Why Attachment Holds Us Back in Romantic Relationships

Have you ever met someone for the first time and felt like you’ve known them your whole life?

A good number of us have probably experienced this uncanny ability to connect with people based on initial interactions alone, and I can certainly relate. I know what it’s like to have a guy send me a DM on Instagram (unsolicited at that), and strike up unwanted conversation that turns into hour long bonding, where you find out you can talk about music, politics and pop culture all in the same day. It’s a great feeling to know someone shares the similar interests and perspectives as you, and can initiate meaningful dialogue. It’s a rare treasure really, especially in today’s society where outside influence is abound and original thought is scarce.

When you connect with someone naturally, it’s very easy to become attached and want to mold them into your life, fixate them in your future plans and label your bond. It’s tempting because your spirit feels in alignment with that person, as if God or the Universe placed them in your path as your soulmate. But this expectation can be the biggest thing that holds us back from fully understanding the purpose and enjoying someone’s presence in our lives.

Our culture has become so grossly obsessed with the notion of “finding our one true love” and “settling down” and “meeting our person”, that we forget we have no control over another person’s role in our lives. None. Nada. So by allowing these wild fairytale fantasies to circle our minds, we lose sight of the lessons and gifts that individual could bring into our lives. There’s a saying I love that goes “We meet people for a specific reason. They’re either a blessing or a lesson”. I came across this quote after my first bad breakup in college. It helped me cope with the fact that I was no longer going to have that individual in my life in the capacity I had hoped. I wish back then I understood that there is so much more to relationships than just falling into the trap of romantic love. The strength of a friendship alone can last a lifetime, but I think people often forget that aspect. A lot of us tend to become wrapped up in being the architect of our romantic lives and in the process, impose our expectations and needs on the other person all in the name of “locking down” our soulmate. But to me, that’s selfish.

I think the healthy approach to interacting with someone you connect with on a spiritual, emotional or even sexual level is just to absorb the positive energy they bring into your life, develop a beautiful friendship (if you both agree to) and enjoy the experience. Because after all, our interactions with others are just that — experiences. We’re not meant to possess others or enforce our wishful desires on them. Instead, we should learn to appreciate people as they are in their present state, and love them enough to learn and grow with them.

Attachment issues can end up ruining good relationships because one person may not be on the same page as the other when it comes to the progression of the relationship. It’s important we remember that even when we know we’ve met our soulmate(s), (and yes I do believe we can have multiple soulmates), life happens and things change. What may have been true in the past could be different in the present, and we have to learn to adapt to the change. Otherwise, our attachment can get the best of us and ultimately leave us with unfulfilled expectations.

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