Independent in Love


In a previous article entitled “Freedom in Relationships” I talked about the importance of respecting one another’s personal freedom by not imposing rules, restrictions and obligations.  I talked before about freedom in relationship.  Today I want to elaborate more on maintaining personal independence while in a relationship.

What I mean is that so many of us look to our relationships, and specifically to our romantic partner, to fulfill us, to make us feel happy, whole, loved and secure.  But this never works.  It doesn’t work because no one is truly capable of making us feel this way.  And furthermore, it’s not their responsibility.

It’s our own responsibility to get in touch with these feelings which exist already within us.  It’s true that sometimes a person can arouse these feelings within us, but it’s only because they’ve always been there.

Secondly, it isn’t fair to our partner to place such a heavy burden upon them, a burden that is impossible for them to carry out.  We talk about loving one another, yet all the while we are only trying to get love.  If we truly love someone we will never use them as a means to fulfill us, which is exactly what we do.

When I talk about freedom from relationship, I’m not talking about living in solitude.  I mean that you don’t rely on your partner in order to feel happy or loved, complete and fulfilled.  You learn to awaken these things within you so that you don’t rely on anyone. You can still be fully engaged in relationship without being emotionally dependent upon it.

You can go on relying on your partner to fulfill you in this way, but it will only cause conflict.  You must understand that when you make the other responsible and they don’t live up to your expectations, which is always the case, you will be very disappointed.  And disappointment means dissatisfaction; suffering.  And because you have made them responsible for your happiness, you will also make them responsible for your unhappiness.  You will blame them and resent them for something which is not even their responsibility; something which they have absolutely no control of.  You will be frustrated with them because they would not do the one thing which is impossible for them to do.  And it’s likely they expect the same of you.  So both will be displeased.

This is where the relationship begins to fall apart.  This is when love transforms into hate, because it was never love in the first place.  It was needing.  It was the desire of each person to be fulfilled by the other.  But as it’s been said many times, how can two vessels which are empty be used to fill one another?

The reality is that we are not empty vessels.  We are not incomplete.  Everything we’re seeking is inside of us already.  It always has been.  This doesn’t mean that relationships serve no function, but it should be clear that the function is not to extract anything from one another.  Relationships are more about reflecting.  Our partners help reveal what is inside of us, our darkest desires, our fears, our insecurities, but also love and joy, compassion and acceptance.

If a relationship is to be healthy it requires us to take responsibility for these emotional needs, and not to depend upon the other.  And while this may at first appear selfish or indifferent, the reality is that we can only offer love to another when we have awakened it first within ourselves.  And the more we are living from a place of love and joy, arising from within us, the more loving and joyful will the relationship be.

Then there can be freedom.  And when there is freedom, love is authentic and you know it, because there is no obligation to love or be loved.  There is no obligation whatsoever.  Each person is there, sharing with one another, because they genuinely want to be there.  When you are both free from one another in this way, then you can be free together.

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