3 Secrets to Loving without Attachment.

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greta garbo vintage couple love

I have walked over red hot coals without burning my feet.

But, when I step into romance I often get burned. This is because I ride the wild flow of love all the way to attachment. And as incredible as love is, attachment is just that awful.


Attachment, on the front side, is quite like love. It is the delicious experience of forgetting about oneself, focusing attention on a perfect being: the object of our love.

But on the backside, attachment bites hard, breaking hearts, ignoring needs and offering drama without love. Sure, attachment gives birth to great poetry, fine country songs and unlimited downside sensations; but, it also gives love a bad name, convinces us that we can’t live without someone we haven’t known for long and that our sole goal in life is to please another.


Love flows. It has no purpose and no object. It offers the experience of walking inches off the pavement, untouchable by mundane problems and full of giddy sensations. When it doesn’t lead to attachment it shows the way to “big” love: love of all that is, love of the morning dew, last night’s leftovers and all encompassing sensations of inclusion.

Keeping love from careening into attachment isn’t easy, but here are three secrets that will help you bask in love without the ball and chain of attachment.

First Secret

Ask yourself, “What am I in love with?”

If there is an object: a person, a place, a thing, a thought, or an experience you are in love with, then it isn’t love. You are already focused on the object and not the flow, and you are already on your way to attachment to that object or person.

I was walking down the street with my friend Bill. He was in love, new love. He loved the crab apple trees in bloom, the cracks in the sidewalk, the blue sky and puffy white clouds. He loved the sound of his own voice, every feeling and newfound relaxation: with nowhere to go, he had already arrived.

A week later I met him for lunch. He had moved from love to attachment. He spoke only of his new girlfriend and was more absent than present. Love was over and he was already speaking of her as “the one,” the woman he will marry.

He was in love with her and only her—meaning that it wasn’t really love; it was attachment to her, and attachment never goes well. Attachment is a poor replacement for love—it’s needy, clingy and stifling.

Love flows freely to and from everything, attachment attaches, making us prisoners. Let go of attachment, flow with love.

Second Secret

Love doesn’t mean that we have to live together, see each other again or darn each other’s socks. It is a deep fulfilling experience that is gone as fast as it arrives.

Attachment is what happens when we try and hold onto love, domesticate it, or use it prove how lovable we are.

Wild horses run free—love is like that. It’s no beast of burden, it doesn’t prove anything, and it won’t succumb to our wishes. It makes us crazy in wonderful ways; it has us stay up late into the night hugging and giggling. It sweeps away our concerns and worries and makes us feel invincible and at the same time loving and loved equally.

Attachment wants something. It wants to be loved, it wants a future, a structure, a solution to the experience of being alone.

If you find yourself enjoying the moment you just might be in love. If you are trying to plan the future, monopolize your sweetheart’s time, or are acting terribly needy then you are likely attached.

If you imagine that you can’t live without him/her, then it is time to do just that. If your own neediness eclipses their best interest, it is time to set them, and yourself, free. Letting go isn’t easy, but the alternative—holding on with white knuckles for dear life—is worse.

Third Secret

Beware of perfection. Nobody is perfect, and love loves warts, burps, poverty, stubbed toes, and broken hearts.

Attachment is super critical, controlling, and serious. If you find yourself trying to make decisions for your sweetie, lecturing your loved one or slipping into the role of disapproving spouse, then attachments have you.

Love cures attachment. It loves what is, what was and what will be. Let the love flow and it will wash attachment away.

More Love

I used to run marathons, that is 26 miles 385 yards. It’s a long run and relationships can be a long run as well. The secret to running marathons is to be there each moment running. The secret to successful long term love is being present, not anticipating a future together, leaning on the past or attempting to ever control whether your sweetie stays or goes.

Love will visit a relationship many times over the years. And each time it visits, it will also leave. Trying to corral love, to tame it or hold onto it turns it into attachment.

Let go, let the love flow, let it come and let it go.

Throw a stick in a fast flowing stream. The stick will flow with the stream, get stuck, and flow again. Love is the flow, attachment the stuckness, and we are the lovely little stick in a current of love.




Author: Jerry Stocking

Images: Flickr/Sean MacEntee, Elephant Instagram

Editor: Travis May

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Jerry Stocking is a modern day Thoreau who left the fast paced world as a stock broker and moved to the woods. He now spends his time helping others, and himself, express their zest for life.

He lives his life with heart wide open on a 33 acre blueberry farm with two ponds and a peaceful pace. Often writing at 3 a.m., there are no social conventions here, just the pursuit of possibilities and unconditional love.

To find out more, take a peek at this “Getting the Joke.”, or read Jerry’s free e-book download his free e-book., visit his website
for some inspiration…

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Sooz Mann Nov 22, 2018 6:11am

Very…..something. Explain live in a committed relationship, a long and fulfilling marriage, a lifetime friendship. All this comes with some form of attachment. Not all attachment is bad and too label it so is one dimensional.

Sweetie Hein Jul 11, 2018 1:16pm

Thank you.

Mary Grace Jul 9, 2018 9:22am

Good read..

Pragya Shrestha Pradhan Jul 8, 2018 5:46am

I wish it was easy!! I am so stuck and I no I have to get over this but I just CAN’T!!

Joyreen Treasure Jan 25, 2018 6:05am

Thank you

Raneigh Aguilera Jan 18, 2018 4:36pm

I’m little confused so I feel like that I’m in a state where I love everything like literally the spider that I can’t see well that was a little to much and I know the roots of it it is a person ho made me see that but I don’t want to attach him and I’m greatefull for this in the moment even if nothing happens later but then this makes it seem like marriage is not option cuz it attaches so like is it bad 🤷🏼‍♀️

Constance Freundt Jan 2, 2018 2:15am

This is interesting, but what I would like to know is what does non-attachment look like in a relationship. I am interested in the nuts and bolts, not just the overview. Thanks.

Sheena Mae Aguilar Oct 30, 2017 4:48pm

Beautiful. I've learned and gained so much learning the three secrets. So insightful!

Megan VerPlancke Jun 1, 2017 11:06pm

Beautiful being! Thank you!

Ceci Trigos Jun 1, 2017 3:32am

What a wise view of relationships.:) Thank You Jerry!

Line Toft Jensen Jan 28, 2017 3:18pm

Thank you Jerry Stocking. Such a strong and clever view of perspective. You just made me realize I am stuck. And you just inspired me to let my lovely little stick flow wildly and freely with passion and graze.

Teena Carter Jan 28, 2017 2:32pm

Thank you Jerry Stocking!

Collin Burgess Sep 9, 2016 3:13pm

Reading this came at a perfect time for me. Thank you! Also, love that you weaved the Stones in there a couple of times.

Sumeet Gupta Sep 9, 2016 7:11am

Very insightful

Melina Powers Sep 3, 2016 6:51pm