What Dating Taught Me About Love & Detachment

Earlier in the year, I found myself back in the throws of the dating game. After a long term relationship ended – and I needed taking several months off to hibernate and heal – I decided it was time to embrace my single status and begin navigating the journey of opening up to new men and getting back out in to the world.

I love relationships, whatever shape or form they come in, as they are incredible opportunities for you to learn about yourself, break down the walls around your heart and truly embrace vulnerability.

They are powerful teachers and platforms to experience deep self awareness and express yourself with another.

 

The Dating Game

Dating is no different. It is vulnerability central.

After all, there is nothing more petrifying than that first meeting. Fumbling with initial small talk, sizing up this newbie while knowing they are doing the exact same thing to you, and trying to remain calm and together while the eyes of a complete stranger bear down on you.

Sometimes you have to play the dating game for a while before you find someone where something clicks.

As you meet a stream of strangers, you secretly hope that he will be the one which sparks that feeling of excitement in your belly, makes you giggle nervously and has you struggling to maintain eye contact because all you can think of is kissing him.

It is the feeling we all long for. It is why we endure the journey of dating.

My click moment came relatively early in the piece. I had only been back on the scene for a few short weeks before I met him. The beginning of our time together felt like an intense whirlwind that I found myself swept up in. Work fell by the wayside, I walked around in a lust-filled daze and thoughts of him consumed my mind endlessly.

And while most of the time things felt rosy, beautiful and effortless, at times I noticed a new energy start to creep in.

Attachment.

It is the energy that transforms you from that glowing goddess that he cannot get enough of, to the clingy, needy girl that makes him want to run in the other direction.

 

Fear, Need & Attachment

Attachment stems from a place of fear and overflows with the repelling energy of need. And it is a sure fire way to ruin a relationship.

It begins with that dull ache of anxiety. Feelings of insecurity niggle within you. There is a knot in your belly and tightness in your chest. 

Over-analysis creeps in. You find yourself searching for signs to validate their feelings for you. You are unsettled, worried and scared that they will lose interest, grow bored and the glow will wear off.

It plays out as Facebook stalking, constant phone checking “Have they texted back yet?”. Instagram stalking. Checking your phone again “How long since they last replied?” More social media stalking. 

How you feel seems to rest delicately on their actions. Your feelings oscillate between excitement and disappointment, lust and fear, peace and anxiety, ease and chaos. And the like…

I could go on, but I know you can already relate.

When we become attached (whether it be to a person, a job, money or an outcome) our energy shrinks and contracts. We become clingy and needy as we are relying upon this external situation to make us feel a certain way. We are constantly scared of losing this situation out of fear of what it will mean about us.

So pay close attention to how you are feeling. The minute you start to get that niggle of insecurity, that bubble of anxiety, that frenetic thought pattern around them, you know you’ve fallen in. Your attention has drifted from yourself and is now solely on them, wanting and needing them. 

 

Love Without Attachment

To create true, deep, lasting loving relationships, you need to know that you are the source of the love that you seek. For as long as you see that person as the one who has to validate you, make you feel enough, and fill up the emptiness within you, you will be caught in a cycle of fear and need.

Love without attachment feels light, expansive, free and soft. Love without attachment is playful. Detached love allows each person to be who they are. It is free from expectations. It is the absence of need.

It doesn’t mean you let someone walk all over you, or treat you in a way that is any less than you deserve. In fact, it is the opposite.

You are so attentive to your own needs, so supporting of yourself and so loving that you know what is and isn’t right for you. And when you show up from this beautiful space, you can then share that incredible feeling with another.

This is not about trying to be perfect, but rather being conscious and aware of your inner reserves, and knowing how to top them up when they are running low, rather than expecting another to do it for you.

The relationship simply becomes a dance. An opportunity to express the love you feel within you.

You overflow on to one another. You both bring love to the table. There is a life force between you. 

 

To Create Love, Without Need:

+ Notice when the niggling patterns of anxiety and insecurity arise. In those moments stop. Don’t text, call or reach out. Instead check in with yourself and ask yourself what you need right now. Learn how to fill yourself up with the feelings you desire to feel in the relationship.
+ Approach relationships with the desire to share, play and express who you are with another, rather than from a space of need.
+ Let them be who they are and appreciate them wherever you can, rather than criticising when they don’t meet your expectations.
+ Have a life outside of the relationship and stay connected your friendships to avoid placing too much pressure on this new love.
+ Let there be space. Be comfortable being on your own without them, and let them have a life outside of you.
+ Love yourself enough so that you will still be ok if the relationship ends.
+ Practise communicating your feelings from a calm space rather than when you are feeling reactive or needy.
+ Check in with yourself regularly and learn how to support yourself when you are feeling the need for some love, care and affection.
+ Have interests, hobbies or things you love to do that bring passion and excitement to your life outside of the relationship.
+ Own your crap, be aware of any baggage you are bringing to a relationship and take responsibility for it, rather than projecting it on to another. 

 

I would love to know your thoughts on the practise of love and detachment. Have you fallen in to that needy, fearful, attached space before? Share your experiences with me in the comments.

With love.

Connie x

38 thoughts on “What Dating Taught Me About Love & Detachment”

  1. Wow-powerful as always Connie! That needy energy is all too familiar, I’m definitely going to be checking in to are what I am needing. Your posts always seem to speak to me! Xx

    1. Thank you Ness! I wanted to share this as I feel that having the awareness of this pattern really helps us catch it, and shift our attention back onto ourselves x

  2. Connie,
    Very well written and from the heart, extremely powerful… Thank you for sharing… I think we have all been caught up in being attached through some form or another. I’ve recently been through a similar situation myself and to hear it from you and explained in a way that speaks to me on so many levels… Thank u

    1. Thanks Scott. It is easy to get caught up in, but I am glad what I have shared has been supportive for you. I find that the awareness of the pattern helps so much and it means we can catch it out when it arises in the future!

    2. Scott, thank you for leaving a comment. I thought it is only women go through these emotions. You have no idea how good to know that men feel the same. Probably “good” is not the right word here… But hope you understand what I mean

  3. Wow, the timing of this article is pure magic to me! I, too have recently been back into dating and as if in a whirlwind the universe brought me two guys at once last week. One of them has already fallen away by my own preference. But the other is someone I’ve had a crush on for four years! Your description of the butterflies is so spot on, Connie! So of course, this weekend when I didn’t hear from him attachment creeped up on me majorly. I happened to bump into him yesterday and I felt so flustered and awkward. I’ve been struggling not to completely beat up on myself. Today I’ve completely pulled inward and I’m reconnecting to myself again and will now be applying these practices! Thank you so much for this article because it has instantly made me feel softer toward myself. I want to be gentle with myself when I feel this way. Your expression of your human experience always touches me right in the heart, Connie.

    1. “…Today I’ve completely pulled inward and I’m reconnecting to myself again…” YES Whitney this is the key!! The minute our focus and attention drifts to them, we have lost it, but all we need to do is come back to ourselves, reconnect, tune back in and realign. Then we are back on track x

  4. Feeling this way lately. I notice it every time I start to care about a new person…It’s a horrible feeling. I don’t know why I get that way when I am so cool and calm in the beginning. I think since I turned 29 it has gotten worse because I have babies and marriage on my mind. This is good advice!

    1. I agree Brianna, it is when we start to place pressure on that relationship to become something that it starts to unravel. But I encourage you to just really savour and enjoy those moments with your new partner. Be in the ‘now’ with them and trust that the future will take care of itself x

  5. Wow Connie, your posts are always incredibly timely and so wise! I’ve just re-entered the dating game for the first time in well over a decade, and doing my best to come from a place of love and independence rather than neediness. Where my last relationship was with someone incredibly needy, I have now met a man that imbues self love with his strong sense of self and independence. While I have done my best not to fall in love, I am, and found the first hurdle caused emotional upheaval (significant disappointment) that I didn’t expect. On one hand I want so much to be independent, on the other hand my long-term relationship has made being a ‘couple’ a very easy habit to slip into – one completely foreign to my new man! I’ll be clipping your advice, printing it out and sticking it on my fridge as a reminder to look inward and to practice my own self love 🙂 Thank you as always, beautiful Connie! xx

    1. Oh Kate! Thank you for your gorgeous, authentic and honest comment. I love that you have attracted a new love and a new opportunity to practise completely opening to the relationship in a deep way, while still being able to support yourself and find your own self love. It is a tricky balance, but it seems you have manifested him to be the perfect teacher to help you. Lots of love to you xx

    1. Thank you beautiful. It is such an easy trap to get stuck in so I felt to shine a massive spotlight on it x

  6. Love this post – agree with all of it! The only one I struggle with is this one: + Check in with yourself regularly and learn how to support yourself when you are feeling the need for some love, care and affection.

    What do other people do to get those feelings/needs met without the other person?

    1. What I would recommend is that you practise checking in yourself regularly and asking “how am I feeling right now?” and then also asking “what do I need and/or how do I want to feel?” And start by learning to listen to yourself and attend to your wants and needs. Then, you can identify a few key feelings that support you, such as feeling cared for, feeling at peace or feeling safe. And then do a little brainstorm of all the things that help you feel that way (no matter how small). I hope that helps x

  7. Such a timely post for me. The worst part about all of this is that I KNOW when I am suddenly feeling needy and scattered. And then the battle begins – on the one shoulder I am hearing my calm voice of love, and on the other is my voice of fear. And sometimes it’s so hard not to drown in the fear and succumb to that horrible, anxious energy. And in those moments, all you want to do is reach out to them so that they can reassure you that they still feel the same! Which is, of course, absolutely not what you should do. But so hard. So thank you for this post, it is hugely comforting and wise, as always! Xxx

    1. Ellie, you have described it perfectly.. there is often that battle of the two voices. But the first step is the awareness of that and then the next is practising where we can to tune in to the calming voice and soothe ourselves in that moment, rather than allowing the fear voice to take over x

  8. This was beautiful. Thank you for sharing your personal story and insight on this, I think we can all relate to that feeling of vulnerability and neediness. Lots of love xo

    1. Thank you Alexis, it took courage to post this actually! But I think sharing my experience has been really supportive for so many others x

  9. Thank you for such an amazing post, Connie. Thank you for being so open. It blows my mind. How often we would cover these feelings up instead of simply recognizing them so we can change something.
    Before I read your post I actually was thinking how much I don’t want to feel that need and insecurity. That I want to feel full without someone else giving me that feeling. And then I read your post. Amazing! As many of us told this – right timing!

    1. I agree Olya, we completely distract ourselves from those feelings, and often putting our attention on the other person is a way we do that. I want to encourage you to shift your focus to what you DO want. So, if you DON’T want to feel neediness and insecurity, what DO you want to feel instead? x

  10. Connie – you are such an inspiration for me. Really! Reading your blog has given me such a peace of mind, such guidance and wisdom on embracing challenging situations with love!

    I so relate to this. As someone who has struggled with this for a long time, it certainly takes a lot of love to be in a relationship where you feel secure and confident 90% of the time. I think I am still learning about this myself at the moment – I have chosen to spend these next few months really building upon the relationship that I have with myself so that when I do find myself in another relationship, I can approach it with a strong sense of who I am!

    Thank you and much love!!

    Jo

    1. Thank you Jo. I am in the exact same boat! I have just moved in to an apartment on my own and I am really focusing on building a strong, intimate, loving and deeply connected relationship with myself. It often feels easier to look for another for that, but it takes courage and strength to first find it within ourselves x

  11. Wow, the timing of this article is pure magic to me! I, too have recently been back into dating and as if in a whirlwind the universe brought me two guys at once last week. One of them has already fallen away by my own preference. But the other is someone I’ve had a crush on for four years! Your description of the butterflies is so spot on, Connie! So of course, this weekend when I didn’t hear from him attachment creeped up on me majorly. I happened to bump into him yesterday and I felt so flustered and awkward. I’ve been struggling not to completely beat up on myself. Today I’ve completely pulled inward and I’m reconnecting to myself again and will now be applying these practices! Thank you so much for this article because it has instantly made me feel softer toward myself. I want to be gentle with myself when I feel this way. Your expression of your human experience always touches me right in the heart, Connie.

    1. Oh wow, our journeys are really mirroring each other! So glad that this came at the exact right time for you 🙂 and YES the answer always lies in bringing our attention back to ourselves and reconnecting inwards. That is the only place we will find what we are seeking xx

  12. Gorgeous post Connie. I wish I understood all of this when I was in my 20s! I had a few potential relationships that could have flourished, but I was too focused on the outcome and on my expectations, that I’m sure I pushed a few of them away. I’ve now ended up with a beautiful man who’s never sparked any of the insecurities I had when I was younger…perhaps it’s also down to timing, maturity and self-belief that ‘the one’ is out there. xx

    1. I believe every relationship (even the ones that don’t work out) are incredible teachers and they were all part of the preparation in getting you ready for ‘the one’. It is beautiful you can look back and see those old patterns, but also see now how much you have grown beyond them x

  13. I love love love these kind of blogpost, I read them again and again to remind myself of these things. I really think these kind of topics are your talents, you are so wise! I hope you gonna write more of these post again, because video’s are not really my thing. I love the text that I can read and visualize at the same time (with the video’s thats hard for me).

    1. Thanks for the feedback Kelly, it is awesome to hear that this is the type of post you can come to time and time again for support x

  14. Hi Connie,
    I know it’s been years since this was posted. But I’ve just started dating recently and this was something I really needed to hear. It’s been a little over a month but I’ve had periods where I don’t hear from him or it seems distant and then the anxiety starts setting in. I start to feel stressed and worried and then conscious of myself. This post is helping me let go of that worry and anxiety. It’s hard, but your words helped alot. So I just wanted to thank you for posting this.

  15. Wow, Connie, thank you so much for your heartfelt, but to the point words. Reading about anxious attachment can sometimes make me even harder on myself than I was already, but after reading your wise words I feel empowered and grounded (so much so I took some notes and stuck them to my wall). These are the exact reminders I needed as I am in the midst of navigating my anxious tendencies in a new relationship.
    Additionally, it always seems easier to put the blame on the other person for things they “aren’t” doing, rather than looking at my own behaviours. This blog helped me look at my actions/thoughts in a very gentle, caring way.
    Thank you for the reminders xx

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