by Naty Tea
For anyone who has suffered from love and heartbreak, it may help to understand why things didn't work. Regardless of your intentions for future relationships, gathering new thoughts and perspectives on why things went astray may give you some closure and insight, both into warning signs from a partner and directions for your own potential growth.
We've found two good articles on love and relationships we suggest reading.
The first speaks more abstractly about the concept, with no primary references or citations but can help you understand the emotional aspect of the concept.
The second is more grounded in theory if you want to explore more closely how Psychologists look at love and categorize healthy/unhealthy love and attachment.
Please find reference to direct links below:
ARTICLE 1 (The Power of Silence)
ARTICLE 2 (Psychology Today)
We thought this was right up our viewer's alley, so decided to share here.
In case you cannot access the links we've shared the text below:
Article 1: from The Power of Silence by Mary Wright
"How To Love Without Attachment And Unconditionally
Love should have no shape, no boundaries, and no condition. If you can really understand this, then you will not spend any minute of your life hurting and wallowing in self-pity again. Because the main relationship killer is the attachment. The evil little thing which is disguised as love first and then becomes needy and jealous.
This attachment is also known as co-dependency and it can make you think that you cannot live without the subject of your love and affection. This becomes dangerous for both you and your partner because you will most likely forget about the importance of yourselves and your needs in the process of pleasing your loved one because the sensation feels so good and intoxicating.
However, if you love unconditionally, then the pain that comes from attachment won’t affect you. Because loving unconditionally means accepting people just as they are. When you don’t accept your partner completely and you try to change them that is usually how any toxic relationship begins.
So, how can you love unconditionally and without attachment?
First, ask yourself what you felt during the first few days after you’ve met your loved one. If you have trouble remembering your first feelings and experiences with your loved person, then this is a red flag.
Because, when you experience the first feelings of being in love, you feel extremely happy and free. All of your senses get heightened and you become more aware of everything around you. Everything will just fall into place and will be right.
This is why it is so important to try and remember those feelings and how they affected your life, how they enhanced your appreciation for everything in your life, and how happy you were just thinking about the person you love.
Second, you should come to terms with the fact that love is unmeasurable, thus everlasting.
When you really love someone, your love for them shouldn’t know boundaries. You should be able to love them so purely and wholeheartedly that just the mere thought of them makes you happy and satisfied.
When you attach yourself to someone with whom you crave being together all the time, you forget about yourself and you and your partner’s need for solitude and alone time. And this is very dangerous for your relationship.
When you accept the fact that love has neither end nor boundaries, then you can fully grasp it and you can understand the importance of having your own space and freedom.
Third, unconditional love means accepting all the imperfections of your partner and yours as well.
Unconditional love realizes that no one and nothing is ever perfect. And that is okay. Being imperfect is actually perfection. Because, an attachment is judgmental, critical, jealous, controlling, serious, and insecure. It’s the road to suffering.
When you love someone unconditionally, you will never risk getting attached to them. Unconditional love means loving everything about them, from their skew tooth or their weird toe to the way they drink their coffee.
And last but not least, unconditional love is allencompassing.
This means that you must be a whole person too. This love includes you as well. You can’t pour from an empty glass.
You must love and accept yourself first before you can love and accept someone else."
Article 2: from Psychology Today by Berit Brogaard
"Love and Psychoanalysis
A fundamental polarity in psychoanalysis is that between unity and agency.
Love has been at the heart of psychoanalysis since its conception. What distinguishes the psychoanalytic approach to love from the classical psychological approach is, as Bergmann puts it,"the awareness of the link between adult love and love in infancy" (Bergmann, 1988: 668-669). Most contemporary psychoanalytic approaches are expansions of Freud’s theories of love.
Freud developed two psychoanalytic theories of love (Bergmann, 1988). One is the theory that love and sexuality are initially combined when the "child is sucking at his mother’s breast. The finding of the love object is in fact a refinding" (Freud, 1905: 222). This phase is also known as the ‘oral phase’ of the child’s psychosexual development (0-1 years of age). This phase is followed by the anal phase (1-3 years of age) and the phallic or oedipal phase (3 to 6 years). During latency (6-12 years of age) the child learns to repress the sexual component of his or her love for his parents. During adolescence (or the genital phase; 12+ years of age), the sexual impulses reemerge, and if the other stages have been resolved successfully, he or she can enter a loving sexual relationship with a partner. The individual’s capacity to love (also known as ‘genital love’) and engage in a healthy love relationship depends on his or her ability to recombine the capacity for tender love with the re-emerging sexuality. This, however, requires that the individual has fully separated from the parents. Otherwise, the individual will experience the beloved merely as a corrected version of a parent (Bergmann, 1988).
Freud’s second theory followed his discovery of narcissism. On this later theory, the separation from the parent is required for us to be able to experience love but it is not sufficient. We fall in love with people that are mirror images of our ideal self. Love completes our deficient narcissist selves. When the love is reciprocated, the tension between self and other is eliminated, and the lover experiences a relief from the freedom from envy of the other person’s qualities and abilities. This leads to the characteristic feeling of reward in the presence of the beloved as well as an idealization of the beloved. This second theory shares core elements in common with Aron & Aron’s (1986) self-expansion theory, which also predicts that we fall in love with people who complement us and who can trigger a feeling of our own self being expanded.
More Recent psychoanalytic approaches to love have become increasingly desexualized (Green 1995), bringing the field closer to attachment theory. The sexual phrases inherent to psychoanalytic theory are now primarily thought of as metaphors for the dynamic between the individual and her parents or later a partner. Like attachment theory, modern psychoanalysis also predicts two fundamental ways of being insecurely attached to others.
A fundamental polarity in psychoanalytic theory is that between unity and agency, or relatedness and self-sufficiency. The anxiously attached individual seeks to preserve unity and prevent loneliness and alienation, whereas the avoidantly attached person seeks to preserve agency, individuality and personal autonomy. Healthy love requires that one maintains a healthy balance between unity and agency, or relatedness and self-sufficiency.
In the beginning obsessive stages of love relationships in which the love is mutual, the lovers seek an unhealthy level of unity and relatedness. Only when the love matures and neurochemicals and hormones return to normal can lovers hope to retrieve a balance between unity and agency. This, however, is also the point at which lovers may go too far in the other direction and seek to be self-sufficient and express their own agency without concern for the other.
Many mistake the shift in hormones and neurochemicals that are natural in healthy, long-lasting love relationships for a sudden absence of love. If a person is used to the obsessive feelings of being in love and then suddenly feels nothing but occasional closeness and sexual attraction, he or she is bound to think that something is wrong with the relationship. A natural reaction to that feeling is to seek self-expansion elsewhere, be it through a new lover, a new self-expanding activity or a renewed dedication to work. This type of behavior is, in fact, predictable in avoidant individuals, who are more likely to never fall in love or to experience only low intensity love.
When attachment grows too insecure especially in childhood, it can lead to pathopsychology (Widiger & Frances, 1985). An anxious attachment style in early childhood is a predictor of dramatic personality disorders such as histrionic, borderline and dependent personality disorder later in life, whereas an avoidant attachment style in early childhood is a predictor of schizotypal, schizoid, narcissistic, antisocial and avoidant personality disorder later in life (West, et al. 1994; Blatt & Levy, 2003). But being insecurely attached to one or more partners in adulthood can also give rise to markers of pathopsychology. Being abandoned by several consecutive partners may push an individual toward a more insecure attachment style, which together with genetic dispositions is a predictor of psychopathology (West, et al. 1994).
Securely attached lovers, who manage to find the right balance between relatedness and self-sufficiency, have the capacity to establish mature and mutually satisfying interpersonal relationships within which they can explore new activities and develop their own sense of self. The securely attached lover respects the other person’s need for alone time while setting aside time to connect with him and her, thereby giving both parties the opportunity to experience both independence and bonding. "
Aron, A & Aron, EN. (1986). Love and the Expansion of Self: Understanding Attraction and Satisfaction, New York, NY, US: Hemisphere Publishing Corp/Harper & Row.
Bergmann, MS. (1988). “Freud’s Three Theories of Love in the Light of Later Developments,” J Am Psychoanal Assoc 36, 3: 653-672.
Freud, S. (1905). Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality, Standard Edition 7, pp. 136-243.