There's gotta be a millions of articles about relationships. Books, too. If you are thinking about writing a book, put "relationship" in the title and you will have agents beating down your door! Instead of "How to Fix a Toilet," title you book, "How to Have a Good Relationship With Your Toilet While Fixing It!" See what I mean?

Because there seems to be a delusionary common thread running through all of the articles and books about relationships, I thought that I would, as usual, wander off the beaten path for just a moment and discuss relationships from a completely skewed view (skewed from the standpoint of ideas that we call normal).

This article involves romantic relationships, at least that's what they are in the beginning, and explores what it is that puts us temporarily under anesthesia where we become completely insane about the sight, smell, taste, sound or thought of our beloved.

Can you remember those first few months, when separation from her or him was pure torture? Where there were not two bodies but only a single body with four arms and four legs - no separation of thought, emotion or feelings? You and your partner were truly one.

What caused that! It didn't come from thinking or planning. It came from out of the blue. And not only that, it was so strong that it completely floored you. And right away, perhaps you made the mistake of saying the "you" were in love.

"We" are never in love; love just happens. It comes on it‘s own and when the time is right, it goes away on its own regardless of how we feel about it. By then, however, commitments are made, social and religious mores are mechanically set into motion, and regardless of how restricted we may feel, or dependent, or attached, or all of the other feelings that arise when the initial intense love feeling goes away - we are stuck.

The arrival of the first child usually wipes out any romantic notions, if they hadn't been crunched already. (Please remember that I am talking about the incredible, impossible to maintain feeling of romantic love, not the mature, almost business-like arrangements of a mature relationship based on mutual trust and compassion for the other person, along with the responsibility of raising children). But the romantic love, at least the way it was first felt, will never come back in exactly the same way.

Some people, understanding this, go from partner to partner never making any commitments because they know that the initial rush of a love affair will die quickly. And when it does, they can then go and find another. Of course, the problem is that like mainstreaming heroin, it takes more and more for less and less, and pretty soon the senses become desensitized and romantic love dies for good regardless of how creative we are in attempting to dredge it back up.

Either way - getting involved in a lifetime commitment based on an initial rush of love, or playing love until it is exhausted - we must eventually settle for second best regarding that tremendous, exhilarating feeling of freedom that maybe once in our lifetime we experienced - that feeling called unconditional love where we would sacrifice our lives, maybe even kill for our beloved. It's hard to fathom that in time, that feeling might change to where we want to kill our beloved!

And this now brings us to the point of discussing feelings.

Feelings come and go, just as thoughts and emotions come and go. When we act on a thought, emotion or feeling, we are responsible for all that washes over us because of that reaction. And usually the aftermath of acting on a strong emotion or feeling is tenfold more disturbing than the initial feeling of exuberance - or anger. There is nothing wrong with the feelings; they just happen. it is what we do with them that matters deeply.

Nature's provision of temporary insanity between lovers insures procreation of the species. However, lovers don't understand this, and when that first moment of boredom comes up in their romantic relationship, rather than accept the fact that the love dream is ending, what do lovers do? They plan out their future! This allays the boredom and allows them to pretend that their feelings of love can continue. This is the first step of delusion. This is where thought takes the place of the real, initial feeling of love, and where a huge displacement of reality takes place.

Then, the relationship, if it continues, becomes more or less a dependency in order to fill a void or hole in each other - all justified by social and religious mores. The couple, still dazed from their initial feelings of freedom, which is love, now buy into the whole scenario of social responsibility. And the divorce rate continues at about fifty percent!

Admitting that a mature relationship has nothing to do with romantic love, and everything to do with mutual dependency (taking care of each other's needs), goes a long way in cementing a long term relationship. So the next time you are about to tell your partner that you love them, simply say instead that, "I depend on you to fill a void in myself, therefore I love myself more than you!" Well, it‘s true isn‘t it? If you say no, then you might be in a serious state of denial or delusion!

So, what then is the most important thing in a romantic relationship?

The most important thing in a romantic relationship is understanding how our minds and emotions work. Understanding that all things change. And understanding that whatever we do based on feelings, emotions and, yes, even thought, will more often than not eventually come back around to bite us. But how can we live without feelings, emotions and thought?

Living beyond knee-jerk reactions brought on feelings, emotions, and thoughts is possible; it's called living by insight and wisdom.

And these two, insight and wisdom, are the doors to real, never-ending, unconditional love.

Author's Bio: 

Anagarika eddie is a meditation teacher at the Dhammabucha Rocksprings Meditation Retreat Sanctuary and author of “A Year to Enlightenment.” His 30 years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Thervada Buddhist monk.

He lived at Wat Pah Nanachat under Ajahn Chah, at Wat Pah Baan Taad under Ajahn Maha Boowa, and at Wat Pah Daan Wi Weg under Ajahn Tui. He had been a postulant at Shasta Abbey, a Zen Buddhist monastery in northern California under Roshi Kennett; and a Theravada Buddhist anagarika at both Amaravati Monastery in the UK and Bodhinyanarama Monastery in New Zealand, both under Ajahn Sumedho. The author has meditated with the Korean Master Sueng Sahn Sunim; with Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia; and with the Tibetan Master Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado. He has also practiced at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the Zen Center in San Francisco.