The title is provocative but sums up my problem: when I am immersed in Buddhist thought, I can no longer love my wife.
Buddhism clearly contradicts romantic love. It tolerates it up to a certain point: but in the absolute, the practitioner is invited to (or naturally abandons) his wife to become a monk.
To love one's wife romantically: it is to discriminate, it is to love her more than a cat or a neighbour for example, it is therefore to judge and prioritise. It is also to become attached: not wanting to share his wife, wanting to be with her, being sad when she is not there. It is impossible to love your wife romantically without becoming attached and/or without discriminating, putting her on a pedestal.
In the end, Buddhism invites us to be indiscriminate and have only unattached love (metta). From this point on, how can one continue to be married if one is sincere in one's practice? Love your wife in this way, unattached and loving her as much as anyone else, and tell me that she is satisfied.
The Buddhist ideal love is not romantic. Even if in theory the disciple can reach the sotapanna stage by staying married, isn't it hypocritical to stay married with that in mind? To love your wife until that stage knowing that you'll have to abandon her afterwards? How can you love your wife romantically, find her attractive, desirable and endearing, when you know that sooner or later this relationship will lead to pain and dissatisfaction and come to an end?
I'm not clear, I'm mixing everything up, but I'm really frustrated and angry. If I had realized all this before I got married, I wouldn't have done it. But here's the thing, now I'm married, and I feel trapped. Either I stay with her and make a cross on the Nibbana, or I leave her to become a monk like the Buddha did and I make her suffer. How do you tell your wife that you will love her forever? How can you love her when you know it won't be forever and you directly perceive the dukkha of this relationship?
As soon as I clearly see impermanence and dukkha, I can no longer let myself be caught up in the flow of life and love unconsciously. I hope that I am clear, I expect the usual answers "it is not all black and white, a married disciple can reach sotapanna" etc., but this kind of arguments do not work with me, I live them as pure hypocrisy. I should forget the impermanence and the dukkha of our relationship, stay in the sweet reassuring illusion of our romantic love and tell her that I love her knowing that I should abandon her after sotapanna?
I love her, that's not the problem, I'm angry that my commitment contradicts the absolute truths of Buddhism and is an obstacle to my progress. I hope I am clear and that you understand me...
In short: how do you succeed in loving your wife romantically and not abandoning her when you know that you will need to abandon her after sotapanna, that you will never be able to reach Nibbana by loving her, when you see directly the dukkha of your marriage, when you know that it is touched from the start by the seal of impermanence, when you know that it is an attachment from which you will have to free yourself, and so on?
To put it plainly: how can one love one's wife romantically when this act contradicts all the truths of Buddhism? By deliberately remaining lukewarm and settling for half-truths?