The premise of unconditional love is an alluring one but not necessarily a realistic one. The idea that someone would continue to love you stand stand by your side regardless of your mistakes, shortcomings, and difficult quirks may seem reasonable in a long-term relationship, the reality is often exhausting if not downright impossible. Is unconditional love even a real thing, and if it is, should you bother striving for it or are you better with something a little more down-to-earth? Here are some things to consider.
- Long-term love rarely comes without strings attached. Unconditional love implies that there’s nothing that can happen, no action the object of this love could do, to break this love, and that’s kind of ridiculous. If you respect yourself and know your worth, it’s unlikely that you’re going to continue loving someone who lies to you, cheats on you, or just treats you poorly. Relationships should be reciprocal, and when we don’t get what we are giving, we tend to run in the other direction (or at least we should).
- Certain aspects of love are unconditional by nature. If you’re with a devoted partner in a healthy, committed relationship, then it goes without saying that you’re going to be there for each other when times get tough. If one of you has a death in the family, a job loss, a health scare, or anything else, the other one is there for you 100%, no questions asked and no matter how busy you might be. That’s a version of unconditional love we can all get behind.
- It’s not about what you say but how you act. You can claim you love someone unconditionally while your actions say otherwise. If you hold out on sex when you’re angry or threaten to break up with someone when they don’t do what you want them to do, that’s not unconditional love. Your job isn’t to love someone without limitations, anyway – it’s simply to love them to the best of your ability.
- Boundaries aren’t just healthy, they’re necessary. Unconditional love lacks boundaries. If you continue to stay by someone’s side when they abuse you, betray you, or simply fail to meet your needs, you’re not doing anyone any favors. You’re not only depriving yourself of the love you deserve but you’ll eventually grow to resent your partner too when this toxic relationship wears you down.
- Unconditional love doesn’t do the receiver any favors either. It may sound great in theory to have someone there for you no matter what, but it’s actually really limiting. How can you ever grow as a person if your partner never calls you out on anything you’ve done wrong? How can you ever experience what real love is like if you know that your partner’s standards are nonexistent? Conditional love isn’t just healthy for the giver but for the receiver as well.
- Being single is way better than being in an unhappy relationship. Unconditional love implies that you’ll stay put in a relationship that’s toxic, infuriating, or just simply making you miserable because you can never walk away. That’s ridiculous! having deal breakers ensures that you don’t get trapped in a bad situation, and they exist for a reason. Love with conditions and when those conditions aren’t being met, move on.