As long as the ego runs your life, most of your thoughts, emotions, and actions arise from desire and fear. In relationships you then either want or fear something from the other person.
What you want from them may be pleasure or material gain, recognition, praise or attention, or a strengthening of your sense of self through comparison and through establishing that you are, have or know more than they. What you fear is that the opposite may be the case, and they may diminish your sense of self in some way.
When you make the present moment the focal point of your attention – instead of using it as a means to an end – you go beyond the ego and beyond the unconscious compulson to use people as a means to an end, the end being self-enhancement at the cost of others. When you give your fullest attention to whoever you are interacting with, you take past and future out of the relationship, except for practical matters. When you are fully present with everyone you meet, you relinquish the conceptual identify you made for them – your interpretation of who they are and what they did in the past – and are able to interact without the egoic movements of desire and fear. Attention, which is alert stillness, is the key.
How wonderful to go beyond wanting and fearing in your relationships. Love does not want or fear anything.
– Stillness Speaks, Relationships, Eckhart Tolle