to understand your attachment style
- Learn how to have better relationships
- Develop a stronger sense for yourself
- Explore helpful strategies to meet your needs
- Learn how to emotionally detach from the relationship