Chances are you’ve been head over heals in love.  Or perhaps you’ve had an enduring relationship where the initial fire died down, but the embers glowed brightly.

Then change descends. Maybe with lightening-like speed. Or, just a gradual crumbling.

How could a sparkling love morph into indifference, discomfort, aversion, resentment, or even hatred?  How could a remarkable connection so mysteriously transform into disconnection?

What is true love, anyway?  When a relationship ends, must the love die too?

Like a porcupine shooting out its sharp spikes or a crab retreating into its shell, shutting down or striking out seem like uncontrollable responses to a split.  A whole range of feelings are likely to occur in its wake: shock, hurt, pain, anger, rejection, indifference, and still others.

These strong emotions will emerge and reappear persistently as you process through the five stages of grief. Processing loss takes time.  It’s normal for these various emotions to arise.  Suppressing them would be unhealthy so it pays to learn to work with them skillfully.

One key to working with this sense of being emotionally hijacked is expanding your perspective on love.

Love or Attachment?

For most of us, love is intermixed with our own needs, fears, desires and attachments.

As the Dalai Lama explains,

“…in marriage, the love between husband and wife –  particularly at the beginning, when each partner still may not know the other’s deeper character very well – depends more on attachment than genuine love. Our desire can be so strong that the person to whom we are attached appears to be good, when in fact he or she is very negative. In addition, we have a tendency to exaggerate small positive qualities. Thus when one partner’s attitude changes, the other partner is often disappointed and his or her attitude changes too. This is an indication that love has been motivated more by personal need than by genuine care for the other individual.”

So what is genuine love then?  And how do you disconnect it from attachment?

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