I look at attachment in relationships not from a Buddhist approach as much as from the dependency/codependency angle and neediness issues. I consider my goal of loving without attachment as very important. For me, non-attachment is about autonomy and individuality, not meeting some Buddhist or Buddhism-inspired ideal, although some elements of what Buddhists have to say about attachment do ring true for me.
There have been a few other threads about attachment and how others view it, deal with it, etc. One thread, called, "Attachment in secondary 'ships
," prompted me to post a few others' views on the subject of attachment. Maybe you'll find some of it helpful or insightful:
Originally Posted by nycindie
Hmmm. I found some gems in several articles and blog posts that might be helpful (links
to the articles are in bold
Love, sex, and non-attachment
The author, a Buddhist, writes:
"So then what is non-attachment in a loving, committed relationship? My understanding of attachment is that it’s not about what we have or don’t have, but what our expectations of them are. As unenlightened people, we live with a persistent delusion that people and things will provide us with more happiness and satisfaction than they really can. And this is where we get tripped up.Love and Attachment
So for example, how much am I using my partner’s love to fill a void in my own love and acceptance of myself? A truly healthy individual is one who is complete by herself, and doesn’t need to depend on anything or anyone else to feel whole and content. I don’t mean we should go it alone and isolate ourselves from others. I mean simply not to depend on someone or something external to me as a necessary condition for my happiness.
But the fact is I’m not enlightened. Sure, it’s great to know what the ideal is, but very few people are actually there. I’m sure not. We all have times when we come up against feelings of loneliness, inadequacy, or insecurity. It’s a very normal human response to try to compensate for these unpleasant feelings by using a partner’s love to cover them over. But the truth is, real contentment can only come from within ourselves. A partner can’t provide that for us, and to expect it will only lead to disappointment. "
This author is a therapist. Her ideas on "moving from attachment to love" begin with:
"How do we move from attachment to love, from enmeshment to differentiation? How do we, peel the vine that we have become off the wall? To be completely free of attachment to our partner is an ideal. This is something we can work on throughout our lives.Codependency Guide: Attachment And Detachment
The first thing we can do is study ourselves and become aware of the attachments we have to our partner. A clue for our attachment is the feeling of pain. We can watch how we react, how we have high expectations, how we no longer treat our partner like a respected friend. We can watch our motivation for saying and doing what we do and get clear how fear drives us."
This is a good article, I think. I especially like the author's description of healthy and non-healthy relationships.
"Within a healthy relationship the following elements exist:
In an unhealthy relationship the following elements may exist:
- Freedom to grow outside that relationship
- Freedom to expand your own interests
- A desire for the best for your partner and for them to be able to grow
- The ability to have separate interests
- A wide variety of friends; some may be shared while others may not be shared.
- Feeling secure in your own worth
- Mutual integrity
- Free to talk about your feelings
- The ability to enjoy having time on your own
- Respect for privacy; not secrets
- The ability to accept an end to the relationship without feeling as though you have lost your own adequacy.
- Living in a fantasy world
- Overestimating the commitment of the other person
- Seeking solutions outside your own self such as a new lover, alcohol, drugs, etc.
- Becoming totally involved in the relationship to the exclusion of everything else.
- Limited social life
- Neglecting other relationships
- Neglecting other interests
- Becoming preoccupied with the behavior of another person
- Being dependent upon another’s approval for your self-worth and identity
- Experiencing fear, possessiveness, jealousy, competition, etc."