Today's Daily Dharma is a very useful look at the ways we can mistake attachment for love -- this has been a struggle for me in recent months, but one that seems to be coming more clear. Learning how to love fully and honestly without attachment is hard, but it makes the difference between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy one.
Love, but only if...
The near-enemy of love is attachment. Attachment masquerades as love. It says, "I will love you if you will love me back." It is a kind of "businessman's" love. So we think, "I will love this person as long as he doesn't change. I will love that thing if it will be the way I want it." But this isn't love at all--it is attachment. There is a big difference between love, which allows and honors and appreciates, and attachment, which grasps and demands and aims to possess. When attachment becomes confused with love, it actually separates us from another person. We feel we need this other person in order to be happy. This quality of attachment also leads us to offer love only toward certain people, excluding others.
~ Joseph Goldstein, in Seeking the Heart of Wisdom