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The difference between free and dependent love

November 11,2013

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I have been reflecting on relationships a lot, it is a topic that comes back often in my blog, simply because our lives are made of relationships and they play a very important part in our daily experiences. A friend of mine recently shared a quote that got me thinking about the fine line between free and dependent love, there is a great contrast between the two and it makes the whole difference in the quality of our relationships.


Here is the quote: "Affective dependence sooner or later will generate suffering and depression. Insecure love is a time bomb that can explode at any time and hurt deeply. However, if one can eliminate attachment and still engage fully into a relationship without changing nor denying oneself but rather integrating with the other respectfully, love is a sum of 2 where no one looses anything" W.Risso

The message in this quote is that the way to achieve a healthy and satisfying relationship is by not being attached to the object of our affection, or I would say: having a healthy attachment (non-dependent that is). This is of course easier said than done, but the truth is, until we realize the major difference between free and dependent love, we may often end up heart broken or unsatisfied in our love relationships. Until we are able to move from a state of dependency to a state of true partnership we are setting ourselves up for suffering.

My dad always told me that only those who can be alone deserve to have a partner, I used to be annoyed by his statement, but now I understand it. It isn't until you are fully OK with who you are and what you have, that you can successfully share your life with a partner. If you think a partner will save you from your life, or will make you whole, or will fulfill all your needs, you are not really looking for a partnership but rather a co-dependency.

I guess the path to happiness and peace ALWAYS starts within ourselves. It is only when we find contentment, acceptance and respect for who we are, that we can start to actually improve our lives in many ways, and that includes finding the right partner and having nurturing relationships in general.

But to be OK with who we are isn't easy, it means accepting, respecting and honoring ourselves fully, embracing everything about ourselves: our looks, our talents, our past, our bodies, our emotions, our limitations, our weight, our flaws, our mistakes, our health, our failures, and everything in between. Most people are not even aware at how much they judge and criticize themselves, or how much they deny their own needs on behalf of others. It takes a lot of introspection and awareness to actually grasp who we really are, let alone honor it fully.

I feel that loving without attachment (or rather dependency) is one of the hardest things to do, it is totally counter-intuitive, but it is possible and it is a self-awareness learning process, a freeing process! When you realize that you don't need the other, you can actually BE together. Once you free yourself in this way you can love even more deeply precisely because you don't depend on that love.

The process of self awareness will help you look at yourself more clearly and by doing so you will look at others much more clearly too. You will become free of expectations, you will stop making assumptions, and loving without expectations and without assumptions will really allow you to love unconditionally and fully.

Here is another one of my favorite quotes:

"Let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls."
Khalil Gibran

To finish this thought, I just want to add that every relationship in our life is important and having a specific expectation on how long it may last is also attaching (to an outcome that is out of our control...) so remember that no matter how long any relationship lasts in your life, you can still give it your full engagement and make the best of the partnership for the time it lasts, it will never be a waste of time!
Like I read somewhere: relationships enter your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime... so we should embrace them all with full awareness!

Have a good week!

Related Articles:

The Myth of a "Better Half"

The Bitter Sweet Taste of Love

Relationships are Our Greatest Teachers

How to establish healthy boundaries in our relationships?


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