Recently, I wrote a post where I stated love should be unconditional.  My friend SF (FYI- a conversation with him led me to that particular post) said that the thought of unconditional love was a concept of fairy tales.  That in the harsh reality in which we reside, there is no such thing as unconditional love.

Therefore, the question I pose today is: Does unconditional love exist? For the context of this discussion, we are going to think about romantic love between two people.  I’ll tackle love of family  and friends in a different blog.

I tried (unsuccessfully) to define love, but we’re going to give it a crude definition today: love is having intense feelings for someone. So, if you have intense feelings for someone, are there conditions to it, or does it just exist? Do you not love your partner if they do a, b or c? Do you only love them when they do x, y or z?

I think love should be unconditional.  To me, true love is when you see a person’s faults and you still love them, when you accept the person as they stand in front of you, when you  don’t expect them to change because you want them to. You acknowledge that your partner has faults and issues, but they are still the person you want to wake up next to. In my personal definition of love, unconditional is key.

That’s theoretical.  What about the practical application?

I’m what is often considered an ambivert: I can hold my own in a group, but I prefer being alone or in small gatherings.  If one is to be with me, they must accept this fact.  If my partner where to get mad at me because I don’t like big parties would this be fair?  If it drives my partner crazy that I don’t like parties, and they want me to start liking them “or else”, is this fair?  More importantly, if my partner doesn’t like this fact about me, something so intrinsic to my personality, can they actually love me? Do you love someone if you want them to change? Need them to change? If you are putting conditions on the relationship?

Do we marry someone because we “love” them, and then complain about their habits for the rest of our days? Do we constantly taunt them to change their evil, and not so evil ways? Is that the reality of out day to day existence if we are in “love”? Is love, and relationships, a change or else proposition?

Or, if you don’t like certain things about your partner to the point of distraction, do you simply not love them? Are they just a person that you share a bed with?

As we are reasonably far removed from Valentine’s day, I ask the question:  Is love conditional or unconditional? And, more to the point: should love be conditional or unconditional?

Is there a difference between love and a relationship?

And off you go….

78 thoughts on “Unconditionally Conditional

  1. I’m with you, I think all love should be unconditional.
    When it comes to my husband, I love him always, no matter what. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t irritate the snot out of me. Even if I want to ‘kick him in the head’ I still love him, and I’m still in love with him. Frustration doesn’t have to negate love.
    In all honesty the only thing that would make me not love him was if he was somehow horrible or hurtful to my daughters. Fierce-Momma love would then trump unconditional romantic love. Of course, that is an actual condition…however, it’s a condition that I trust will never be tested, therefore it could almost not be a condition…does that even make sense?
    Really, it comes down to your personal definition of love. Flaws are what make us unique, they are to be as embraced as ‘all the good stuff’. I like to believe we love others because of their ‘flaws’, not in spite of them. Love is love is love is love…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Totally get you in all this. My feeling is, accept the person that they are, all those traits make up the person. It’s ok to get irritated by a trait, or not like it, but you need to accept it unconditionally. If you don’t accept it, I don’t think it’s love. But I realize, there is no absolute definition to love,so I’m willing to concede that others may be right, or wrong…😝

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes ma’am!
        Love in the most basic form is simple acceptance. It really is so easy to lose sight of that. Or define it differently…
        Thanks for stimulating my brain this morning! ❤

        Liked by 2 people

  2. This topic of conversation made me think of the movie “Arrival” with Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. Personally, I never set a condition when I entered into a relationship. Instead I focused on the importance of that particular individual and how my life might look without them in it. The flaws didn’t matter nearly as much as the impression they made in my life.
    Another thought provoking post!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I really liked that movie! But that’s a great way to think about it….how would your life look without them in it. Great point! And yes…I’m here to provoke….😉

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I learnt a new word today! Ambivert, ‘a person who has a balance of extrovert and introvert features in their personality’, I would guess an ambivert makes for a very calm confident personality very comfortable in their own skin…………… I err on the introvert which means social situations can make me anxious! (Btw I’m single so I’ll pass on the love conundrum 😀 )

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I must admit, my amazing blog friend Doug told me that term, and it pretty much describes me….how comfortable I am….well….that’s a whole blog😉 but it is sort of the same thought process that I wrote about yesterday, people make assumptions when they see one side of you….maybe I will blog about that….

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So let me throw this in, since I really can’t answer your question with any confidence after “falling out of love” and divorcing…
    In my case I would say that my love was conditional. I realized things about this person late in the game, things that I wished would change but would not ever be different. Things big enough to make me say that I had lost respect for this person. The loss of respect led to the loss of love. There came the moment when I really didn’t like this person anymore, didn’t want to even try to like this person anymore because too many of the traits and quirks and more importantly, the beliefs and actions he presented, became unacceptable to me. I was miserable. In that case, if my love had been unconditional I would still be married. I cannot fathom the thought of that idea…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it goes to how much can one person handle about the other person. And it would have been horrible for you to stay with your ex…but others….they might not care. You knew you couldn’t love that person anymore, because of the issues. Same thing with my first husband….he had issues that made him unlovable to me. Good comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think that the love we have for our marriage mate should be unconditional. It has to be because no two people, especially man and woman, can exist together until the end of their days if they don’t love one another unconditionally. Since no two people are perfect, and we bring baggage from our upbringing or perhaps cultural differences or just general life experience, we are going to irritate or frustrate one another from time to time throughout the course of our relationship. I think it’s important to acknowledge those irritations when we’re dating to ascertain whether or not we can deal with them forever before we marry the person. If we decide we can deal with the little annoyances then we can love the person unconditionally. If we can’t, then we probably won’t be able to demonstrate that unconditional love. It might not always be easy, but I think it’s possible, even with two imperfect people.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s the exact point I was trying to make! Can you write my blog for me?❤️❤️ if you can’t accept the little annoyances, I don’t think it’s love!! Great comment!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Being a ‘believer’, I’m supposed to love others the way God loves me. Unconditionally. I see everyday how He loves me, and I haven’t been able to duplicate it toward another. Can’t really answer the ‘marriage’ topic with confidence. Have been asked twice, yet here I am…single. 🙂

    Maybe loving someone unconditionally, and unconditional love, are two different things.
    Just like sleeping beside someone, and sharing a bed are.

    I can have a relationship without being in love, but not an intimate one. There is no right or wrong answer darling. There are so many different levels of love! xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I sort of like asking the questions with no clear answer. Makes me feel that computers can’t take over the world just yet, because there are still unanswerable things. When we’re out of questions…….

      Liked by 3 people

  7. My personal opinion is that if it is not unconditional then it is not love it could be very strong like or lust…Being annoyed by your partner or disagreeing with him/her doesn’t mean you don’t love them that’s just life…There are things that people do that can make you stop loving them over time (abuse etc.) and often times we need to be strong and leave a situation while still loving but that doesn’t mean that when you did love them it wasn’t unconditional…

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Its wonderful to be in a relationship with someone who will love and forgive you and accept you when you haven’t been at your best and you owe it to them to reciprocate…that is love…

        Liked by 1 person

  8. There have been many times in my relationship with my husband in which I have loved him, but I haven’t liked him very much. I feel sure he’s felt the same way about me. Yet the relationship continues. The relationship reflects the commitment we made. The love sustains that even when there are things about the other person we just don’t like.

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  9. Barb @INBARBSWORLD said it best, I’m a believer and I need to love like Jesus loves, but I’m human. Fighting the flesh! Mid-life is tearing me up with making me want to do my own thing and being annoyed at my husband way too much. I’m super happy that God put me in a group of women in my new Bible Study class ( see yesterday’s post) that have been married way longer than me. They give me hope that God will preserve us. To answer the question, love changes over stages of life. We love our CHILDREN unconditionally, but for spouses and friends and relatives and strangers, we probably have more expectations and conditions for them than we are aware of until it comes up.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think people change in mid-life. Men change. Women change. So relationships become difficult. Children grow up, health issues come up, energy levels change, goals go unmet. I haven’t researched it but I will bet it’s well-documented. We have to make a decision to love them in their new condition. Many people do not choose to do that, they get divorced instead.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. True love is unconditional. I don’t withhold love because of a trait or habit, if that thing bothered me that much then I would not be in love with that person. Conditions are just that…a but. I love you but if you would only just be more … You can’t love someone with the thought of changing them, that is not loving the whole person.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love my husband unconditionally BUT there are times when I don’t like him very much at all. It is the unconditional love part that gives me the strength to work through the not liking times. He has always told me that he not only loves me but he is IN love with me which to him means much more than just loving. I would say that is his way of expressing the unconditional love. I’m sure there are times when he does not like me either but he told me he was “IN love with” me just the other day and we’ve been through a rough patch the last month or so, so I know it’s true. That, plus the fact that after 34+ years it is just much easier to stay together and work things out than it is to start all over again – LOL. Great post as usual!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I think I have found a new topic for a future blog. I have so many thoughts on this subject that I need to sit and think about it for a few days or so. Thank you for being so thought provoking. Sorry that it doesn’t really answer the question. It’s not an easy answer.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I have written about this myself from a couple of different perspectives. I think that unconditional love is an ideal like perfection and ideals aren’t exactly attainable, but more concepts of guidance to encourage us to do or be our best. I wholeheartedly believe that any relationship, romantic or otherwise, has the invisible lines that the majority of people aren’t even aware exist until they are forced to brush up against or across. Those lines are where those ideals begin to break down and away from reality. Lovers or family members that turn abusive are some of the most common or recognizable lines for people, but there are others. Even then, a lot of times, the love for that person is still there but the tolerance or the willingness to stay in those relationships dissolves. So tolerance, acceptance and love tend to be tightly woven together, almost to the point of being inseparable, often even used interchangeably.

    Outside of those drastic lines, people grow and change and they don’t always do so along the same path or at the same rate as the people they are in relationships with. When that happens, sometimes the person you are with has grown and changed into someone you no longer recognize as the person you fell in love with. So, should you love, unconditionally, a person that used to value time spent with you and your opinions if they have become someone who is utterly self absorbed and no longer even thinks about or considers your wants and needs? Or someone who, before becoming a parent agreed with you on the best ways of raising a child only to discover once you have a child that they don’t want to instill those same morals and values you do in your child or has decided that being a parent isn’t for them and completely checks out?

    Everyone has a line of what they can and will accept in a relationship. That acceptance is directly tied to the love we have for the other person and who we believe that person to be when we fell in love. Any brush against that line will shake that unconditional foundation.

    And why are we so tied to this concept? The need to fulfill that ideal keeps people in relationships that make them miserable or even harms them or endangers them. If we find that our love isn’t as unconditional as we thought, so what? We are some sort of failure? No. We are simply human.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Here’s my thought, when people change (or don’t change) and you can’t accept how they are, you no longer love them. Now, whether or not you choose to stay in the relationship is a different thing. It all comes down to deciding if love is forever, or if love has an expiration date. I think it’s interesting how people perceive this topic. Given me lots to think about

      Liked by 1 person

      1. But isn’t that then technically a condition? If they changed (or didn’t) and you now no longer love them, then the condition for you loving them was that change and that love was not unconditional. That is kind of what my long winded and drawn out comment was stating. There will ALWAYS be something that can break the love in a relationship, just that not everyone will figure out what it is for them (as it is different for everyone) and therefore stay in a loving relationship.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think some people will accept and forgive anything…they love no matter what. I’m going to give a personal example. I thought I loved my first husband, but as our marriage went on, I realized I didn’t love him because his habits were impossible to deal with. It was never really love, but more attraction, opportunity, and situation. Since I can’t really define love, I had trouble differentiating what actual love is/was. When people can’t accept changes, I doubt whether they were ever actually in love. Now, infidelity and abuse are different….a.m. I making any sense?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. No, I get it. I can see how it could be perceived that way and in a lot of cases even be correct, but it isn’t always. I’ll give you the non-romantic example of a parent/child relationship where a parent can no longer be a part of that child’s life because of the decisions the child makes (insert whatever reasons work for you, say murder or other kinds of things that put themselves or others in danger). I think there could come a point where that love for a child can change or lessen, or, even in extreme cases, fade away completely. That isn’t about never having loved the child in the first place.

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      4. Family is a whole other thing. It’s like love if a parent can fade as well. That’s a whole dynamic I don’t understand. I think I’m going to blog more about this topic because I got such great feedback that really expanded my thoughts on this.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. It is something I have been forced to examine on a personal level, from many perspectives, over the last couple of years with regards to many relationships in my life, so it is something that has been in the forefront of my thoughts way too often. In the end, it is one of those things that is intensely personal. It has different meanings and connotations to different people. That doesn’t mean others will view it the same or agree with you, but neither should it be used as yet another stick to beat a personal judgement onto others.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Agreed. There are different ways to look at it, and different perspectives. I think every person who commented made good and valid points. And it does become your personal code in a way

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Hard to say. I know I am a pain in the ….when you drive with me as I can’t resist pointing out the dangers. I know my love can be a pain in the…when he overstates the obvious. Our faults…the fault lies not with us but in our stars. Hmm. Obviously for many reasons, I have a healthy fear of moving cars and not being in control while my love is overly accustomed to enjoying being the one be the most dominant and yet we still drive together and love together.

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  15. My love is absolutely unconditional until the other creates expectation. Please tell your friend that passionate unconditional universal love exists. Those of us who experience and base our lives on it pay a high price so that in a generally love veless age others may know it also.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I think love can be unconditional. It it were not, John and I would have begun to ignore each other decades ago. We are not basically fighters, so we would not have torn each other apart. Ignoring someone is deadly to the relationship. We still chat several hours a day! It helps that we begin our day by walking for an hour.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hmmmm…. “true love is when you see a person’s faults and you still love them, when you accept the person as they stand in front of you, when you don’t expect them to change because you want them to. You acknowledge that your partner has faults and issues, but they are still the person you want to wake up next to.” Well, that may be true when you are talking about faults and irritations. But what about abuse or infidelity? The love I have for my husband would definitely be impacted and I would most likely condition my love on that behavior. I may miss (and still have feelings for) the man I loved but he is either no longer that man, or never was.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are two ways one can handle infidelity…stay or go. I don’t judge people whichever path they choose. But if you choose to go it’s probably because you can’t accept it, so my thought is you’re no longer in love with the person. But that’s only one take on it. I loved seeing what people thought on this topic. Very interesting and thought provoking comments

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  18. I say unconditional in the sense that you should always go into things with eyes wide open and not with the idea of trying to change a person. But, when situations change, and they do, then both people need to adjust to them, with true respect for the other person. So for me, that’s the conditional part. It’s a great question!

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  19. I tackled this same thought a few years ago. Here’s what I decided. Love can be unconditional (and I think should be); relationships are not (and they shouldn’t be). There is definitely a condition on my relationship that if were broken, we’d have to go our separate ways, but I’d still love my husband unconditionally.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Love and relationships are two different things. I have past relationships which had nothing to do with love (and I do mean romantic relationships).

    Sunshine and I seem to have some unconditional love going on. Either that or indifference, because I may bitch about his mustache hairs in the sink and he may bitch about my shoe collection but we never get truly upset about it

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you and KE have it right. You can love someone unconditionally, but that doesn’t mean you can have a relationship, because they’re not the same thing. Like this line of thought

      Liked by 1 person

  21. For me, love is unconditional. If that was not the case, I’m not sure my marriage would have lasted nearly 35 years. People have faults, and it’s love that allows us to see past them or at least tolerate them. At least that’s been my experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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