Addiction to the other, the emotional attachment

Written by: Juan José Carral Hernández
Edited by: Top Doctors®

How many of us have known or know someone who has a tortuous couple relationship in which the best way to define that relationship is " neither with you nor without you "? perhaps even the reader of these lines know perfectly (because they have suffered or are suffering in their own flesh) that I am referring to.

"I can not handle him / her, he / she does not change, he / she does not take me into account at all, but I can not avoid that a call of his is all that he / she needs to leave everything and finish in his / her arms" is that love? At the social level, there is a tendency to confuse an irremediable sense of inner emptiness when I am not close to the beloved and even valued negatively if that does not happen. Tradition teaches us that authentic love , irremediably, must be infected with addiction. For nothing is further from reality, as we have seen so far, a healthy love is a characteristic love of a relationship of equality, of horizontality, where the two people complement each other, give and receive and there is a mutual respect because it tends towards a common commitment or project. The opposite is what is called affective attachment or addiction to the other.


It is so relevant the role that affective attachment is having in relationships today, that almost half of the psychological consultations are due to problems caused or related to interpersonal pathological dependence.

Characteristics of affective attachment

Let's see according to W. Riso the main characteristics of this dependence or affective attachment:

1. Addiction addiction : If you miss me, I'll kill myself; He is the most important person in my life; without him / her life has no meaning ... When attachment is present, surrendering is a form of surrender guided by fear in order to preserve the relationship as it is. Under the disguise of romantic love, the attached person begins to suffer a slow depersonalization, as if it were an annex of the beloved, a simple appendix. If the dependence is mutual.

2. Differences between love and having attachment : attachment is the scare of fear, a painkiller with contraindications. The pleasure of loving and being loved is to enjoy it, feel it and taste it, if the well-being received becomes indispensable, the urge to see it does not leave you in peace and your mind wears away thinking of him / her: welcome to the world of addicts and affectives. Desire moves the world and dependence slows it down.

3. Detachment is not indifference: love and attachment should not always go hand in hand. Attachment corrupts. The detachment is not lack of love, but a healthy way of relating, whose premises are independence, not possessiveness and no addiction. The unattached person is able to control their fears of abandonment, does not consider that he should destroy his own identity in the name of love, but does not promote selfishness and dishonesty.. Detachment is not running away to find an affective substitute.

Four. The attachment wears and sick : the affective addict is not impeccable when it comes to optimizing and using their energy. In every attachment relationship, there are usually two types of subjects:

- Dependent assets: those that make an impressive deployment of resources to retain their source of attachment. The active-dependent can become jealous and hypervigilantes, have attacks of anger, develop obsessive patterns of behavior, physically assault and in especially dangerous cases, threaten the life of the other or his own (how many news we often hear about gender violence or macho violence), to a greater extent these attached individuals are usually men.

- The passive dependent: tend to be submissive, docile and extremely obedient to try to be nice, avoid the abandonment and anger of the active dependents. It is more characteristic of women.

Treat affective attachment

How and in what way can attachment be treated? In attachment, the entanglement is total and there is no potion to kill it. A person should not wait to fall out of love to end a relationship and the lack of love is not achieved by force of will and reason. It is through autocontol how one can get rid of affective attachment and for this we must bear in mind that behind all attachment there is fear, and more behind some type of disability.


*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection
 Juan José Carral Hernández

By Juan José Carral Hernández

Featured psychologist with extensive experience in family and couples therapy, bullying and other disorders in clinical psychology. Collaborates in the research team of the Institute of the Family of the Pontifical University of Comillas, and practicing psychologist two prestigious centers of Madrid.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

This website uses its own and third-party cookies to collect information in order to improve our services, to show you advertising related to your preferences, as well as to analyse your browsing habits..