When you meet someone really cool…
And you seem to have a connection, and he seems to like you back…
It’s the best feeling in the world.
You can’t stop smiling. You feel so happy.
Your world, ordinarily so predictable, sparkles with hope and possibility.
What if this is it?
What if he’s the one?
It’s even sweeter because of how hard you’ve worked to get here.
You’ve put up with so many bad dates and duds and jerks.
Meeting a guy like him is like hitting the jackpot.
He’s interesting, he’s funny, he’s cute, AND he feels the same way about you!
How often does THAT happen? So you are NOT going to let this guy go.
You are going to do everything in your power to make sure this works.
Three weeks later…
He stops messaging you.
You casually ask what’s going on. Are things busy for him? Did he not see your messages?
His reply is brief. It tells you nothing.
Your heart starts racing.
You know exactly what’s happening. He’s pulling away.
If you don’t do something now, you’re going to lose him.
All that joy and happiness you felt drains away. Now you’re panicking. Now every morning you wake up with dread.
Every time your phone vibrates, your heart leaps. It might be him. (It’s not.)
What went wrong???
You reach out to your best friend, and you tell her what happened.
Her answer confirms she is the WORST friend ever.
You know what she says?
She says NOTHING went wrong.
She says you jumped to conclusions.
She says you got attached too soon.
Your jaw drops. How dare she say that?
She doesn’t know how it was between the two of you! She has no idea how it felt!
You hang up the phone, and you’re furious.
You’re going to get him back if it’s the last thing you do.
Pain, Hurt, and Determination
I suspect more than a few of you will resonate with this story.
You’re nodding your head, because you know exactly how it feels.
It is so HARD when you feel like your chance at happiness was finally within your grasp, only to be roughly jerked away.
You’re blindsided, rejected, hurt.
And what makes it worse is that you didn’t even have all that much time with him.
You didn’t get to enjoy months or years of being with him before he pulled away.
The last thing anyone wants to do in this situation is take a step back and look at their feelings.
But once you’ve got the mental space and emotional energy, it can be helpful to look at why you crashed so hard.
Attachment vs Love
Author and Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield says that we often confuse love and attachment.
We think we’re in love with someone, when really we’re attached to them.
Attachment looks and feels a lot like love, but it’s an imposter.
As Kornfield writes:
“Attachment masquerades as love. It says, ‘I will love this person (because I need something from them).’ Or, ‘I’ll love you if you’ll love me back. I’ll love you, but only if you will be the way I want.’
“This isn’t the fullness of love. Instead there is attachment—there is clinging and fear. True love allows, honors, and appreciates; attachment grasps, demands, needs, and aims to possess.”
Attachment is common in the early days of a relationship.
You don’t know each other well enough. Love takes time, and you haven’t had enough time together.
All you know is that you like him a lot.
Which would be great, except that most of us aren’t content to leave it there.
We jump from LIKING this person to WANTING this person.
We become attached to getting what we want.
And it’s our attachment that causes us problems.
I often see women making these 3 attachment mistakes…
Mistake #1. Attached to the Future
You should be savoring every moment of those early days of a relationship.
Instead, you’re fantasizing about your future. You can’t wait for him to make it official.
You’re living FOR the future instead of IN the present.
Mistake #2. Attached to Him as a Source of Happiness
Before you met him, you were pretty happy.
You spent time with friends, did things you enjoyed, and filled your soul with inspiration.
But meeting him changed everything.
NOW it feels like the only thing that will make you happy… is him.
You’ve pinned your happiness on having him.
Mistake #3. Attached to Control
In your everyday life, you are in control.
You can make things exactly the way you want them.
But love is so unpredictable.
You can’t “make” anyone love you.
Life would be so much easier if you could control another person the way you can control your own life.
But other people don’t always act the way you want them to…
And you hang onto the illusion that you could have made them act differently.
When you give up those three attachments…
To your fantasies of the future, to him as your only hope of happiness, and to the illusion that you can control the situation…
You get something FAR better in return.
You get space for love to blossom.