How easy is it to get over a relationship? How easy is it to let go of someone you love deeply?
My answer is: It’s not easy at all. In fact, it is one of the last things I wanted to do. But life has its own plans. And so does love.
The more you try to hold on to a relationship…the more you try to hold on to someone, the harder it gets. The cracks become bigger. The intimacy gets weaker. The emotional bond starts to shatter. And it becomes more painful than it was. Sometimes, letting go of a relationship can be the best thing you can do, especially if you truly love them.
“You can only lose what you cling to.” – Gautama Buddha
Relationships can be complicated
And breakups can be exceptionally painful. When we are in a relationship we become strongly attached to our partner both mentally and emotionally. However, we often confuse attachment with love. We believe that the stronger the attachment, the more intense our love will become. But it only leads to further complications in the relationship. This leads to unrealistic expectations, miscommunication, misunderstandings which weakens the relationship.
As your relationship starts to falter, you become more attached to your partner and cling to them even more. As you become insecure about the relationship and yourself, you start to suffer. However, letting go of a relationship and your desires & attachments can enable you to find happiness and inner peace.
Letting go is NOT easy
“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions – we cannot be free.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
If only I could tell you that detaching from the person you love and letting them go was a simple process. But I can’t. Cause it’s not. Breakups are hard on most of us, whether you want it or not. When my ex of 5 years told me she wanted to end things, I did exactly what I shouldn’t have done. I tried to convince her, manipulate her, impress her and even beg her to stay with me. Although she stayed for a while, it only made things worse. And it made me more desperate. More attached. More insecure. The more I tried to hold on to her, the farther she went away from me.
I thought this is what love is supposed to be like
“But when one masters this wretched desire, which is so hard to overcome, then one’s sorrows just drop off, like a drop of water off a lotus.” – Gautama Buddha
You don’t give up on the ones you love, right? Wrong. I was only being selfish. Love is not about manipulating or forcing someone to stay with you when they are no longer in love with you. That’s the thing with love. It can change. It can end. It can restart and grow. Love doesn’t have to last forever. And that’s okay. And it took me a lot of time to realize that. But even then, I didn’t know what to do about it. That’s when I stumbled on to a Buddhist monk as if I was destined to meet him. That’s when I realized love is not attachment. The things he taught me completely changed my perception about love, relationships and desire. Love is about letting them go when they want to leave and still praying for their happiness. It is not about grasping onto false hope. It’s not about unhealthy attachments.
If you wish to cling onto an weak relationship and be an insecure, unhappy person bathed in persistent suffering, then the path of desire & attachment can certainly be your best option. However, if you want to experience happiness, inner peace and true love, then Buddhism can help you stop clinging and get detached from the suffering.