Love, as a continuous state, is as-yet very rare. As rare as conscious human beings. (Eckhart Tolle)
Romantic relationships, on one level, are extremely satisfying. You are in love. You feel alive. Your existence feels meaningful. You feel complete when you are together. The feeling is so intense that it becomes addictive. From a deep sense of neediness comes the fear of abandonment. This clinging is the cause of the negative side of the relationship.
Most romantic relationships oscillate between the positive and the negative every few days, weeks or months. The negative manifests as “possessiveness, jealousy, control, withdrawal and unspoken resentment, the need to be right, insensitivity and self-absorption, emotional demands and manipulation, the urge to argue, criticize, judge, blame or attack, anger, rage and physical violence.” -Eckhart Tolle
“Was it love in the first place, or just an addictive grasping and clinging?”
The romantic love relationship seems to offer relief from the suffering of this life. But without a deeper spiritual awakening, it doesn’t work for long. The positive turns to negative and back again. The relationship spirals downward because so much damage is being done along the way. The ego cannot forgive, so the relationship eventually collapses under its own weight. In time, you come to believe that the other person is not relief from suffering; rather, the cause of it. The feeling is mutual. You can stay together and suffer or leave. Neither option offers much hope.
There is another way. You can end the cycle now. You will not find salvation in the current relationship nor the next one, but you can find it in the present moment. Rather than trying to be in love, you can be love.
Let go of the past, the expectations, and the clinging. Free yourself and your partner from the rules and demands. Love yourself and your partner unconditionally. Practice total honesty, communicating only in the language of love. This is love as a continuous state, where there is no negative and positive—just love. This is easy to do when free of ego, but impossible when identified with it.