Emotional intimacy only for couples? Why is it not needed?

Balancing family life and the Dhamma, in pursuit of a happy lay life.
GoodMorning
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Emotional intimacy only for couples? Why is it not needed?

Post by GoodMorning » Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:58 pm

Since my youth, I have had a compulsion and drive to live a life of singlehood and seclusion in peace and tranquility and attain a from happiness this way. And in my private life, this is what I done more or less for the past decades. I can say that this my single life has been worth living for me, and I have experienced moments of happiness and difficulties as well, but I certainly have not been miserable in such a condition.

However, it happens that while working with a co-worker I developed romantic feelings (involuntarily) but this is an impossible love. This has made acutely made me aware ofr my lack of emotional intimacy with a significant other, I have developed feelings of jealousy for couples in general and specifically, the solitude I have led in single life has becomes an terrible loneliness in this condition, and my life has felt devoid of meaning. My hope is that this is a temporary condition, and once it subsides I will go back to the single life I know and cherish.

Yet as I have experienced the need for emotional intimacy I wonder whether I will be wounded and unhappy from now on in a state of singlehood. After considering that monks/nuns also lead single and celibate lifes and live in fullilment, perhaps you can make me feel at ease in my grave concerns that emotional intimacy is needed to live a fulfilled life and what conditions may have to occur for this to be the case. Many thanks.

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Antaradhana
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Re: Emotional intimacy only for couples? Why is it not needed?

Post by Antaradhana » Sun Jun 23, 2019 9:30 pm

If you have the opportunity to distance yourself from the bonds, then it is good if you devote your time to Dhamma.

I will leave it here:

Udāna 8.8 The Discourse about Visākhā

Thus i heard: At one time the Gracious One was dwelling near Sāvatthī, at the Eastern Monastery in Migāra’s mother’s mansion. Then at that time Migāra’s mother Visākhā’s grand-daughter, who was beloved and dear, had died.

Then Migāra’s mother Visākhā, with wet clothes and hair, in the middle of the day went to the Gracious One, and after going and worshipping the Gracious One, she sat down on one side.

While sat on one side the Gracious One said this to Migāra’s mother Visākhā: “Now where have you come from, Visākhā, with wet clothes and hair, and why are you coming here in the middle of the day?”

“My grand-daughter, who was beloved and dear, reverend Sir, has died. That is why, with wet clothes and hair, I am coming here in the middle of the day.”

“Would you like, Visākhā, as many children and grand-children as there are people in Sāvatthī?”

“I would like, Gracious One, as many children and grand-children as there are people in Sāvatthī.”

“But how many people, Visākhā, die every day in Sāvatthī?”

“Ten people, reverend Sir, die every day in Sāvatthī, nine people, reverend Sir, die every day in Sāvatthī, eight people, reverend Sir, die every day in Sāvatthī, seven people, reverend Sir, die every day in Sāvatthī, six people, reverend Sir, die every day in Sāvatthī, five people, reverend Sir, die every day in Sāvatthī, four people, reverend Sir, die every day in Sāvatthī, three people, reverend Sir, die every day in Sāvatthī, two people, reverend Sir, die every day in Sāvatthī, one person, reverend Sir, dies every day in Sāvatthī, Sāvatthī is never secluded from people who are dying.”

“Now what do you think, Visākhā, would you ever be without wet clothes and hair?”

“Surely not, reverend Sir, I have had enough, reverend Sir, with so many children and grand-children!”

“For those who have a hundred loves, Visākhā, they have a hundred sufferings, for those who have ninety loves, they have ninety sufferings, for those who have eighty loves, they have eighty sufferings, for those who have seventy loves, they have seventy sufferings, for those who have sixty loves, they have sixty sufferings, for those who have fifty loves, they have fifty sufferings, for those who have forty loves, they have forty sufferings, for those who have thirty loves, they have thirty sufferings, for those who have twenty loves, they have twenty sufferings, for those who have ten loves, they have ten sufferings, for those who have nine loves, they have nine sufferings, for those who have eight loves, they have eight sufferings, for those who have seven loves, they have seven sufferings, for those who have six loves, they have six sufferings, for those who have five loves, they have five sufferings, for those who have four loves, they have four sufferings, for those who have three loves, they have three sufferings, for those who have two loves, they have two sufferings, for those who have one love, they have one suffering, for those who love nothing, they have no sorrow. They are griefless, dust-free, and without despair, I say.”

Then the Gracious One, having understood the significance of it, on that occasion uttered this exalted utterance:

“Whatever griefs or lamentations there are,
And the many kinds of suffering in the world,
These all arise because of love,
Without loves, these do not originate.

“Therefore they are happy and free from grief,
Who are without love for anything in the world,
Therefore those wanting what is griefless, dust-free,
Should not have love for anything in the world”.


https://suttacentral.net/ud8.8/en/anandajoti
All that is subject to arising is subject to termination, all formations are non-permanent. And that which is impermanent is suffering. Regarding what is impermanent and prone to suffering, one cannot say: "This is mine, I am this, this is my self".

santa100
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Re: Emotional intimacy only for couples? Why is it not needed?

Post by santa100 » Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:05 pm

GoodMorning wrote:After considering that monks/nuns also lead single and celibate lifes and live in fullilment, perhaps you can make me feel at ease in my grave concerns that emotional intimacy is needed to live a fulfilled life and what conditions may have to occur for this to be the case.
The problem is that it's a 50/50 chance that one'll attain emotional intimacy living with a spouse. If one's lucky, one will get emotional intimacy, but there're plenty of cases where all one gets is emotional trauma/abuse instead. Beside, the moment one's decided to take the big plunge and leave the single life behind, one'd better be prepared for a potential loss of personal freedom and a guaranteed increase in responsibilities (to take care of one's spouse, one's children, families on the spouse side, etc.). Being fully aware of the reality and all the pros and cons, one'd be in a better position to decide the proper course of action for their life. Good luck.

GoodMorning
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Re: Emotional intimacy only for couples? Why is it not needed?

Post by GoodMorning » Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:05 am

“Therefore they are happy and free from grief,
Who are without love for anything in the world,
Therefore those wanting what is griefless, dust-free,
Should not have love for anything in the world”


Thank you, I have read the above and would like to start practicing the Dhamma. But I have some questions on the above:
The love I felt came involuntarily to me or so I think; if this can come to you involuntarily, then how can be sure to not have love for anything?
Also, love in other traditions is seen as a positive (self-less love, agape, etc. ..); does this teaching recommend these types of love to be excluded as well? I can see romantic love as one to exclude , but the other more 'noble' types as well?. Thank you.

GoodMorning
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Re: Emotional intimacy only for couples? Why is it not needed?

Post by GoodMorning » Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:13 am

Or I would like to believe then that emotional intimacy is not needed at all in and that one can be happy and fulfilled in life without it as a single person. I certainly don't want to denigrate this, it is a precious thing and privilege for those who go through the hardships of relationships. But at the same time, if you go looking for advice, all I have found is that we are social creatures and that we needed a significant other otherwise to share emotions and other more intense forms of contact or we are deficient, or immature in some manner, and we are missing in life. If you might think otherwise share with me so that I can believe as well!

befriend
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Re: Emotional intimacy only for couples? Why is it not needed?

Post by befriend » Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:56 am

spending decades in solitude is my goal. How did you do that?
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

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Antaradhana
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Re: Emotional intimacy only for couples? Why is it not needed?

Post by Antaradhana » Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:29 am

GoodMorning wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:05 am
Thank you, I have read the above and would like to start practicing the Dhamma. But I have some questions on the above:
The love I felt came involuntarily to me or so I think; if this can come to you involuntarily, then how can be sure to not have love for anything?
Also, love in other traditions is seen as a positive (self-less love, agape, etc. ..); does this teaching recommend these types of love to be excluded as well? I can see romantic love as one to exclude , but the other more 'noble' types as well?
All samsar phenomena are conditioned and have their reasons. There can be no attachment to anything without thirst. To love is to be attached to the dear. Even the highest types of love are based on different types of thirst, be it the love of a mother for a child, children for a mother, love for a woman, for art or for a homeland.

The practitioner himself decides which level of practice to choose. Either the worldly way of accumulating merit, which allows for family life, love, sex, children, and other worldly [s]joys[/s] solicitudes. Either the way of renouncing the worldly, with striving towards nibbana in this life.

But the laymen are also instructed in the higher ideal. Because inspired by the instructions about renunciation, they move to it and decide to become a monk.
All that is subject to arising is subject to termination, all formations are non-permanent. And that which is impermanent is suffering. Regarding what is impermanent and prone to suffering, one cannot say: "This is mine, I am this, this is my self".

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Mkoll
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Re: Emotional intimacy only for couples? Why is it not needed?

Post by Mkoll » Mon Jun 24, 2019 2:15 am

GoodMorning wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:05 am
“Therefore they are happy and free from grief,
Who are without love for anything in the world,
Therefore those wanting what is griefless, dust-free,
Should not have love for anything in the world”


Thank you, I have read the above and would like to start practicing the Dhamma. But I have some questions on the above:
The love I felt came involuntarily to me or so I think; if this can come to you involuntarily, then how can be sure to not have love for anything?
Also, love in other traditions is seen as a positive (self-less love, agape, etc. ..); does this teaching recommend these types of love to be excluded as well? I can see romantic love as one to exclude , but the other more 'noble' types as well?. Thank you.
There is a wholesome kind of love in the Buddha's teachings called metta. It's essentially a universal wish for the happiness of all beings without exception. Its cultivation is often encouraged, especially for laypeople. Here is a translation of the most famous sutta about it:
Karaniya Metta Sutta wrote:This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech,
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied,
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm and wise and skillful,
Not proud or demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born —
May all beings be at ease!

Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world:
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

GoodMorning
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Re: Emotional intimacy only for couples? Why is it not needed?

Post by GoodMorning » Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:13 am

befriend wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:56 am
spending decades in solitude is my goal. How did you do that?
I am certainly not the best exponent of practicing solitude, compared to the hermits who have practiced solitude to a far greater degree during much more time. However to the extent I have sought to emulate them in my life in the western world, I have followed the ordinary lifestyle of a layman, worked to get an education, a job, and have lived in my own apartment in a life of voluntary simplicity. I have then spent my private life in solitude with my hobbies and interests, with occasional contact with my family or few friends, not including professional activities at my work. If you are referring to living without human contact for decades, then I would equally curious as to how people might do this. They would have to be self-sufficient in many regards.

GoodMorning
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Re: Emotional intimacy only for couples? Why is it not needed?

Post by GoodMorning » Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:14 am

Thank you all for such wise instruction! :bow:

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cappuccino
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Re: Emotional intimacy only for couples? Why is it not needed?

Post by cappuccino » Mon Jun 24, 2019 4:44 am

Why is it not needed?
dogs need it, trees don't

Buddhism is sort of like nature

Dan74
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Re: Emotional intimacy only for couples? Why is it not needed?

Post by Dan74 » Mon Jun 24, 2019 6:09 am

Hello GoodMorning :hello:

All aspirational stuff aside, some of the best advice I've had from Buddhist teachers was to practice with what we are here-and-now, rather than neglect that and build up aspirations and hopes. Here-and-now you long for a relationship. This is exactly the place to bring practice to. Not the tug-o-war of "is it good? should I not? maybe...?". To bring awareness, deep and careful attention and honesty to where you are right now is important. What you will do is something no one can tell, nor can we say what is best for you. Renouncing relationship and intimacy prematurely can lead to harm. And sometimes renunciates return to lay life after decades because they feel that this part has never had a chance to develop. Dhamma practice is not a stright path for most.

Another great advice I received is that before you can give something up, you've got to have it first. If sensuality and intimacy have not developed, how can you give them up? Usually after the right button is pushed, they spring to life upsetting all sorts of plans. Only once they have been fully faced, can they be renounced with full awareness.

Intimacy can be a fertile ground for practice too, whichever way it goes. And ultimately we have to ask ourselves the big question: what is our purpose with all this? With Buddhadhamma, with seclusion, with intimacy? Ask our hearts, not being satisfied with a nice-sounding answer.

Good luck with it!

_/|\_
_/|\_

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Antaradhana
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Re: Emotional intimacy only for couples? Why is it not needed?

Post by Antaradhana » Mon Jun 24, 2019 10:18 am

Mkoll wrote:
Mon Jun 24, 2019 2:15 am
There is a wholesome kind of love in the Buddha's teachings called metta. It's essentially a universal wish for the happiness of all beings without exception. Its cultivation is often encouraged, especially for laypeople.
It is wrong to translate 'metta' the word love. Metta is kindness, goodwill.
All that is subject to arising is subject to termination, all formations are non-permanent. And that which is impermanent is suffering. Regarding what is impermanent and prone to suffering, one cannot say: "This is mine, I am this, this is my self".

befriend
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Re: Emotional intimacy only for couples? Why is it not needed?

Post by befriend » Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:33 pm

Metta is unconditional love nothing wrong with that
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

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SDC
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Re: Emotional intimacy only for couples? Why is it not needed?

Post by SDC » Mon Jun 24, 2019 9:18 pm

I'm going to move this to the Family life and Relationships section.

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