The Fairytale of Unconditional Love

I used to believe unconditional love was the holy grail of romance. Now I think it’s the god of relationships. In other words, it doesn’t exist. Even when my expectations of a partner have been pathologically low, they still existed:

Don’t abuse me
Don’t violate my consent
Don’t lie to me

The fact that my list was so damned short was a symptom of just how unhealthy my psyche was at the time. I’ve since stretched that list somewhat, and I will declare it from the mountaintops: If you and I get involved, I will definitely place conditions on my love. I will likely care about your wellbeing regardless of what you do or don’t do, but I will not stay with you if you consistently trample all over my boundaries.

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The fact that my love is conditional is not a problem. It’s a sign that I’m capable of having a relationship that lasts longer than a week. Boundaries and limits cement relationships as much as moonlight and roses do. Without them, you and I are not going to get along.

Intolerance of abuse is the hallmark of good mental health. If you’re tolerating it, therapy is needed. Unconditional love is a red flag. It means you’re willing to sacrifice anything for another person, even if they treat you in a way that makes your happiness impossible.

Do you know what happens when two people repeatedly ignore one another’s needs and stomp all over each other’s boundaries? They break up really fucking quickly. It’s conditions that keep you together. Unconditional love is a fairy tale, and I challenge anyone requiring it to take a more realistic look at whether they offer what they’re demanding.

Do you honestly have zero expectations of the person you’re requiring unconditional love from? Will you feel comfortable regardless of how the person you’re living in tandem with behaves? Are you fine with infidelity, domestic violence, and manipulation? I thought not. Moving on then.

CatG said it better than I can:

”Changing the essence of who you are for another person is wrong, but changing the way you live your life to accommodate another person is absolutely right.”

Personality traits and behaviours are two different things. If you’re my partner, I require myself to love who you are, no conditions involved. But I also require you to be honest with me, to respect me, and yes, to love me. I will never ask you to change who you are, but if you treat me unethically, I will ask you to change those behaviours. See the difference?

My love is something that remains no matter what. In that sense, you could say I’m an unconditional love kind of person. But (and there’s always a but) I’ll only stay with you if you treat me with love and respect.

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