The difference between true love and unconditional love, according to experts


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Listen to the lyrics on the radio, tune in to the final season of The single person, or browse the countless perspectives on your dating apps, and you’ll come to one glaring conclusion: Our society is obsessed with finding love. We listen to songs about it, we read books about it, we watch romantic comedies about it, and we eagerly chat with our team about it. And while you may think of love as love, there are actually several kinds of love: true love (romantic love) and unconditional love. The difference between true love and unconditional love may not be obvious – after all, they share many of the same qualities. Nonetheless, there are a few important distinctions to be aware of that can help you gauge the strength – and enduring power – of your love.

While we only have one word to express the feeling of love, the ancient Greeks had eight, which they designed based on philosophical readings of Aristotle and Pluto. These included philia, or affectionate love (the platonic kind you feel for your best friends); storsion, or family love (generally between parents and children); Iudus, or the playful love that is usually found in the early stages of infatuation (think flirting and teasing); mania, or obsessive love which can lead to jealousy and possessiveness; pragma, or lasting and practical love (like an old married couple); and philautery, or self-love.

But the two types that will probably look the most familiar are Eros, which most closely resembles our notion of romantic love, and is associated with primitive passion and sexual desire; as good as agape, which is essentially unconditional love. The Greeks considered agape as the highest and purest form of love because it is free from selfish desires – it is to accept, forgive and persist whatever the faults of your loved one.

While our society might not have names for all of these different types of love, overall, many of us accept that there are different forms – and some are designed to last longer than d. ‘others. True love and unconditional love are both incredibly powerful experiences, but they have some crucial differences. According to Dr Gary Brown, a prominent couples therapist in Los Angeles, a factor that separates the two is how they develop. Romantic love sets in when you start falling for someone – and it can be euphoric, but it doesn’t last forever.

“These feelings are wonderful,” says Dr. Brown. “We all appreciate them, but at some point they will naturally diminish and after we get off that initial high, the reality of being in a relationship and all that comes with it starts to emerge – including the right one. and the bad. Whether or not the step of “falling in love” leads to something more is another story.

Unconditional love, on the other hand, can sometimes be expressed early in a relationship, but usually takes a long time to settle.

“Unconditional love says (apart from abuse):” Anyway, I have been devoted to you in good times in bad times, in sickness and in good health, for the richest or the poorest “Dr. Brown told Elite Daily.” A wedding vow reflects unconditional love. “

The best way to sum up the difference between the two is this: True love is a feeling (sometimes fleeting), while unconditional love is an active choice to continue loving without expectations or rewards.

Here is an example that further clarifies the distinction. Imagine revealing to your six-month-old partner that you’ve racked up a lot of student loan debt and you’re stressed out by AF about it (side note: #ItMe).

“You share this with your new love, and although they feel romantic love for you, they aren’t invested enough in their relationship to continue because of the debt you have,” says Dr. Brown. “They can’t get past it, even if you would be a good match for them.”

Now imagine that you and your five year old partner are going through a tough financial time – one of you has lost your job and the other can only work part time because you are in graduate school.

“Unconditional love means that, despite these challenges, you are devoted enough to each other and you are determined to work as a team,” says Dr. Brown.

Beyond how they develop, what sets true love and unconditional love more apart is their resilience.

“You can lose true love anytime during a relationship,” says Dr. Brown. “You can also love someone for who they are as a person, but realize that even if you love them, that may not be right. Unconditional love tends to be much stronger and more lasting than romantic love You can certainly have both, but it is unconditional love that endures.

Psychiatrist graduated from the board of directors Dr Susan Edelman notes that setting limits and prioritizing self-esteem is imperative to ensure that the relationship remains healthy for both partners. Otherwise, if your SO treated you badly – say, by perpetually cheating or lying – you might feel pressured to stay with him because of your unconditional love. So to be clear, unconditional love only means pursuing a relationship regardless of your partner’s flaws if those flaws don’t threaten your well-being. In other words, it’s important to love yourself unconditionally first.

“If you love them unconditionally, they don’t have a lot of motivation to change their behavior to save your relationship,” she adds. “The closest thing to healthy, unconditional love is trying to understand and love your partner for who they are while making sure you set healthy limits on what they do.”

So this is it. True love and unconditional love are both wonderful in their own right – and come with a flow of incredibly rewarding feelings. And certainly, true love can turn into unconditional love over time. But at the end of the day, it is unconditional love that is able to withstand all the hardships and disappointments that relationships often face. Simply put, unconditional love cannot be swayed – and as such, it is designed to last a lifetime.

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