Ordinary love tends to create bonds that may turn very unpleasant.
– Ordinary love is based on selfishness: attraction to others because they help us.
– Ordinary love is often based on opinions like beauty and status, which may be quite irrelevant or even obstacles for being able to live happily together with the person.
– Exaggeration and projection are the main reasons that ordinary love leads to disappointments. To illustrate this some words from M. Scott Peck on “ordinary love”:
“The myth of romantic love is a dreadful lie. Perhaps it is a necessary lie in that it assures the ‘falling in love’- experience that traps us into marriage. But as a psychiatrist I weep in my heart almost daily for the ghastly confusion and suffering that this myth fosters. Millions of people waste vast amounts of energy desperately in an attempt to make the reality of their lives conform to the unreality of the myth.”
– “Being in love” may be a very exciting emotional condition, but is it really happiness, or is it often mixed with a fair amount of suffering?
– Attachment gives us the feeling of: How can this relationship fulfil MY needs? Real love would ask: What can I do for the OTHER?
– Attachment based on selfishness: if you are good to me, I am good to you. Altruistic love is based on equanimity: one realises that others are like me and want happiness. It is wishing others to be happy just because they exist.
– Attachment leads to possessiveness: MY husband, MY wife, MY friend, MY family. Did you ever realise that we cannot own people, unless you believe in slavery? Possessiveness leads to FEAR of losing, fake affection out of fear, overprotection, craving, jealousy or even the feeling: I can’t live without her/him/my car/my cat/chocolate/pizzas/my job/my jewellery/my music….
– Is the perfection we think to see in the loved one really there, or do we simply close our eyes for the negative qualities?
– Is the perfection we are looking for achievable? An old Sufi tale as illustration:
“One afternoon, Nasruddin and his friend were sitting in a cafe, drinking tea and talking about life and love. His friend asked: ‘How come you never married?’
‘Well,’ said Nasruddin, ‘to tell you the truth, I spend my youth looking for the perfect woman. In Cairo I met a beautiful and intelligent woman, but she was unkind. Then in Baghdad, I met a woman who was a wonderful and generous soul, but we had no common interests. One woman after another would seem just right, but there would always be something missing. Then one day, I met her; beautiful, intelligent, generous and kind. We had very much in common. In fact, she was perfect!’
‘So, what happened?’ asked Nasruddin’s friend, ‘Why didn’t you marry her?’
Nasruddin sipped his tea reflectively. ‘Well,’ he replied, ‘it’s really the sad story of my life…. It seemed that she was looking for the perfect man…’ “
To summarise: our own projections, selfish expectations and exaggerations are the foundations of attachment and the unavoidable disappointment.
We want to get love, rather than give love.
We seek understanding, rather than trying to understand.
We seek self-confidence, rather than respecting others.
We seek praise and encouragement, rather than giving praise and encouragement .
We don’t like criticism, but like to criticise others.