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That basically sums up my relationships in my twenties. In retrospect, it was a time in my life when I was really struggling. When I was growing up, the messages giving to me by my mother and grandmothers were that if I wanted to be loved, I had to be loveable.
I realize now that I was really confused about what it meant to love and be loved. I had been confusing love and emotional attachment and I had no idea then what the difference was.
A common problem that occurs for singles is the experience of a relationship ending but the resulting feelings of emptiness and loss continuing for many months or longer. This problem can be true for the breakup of committed relationships as well. Getting a divorce does not necessarily erase your love for, or your attachment to, your ex. In my experience and opinion, what makes breaking up really difficult and painful to do is more than love; it is emotional attachment.
Emotional attachment can mean many things, ranging from emotional affection to physical affixation. Psychologists have whole theories around attachment and identify clinical disorders caused by it. We humans get attached. Sometimes we get attached to objects like cars, houses, money, books, clothes, etc. We get attached to routines e. Without going into highly debatable explanations and theories, I would say that love is a positive feeling toward something or somebody, and attachment is an emotional need for something or somebody.
Juxtaposing these two concepts can give us some valuable clues about creating successful relationships. Needs 1. Are normal, valid, important 2. Are present in everyone, including healthy, successful people 3. Necessary to survive and thrive 4. Best met by taking responsibility, initiative 5. Unmet needs stimulate action 6. Most effectively met by being assertive 7. Met needs in contentment 8.
Ability to get needs met tends to attract others. Neediness 1. Comes from desperation, helplessness 2. Driven by emotional deficits 3. Externalized problem and solution 4. Insatiable, always needing more 6. in repelling others. Quite a contrast! Needs are present in all of us, and are not a problem or of weakness. We need to sleep and eat, we need light to see, we need love and relationships. Our ability to identify our needs and get them met determines our level of happiness and success.
However, neediness tends to be a sieve that will be empty regardless of how much you put into it. In my work, Attached but have needs help women identify their relationship requirements, Functional and Emotional needs, and I coach them toward how to get those needs and relationship requirements met in their life and relationships.
For example, monogamy and having children might be a relationship requirement for some people. Needs are events that must happen for you to survive and thrive. Functional Needs are the events you need to happen for your life and relationship to function optimally, such as earning money to pay bills, helping with chores and child-rearing, etc. Emotional Needs are what you need to feel loved, such as your partner calling if they will be late, being greeted with a hug, etc.
Occasionally, a client will express an issue with identifying their needs or relationship Attached but have needs, interpreting doing so as a of weakness, pointing out the need for us to take responsibility for our needs and not rely on a partner to meet them.
If it really frustrates you and feels like a deal-breaker for you, you might have a need for your partner to be available to date and to be able to date out in the open. But having needs is not the same as being needy. Non-attachment emanates from a sense of wholeness and inner resourcefulness whereas attachment ultimately stems from a sense of lack.
There are complexities you may not have dealt with before in a dating situation. His. His ex. His marital status. And all the drama in between. I totally feel you. I promise. Ready to improve your relationship and overall happiness?
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Download my free Relationship Choice Assessment to help you get started. Dear Melissa, I Attached but have needs enjoyed reading this article. It was so insightful and so well written. Lots of food for thought. Could your sense of self-worth be tied up in outcomes over which you have no […]. I have this female friend of mine that broke up some 8 months ago with her bf, reason being her bf was not able to give her the time and attention she needed.
She herself admitted that she was rather needy as well. However, just 3 weeks ago, her ex came round again and started trying to chase her back. The way I see him chase her back is Attached but have needs making use of her neediness and fear of lack of love, whereby he makes her angry now and then, e. From reading your article, it seems like she has fallen into what you mention as emotional attachment instead of Love.
This happened despite me remembering her still being very frustrated and sighing constantly when she told me she got back together with the guy. She used to be a very independent and confident lady but now she is no longer so, pinning all her future on the bf. Personally I feel her relationship has become emotional attachment instead of love could i also call this a Toxic Relationship? It really worries and hurts me to see her like this. Hi Wilson, Thanks so much for your comment!
I feel your frustration. She could be in a toxic relationship, especially if she is losing her sense of self…. Choosing to leave the relationship is ultimately her choice. But there are some things that you can do to help shine a light on her situation:. Reflection She confides in you. Reflect it back to her and, as best you can, do it without judgment. Reflect it back with compassion and empathy.
When she complains of him ditching her at the last minute all the time, tell it right back to her in her own words. I know that must hurt. I can see why you would be disappointed. But her telling the story is different from her hearing it. And sometimes her hearing it over and over again can help her eventually see the madness of the situation. Heart-to-heart talk If you have the kind of relationship with her where she welcomes your unsolicited advice, having a heart to heart talk with her about your observations might help.
But you only get to do it once. The thing about giving unsolicited advice is that people often get defensive. Or maybe her emotional health will suffer so much that she will seek the help of a mental health professional and finally heal those childhood wounds. Thank you for the advice! It has been really helpful. Shall try to put them into play when possible. I broke up wt him. I ended the flare wen I fell in love with MR B he made realize how beautiful,desirable n talented i was.
He has broken up wit me more than I can count sometimes of being insecure since we were in different cities. Thanks so much for reaching out. I feel you. It sounds like Mr A might not yet be over his relationship. As far as being scared to be yourself with Mr B, I feel your concern. And sometimes our own baggage and insecurities can interfere with our being able to trust the affections that other people give us.
So I would encourage you to take a look at whether you own baggage might be getting in the way I linked to some resources that might be helpful to you. It can be scary to show up authentically and tell someone who we feel when we are unsure of our self. But showing up as who we are is the best way to attract someone who can love and adore us for who we are.
I have been with my boyfriend for 5 years. Is there a way to tell the difference? Can love grow from emotional attachment? Hi Den, Thanks for reaching out. Love and attachment are really rooted in different things. Attachment is rooted in fear. Love and attachment are not exclusive of each other.Attached but have needs
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How Attachment Styles Affect Adult Relationships