Attachment and love are similar in that both of them draw us to the other person. But in fact, these two emotions are quite different. When we’re attached we’re drawn to someone because he or she meets our needs. In addition, there are lots of strings attached to our affection that we may or may not realize are there. For example, I “love” you because you make me feel good. I “love” you as long as you do things that I approve of. I “love” you because you’re mine. You’re my spouse or my child or my parent or my friend. With attachment, we go up and down like a yo-yo, depending on how the other person treats us. We obsess, “What do they think of me? Do they love me? Have I offended them? How can I become what they want me to be so that they love me even more?” It’s not very peaceful, is it? We’re definitely stirred up.
On the other hand, the love we’re generating on the Dharma path is unconditional. We simply want other to have happiness and the causes of happiness without any strings attached, without any expectations of what these people will do for us or how good they’ll make us feel.
Don’t Believe Everything You Think: Living with Wisdom and Compassion by Thubten Chodron, pages 11–12.