Before I start with what I want to say let me clarify what I mean when I use the terms love, care and attachment.
To care for someone is to feel empathy for them. To feel their pain which would make you want to help or at least hope for their well being. You can care for just about anyone, even strangers if you can empathise with them.
Attachment is the feeling of being close to someone. It's not love as you can be attached to people you don't love. It has more to do with spending time together. Getting to know each other. It's more a feeling of comfort in having someone familiar.
Love on the other hand is caring about someone's happiness. Love is fondness of someone. It involves being close and attached to someone and caring for their well being. But It's also respect and wanting to see them happy. Which doesn't mean you want to see everyone else unhappy but when you love someone you care enough to try to make them happy, not because if you don't they will get angry, but because you genuinely feel happy doing it for them even if you wouldn't do it for others.
I feel like we often confuse the three or don't want to see the difference because we don't want to change things. Attachment can be based on just familiarity and care without love. As long as I don't hate someone and I am attached to them I will call it love. It doesn't even have to include respect. That is a very low bar for what we will make do with. We don't even question whether we love someone or whether they love us based on their relationship to us be it your spouse, parents or kids. We are not even allowed to say that we don't love them. Which might just be attachment and not love at all. And that's fine as long as you respect each other. There is nothing wrong with not loving people. What's wrong is not respecting them.
The problem is that if you keep confusing attachment for love you don't realise you need to treat your loved ones better or that you deserve better. We say love is forever and unconditional and keep using it as an excuse to not change anything even though unconsciously we know something is wrong, or even feel unloved.
Love is not unconditional. We withhold love from people because they are different, because they make mistakes, because they are not achieving enough. By controlling them, telling them what they should be doing, getting angry about how they live their life or their quirks, we say you don't deserve love unless you behave like the ideal son, daughter, partner, sibling or friend. And we believe so about ourselves too.
But if these are the conditions for being loved then no one can be loved. The only conditions for love should be respect and care. And those are the only things that truly make people love anyone if we really pay attention to our feelings and instincts. By trying to control our love ones we not only diminish how much they love us but how much we love them. We make our own wishes and ideals more important than their feelings and happiness. We give more importance to being right and controlling and when we see that people don't do what they should we get angry instead of understanding that everyone is different and you can't control people.
The moment you start trying to tell people how they should live their life respect flies out the window. And so does love. Not just their love for you but your love for them. Because all you can focus on till you succeed in your mission is how flawed, stubborn and selfish they are. And you can't love them when you think about them that way. And you certainly don't respect them at this point. When you stop controlling people you can love them even though you still don't agree with them. And they can love you for accepting them as they are. When you stop controlling people you stop attaching your self-worth with whether or not you succeed in controlling them or being right. Because that is why we control others, because if other people are not like us and vice versa then something is wrong with us, and we are unlovable. That is why if you can't love yourself you can't love someone else.
Love is not forever. We can't take people for granted and stop respecting them because now we have their love and can't lose it. And if your only goal was whether they love you and not if you love them then that is not love at all but neediness. Instead of seeing it as something that lasts forever if we see it as something that happens moment to moment, we realise that in the moment when we are angry and blaming someone, we don't love them. And if we don't love someone we can't expect them to love us back because love is not unconditional. We can only control our own actions. So instead of being unloving and expect to be loved in return be honest and realise that this feeling I am having right now is not love. That in this moment I don't love them. And the moment you feel the love is when you truly love them. And then maybe we can decide whether whatever we are angry about is really worth the cost.