Thread: Buddhism and Love relationships

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    Buddhism and Love relationships

    I asked this question many times, but I never got an answer that I would understand clearly.

    I understand from basic idea, or at least how it was explained to me, that attachment or feeling of possession is basically harmful in romantic relationship and leads to pain. Therefore, jealousy or any feeling of owning has no place in healthy love relationship. Since we are not suppose to love for gain, but just simply love without expectation to get anything back, does it mean that I should let my partner to be free and give him freedom to be emotionally or physically involved with other people? I am very confused about this point. Since true love without attachment should not be possessive or jealous, cheating should not be an issue. If I truly love someone I should let him be free. If it makes him/her happy to be involved with another people, or coming and leaving relationship at any point, I should let my partner do what makes him happy? I know, that I can’t do that, but I was wandering if that is an ultimate goal….Any thoughts on this?

    Thank you beforehand for any insight!

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    Forums Member Jacaranda's Avatar
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    I believe any feelings of jealousy,attachement and owning should be handled with compassion.I don't think it means to let your partner be "free" as such.Yes free to be a person in their own right,free to do what they enjoy,and that means to me,within reason.I feel in a healthy loving relationship,there should be trust and commitment to one person.This does not mean that person is not free.I've seen a few "open"relationships,and they inevitably break down due to lack of the fundamentals.One friend of mine even became suicidal.I think open relationships that work,are few and far inbetween.

  3. #3
    Loving another person in a long-term relationship doesn't mean a couple need to be cheating on each other as part of that relationship.

    Here's a relevant sutta:


    AN 4.55 -Samjivina Sutta: Living in Tune

    Once the Blessed One was staying among the Bhaggas in the Deer Park at Bhesakala Grove, near Crocodile Haunt.

    Then early in the morning the Blessed One put on his robes and, carrying his bowl and outer robe, went to the home of the householder, Nakula's father. On arrival, he sat down on a seat made ready. Then Nakula's father & Nakula's mother went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there, Nakula's father said to the Blessed One: "Lord, ever since Nakula's mother as a young girl was brought to me [to be my wife] when I was just a young boy, I am not conscious of being unfaithful to her even in mind, much less in body. We want to see one another not only in the present life but also in the life to come."

    And Nakula's mother said to the Blessed One: "Lord, ever since I as a young girl was brought to Nakula's father [to be his wife] when he was just a young boy, I am not conscious of being unfaithful to him even in mind, much less in body. We want to see one another not only in the present life but also in the life to come."

    [The Blessed One said:] "If both husband & wife want to see one another not only in the present life but also in the life to come, they should be in tune [with each other] in conviction, in tune in virtue, in tune in generosity, and in tune in discernment. Then they will see one another not only in the present life but also in the life to come."

    Husband & wife, both of them
    having conviction,
    being responsive,
    being restrained,
    living by the Dhamma,
    addressing each other
    with loving words:
    they benefit in manifold ways.
    To them comes bliss.
    Their enemies are dejected
    when both are in tune in virtue.
    Having followed the Dhamma here in this world,
    both in tune in precepts & practices,
    they delight in the world of the devas,
    enjoying the pleasures they desire.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipit....055.than.html

  4. #4
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    greetings Desiree

    From a Buddhist perspective, relationship exists to serve mutual needs. For example, employers & employees enter into an employment relationship to serve mutual needs. The employer gains labour to earn profit. The employee provides labour to earn a living.

    The same applies to 'romantic' relationships, which exist to serve the mutual human need for love, friendship, support, care, family, income, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desiree View Post
    I understand from basic idea, or at least how it was explained to me, that attachment or feeling of possession is basically harmful in romantic relationship and leads to pain.
    If it is the domineering type of possessiveness then yes, this can be harmful, because it does not sustain mutual needs. Instead, it sustains the destructive selfishness of an individual.

    Relationship exists to serve mutual needs. Yet romantic relationships can have a tendency to nurture the individual selfishness of one individual, which is why they often fall apart.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desiree View Post
    Therefore, jealousy or any feeling of owning has no place in healthy love relationship.
    I would say 'jealously' is a sign of an immature relationship, with insufficient trust. The feeling of 'owning' is also inappropriate.

    However, the expectation for faithfulness is important.

    I think it may be important to sort out these emotions to clarify what we are really feeling.

    Are we really feeling jealous? Are we really feeling possessive? Or do we simply have a deep & appropriate expectation for faithfulness?

    Quote Originally Posted by Desiree View Post
    Since we are not suppose to love for gain, but just simply love without expectation to get anything back
    Incorrect. We love for gain. Buddha taught, for example, a husband performs five responsibilities towards his wife & thus being served, the wife returns her love.

    When an employee & employer enter into an employment relationship, it is for mutual gain. If the employee does not perform the responsibilities of their employment contract, they are fired. From a Buddhist perspective, relationship is similar.

    It is important to not confuse romantic/filial love with spiritual/self-sacrificing love. Our romantic relationships are primarily based on filial love (pema).

    Quote Originally Posted by Desiree View Post
    does it mean that I should let my partner to be free and give him freedom to be emotionally or physically involved with other people?
    Definitely not. Buddha taught partners have the primary responsibility to be faithful to eachother:

    The couple sharing responsibility help and serve each other according to the teachings given on the reward of the six directions as follows:

    A husband serves his wife by:

    Honoring her in accordance with her status as his wife.
    Not disparaging her.
    Not committing adultery.
    Giving her control of household concerns.
    Giving her occasional gifts of ornaments and clothing.

    A wife honors her husband by:

    Keeping the household tidy.
    Being helpful to the relations and friends of both sides of the family.
    Not committing adultery.
    Safeguarding any wealth that has been acquired.
    Being diligent in all her work.

    http://www.budsir.org/Part2_3.htm#13
    Quote Originally Posted by Desiree View Post
    If I truly love someone I should let him be free.
    Definitely not. This phrase comes from a pop song.

    If you truely love someone, you should nurture him to become a better human being, who understands your needs & your potential sufferings.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desiree View Post
    If it makes him/her happy to be involved with another people, or coming and leaving relationship at any point, I should let my partner do what makes him happy?
    This is like asking: "Should I let my children or friend become addicted to harmful drugs?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Desiree View Post
    I know, that I can’t do that
    Yes, you know. You already know what is the right thing to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desiree View Post
    I was wondering if that is an ultimate goal.
    Most women are born 'goddesses'. They instinctually possess the knowledge of right & wrong, in respect to relationships & other moral matters. But most women also have emotional weakness; such a fear of being alone; of being rejected.

    It is your ultimate goal to moralize an immoral man; to offer love that is conditional rather than unconditional. If you are interested in romantic relationship then this is your duty because nature has already given you the wisdom about what is wrong & right.

    With metta

    Element


  5. #5
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desiree View Post
    Since we are not suppose to love for gain, but just simply love without expectation to get anything back.
    Desiree

    According to Buddhism, the above is very wrong understanding. It may accord with the sacrificial love & martyredom promoted by Christian rhetoric but it does not exist in Buddha's teachings.

    Buddha taught we, ourselves, are the most important object of our love & our self-love should strive for what is truely healthy.

    Searching all directions
    with your mind,
    you find no one dearer
    than yourself.
    In the same way, others
    are thickly dear to themselves.
    So you shouldn't hurt others
    if you love yourself.

    Rājan Sutta
    If one holds oneself dear, one should diligently watch oneself.

    One should first establish oneself in what is proper.

    One truly is the protector of oneself; who else could the protector be?

    Let one not neglect one's own welfare for the sake of another, however great.

    Clearly understanding one's own welfare, let one be intent upon the good.

    Dhammapada
    Looking after oneself, one looks after others.
    Looking after others, one looks after oneself.

    Sedaka Sutta: The Bamboo Acrobat
    Kind regards


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    Thank you so much Jacaranda for your reply! I feel the same about the matter I just wasn't sure what is a Buddhist's view on this issue.
    i'm glad to see that other people deal with and think about the same issue too.

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    Aloka-D. Sutta is beautiful! Thank you for your reply. I was looking for something relevant in buddhist writtings, but there is so many and I can make sense or order of them. Therefore this helped a lot!

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    Element! Your reply helped me to gain deeper and different insight on the matter. I never consider that conditional or love for gain can be natural and healthy. But after reading your post, it makes more sense. Although I myself, am not catholic, I did grow up in the Catholic culture and ideology, where ultimate goal is unconditional sacrifice, which brings on a lot of guilt feelings, since not many are able to live that way. But it seems that Buddhist point of view is more balanced, and does not expect one individual constantly give, without expectations of getting the same back.

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    Re: Buddhism and Love relationships

    I have friends who are in to "ethical non-monogomy"/polyamoury and I myself have been involved in non-monogomous arrangements (though ironically, it was for the sake of a woman who became possessive of me, so I had to leave her).

    I think that it's about communication, compassion and not misusing sexuality. I believe that non-monogomy is better suited than monogomy for some and that there isn't an ethical issue if all parties are respected, listened to and treated kindly.

    For example, sleeping with people when giving the expectation of monogomy can hurt somebody, as can crossing boundaries, not practicing safe sex ect

    So it isn't about the amount of partners, but other things... For me at least.

  10. #10
    Forums Member Satya's Avatar
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    Desiree, I am curious if your boyfriend is a Buddhist. I believe if he was, this would not be an issue. If not, does he feel okay if you did the same?

    It's one thing to apply a teaching, but if it creates suffering, doesn't the Buddah say to abandon that teaching if it creates hatred, fighting etc.?

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