Unconditional love: what is it and is it healthy? | Kathe skinner

When people talk about unconditional love in the context of romantic relationships, they usually think of the kind of love that is easy; no decision making or accountability required.

We believe that when love is unconditional nothing can tear it apart. You are both infallible, ageless, timeless, and forever.

What is unconditional love really? Does it exist, and if so, is it healthy?

Here’s the truth: unconditional love is a romantic illusion and reflects an immature type of love.

New lovers are intoxicated by their overwhelming emotions for each other and the powerful chemical cocktail that seeps into their brains. They feel like their partner can’t do anything wrong, and even if they did, everything would – or should – be forgiven.

This kind of love still ignores the stages of life, the reality of marriage and the importance of individual development.

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Unconditional love is naive and ignores that strong relationships are the result of two strong individuals who combine their knowledge of life and wisdom to form lasting bonds and build trust.

Your love for your partner is not without conditions. Neither the love of your parents, nor the platonic love with friends or other family members, nor their love for you.

Mature love recognizes that healthy boundaries create loving and healthy relationships. And it feels good !

Unconditional love has no boundaries. But the real world is conditional.

Positive and negative actions come with subsequent positive and negative reactions, as well as potential consequences.

If we are honest with ourselves, each of us has at least one condition in mind about what we will and will not accept in a relationship, such as faithfulness, honesty, loyalty, and respect. And even when the partners agree on the terms set for their own relationship, they must also agree on how those terms should look like in practice.

What does it mean to love someone unconditionally?

Loving someone unconditionally means that you really love them, without expecting anything in return or wanting to change them, and worrying about their happiness before your own.

Unconditional love means to love without demanding deeds or services in return. This means that you can feel secure knowing that you are not going to “lose” someone’s affection for minor setbacks and mistakes.

This does not mean that you will never argue or fight; what that means is that you can set the limit of “if we get to the point where we are screaming, we need to take a break to calm down”. This doesn’t mean that you accept your partner again after cheating on you without restoring trust and boundaries to help heal the relationship.

Unconditional love does not mean accepting abuse.

Unconditional love understands that people have limits and that these limits must be respected in order to maintain a harmonious relationship.

Unconditional love does not mean that you accept less than you need for your happiness or theirs. It just means that you recognize what you both need and agree to love each other without forcing conformity or adopting a “debt” in order to continue to receive that love.

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What is an example of unconditional love?

An example of unconditional love in the family sense is a parent who puts the needs of their child ahead of their own. For example, if a child wakes up in the middle of the night after having a nightmare, unconditional love is a parent who wakes up and comforts their child until they fall asleep again.

In a romantic relationship, another example of unconditional love is when couples give each other emotional support, without having conditions or expecting anything in return. They just want their partner to feel better and not judge them if they need help.

So how do you love someone unconditionally?

Loving someone unconditionally means taking the time to communicate openly, both about your needs and theirs. It means being attentive to their feelings while being comfortable expressing yours.

Think about how you came to believe what you do about unconditional love. Talk to each other extensively and often about what this concept means to each of you, without setting anything in stone.

As you move forward through time evolving as individuals and changing with circumstances, most of which will be unpredictable, there is a good chance that each of you will awaken to new thoughts, feelings. , expectations and assumptions about your relationship that make things seem different, maybe even impractical at times.

You are likely to have times, some longer than others, when you will each feel misunderstood, confused, or unheard.

What you were then will not be what you are now. Sometimes you may not recognize yourself or even yourself.

That’s why it’s crucial to build a solid foundation for your relationship early on.

It is not true that all you need is love.

The bottom line

Success requires that we know what we are doing; skill comes with practice. You did not become proficient at your job without learning and continuing to improve your skills. Having and using skills means the toolbox is there when something breaks.

Prepare yourself and your relationship for the inevitable uncertainty, change and growth by committing together to continue to hone your communication skills and adding tools to your proverbial relationship toolbox as a united team.

The way we adapt to change is not always easy or easy. Couples blind to love are unprepared, even surprised, when life comes in the form of hardships such as illness, unemployment, or the demands of the family of origin.

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Realignment takes communication and work. Waiting for things to break down before labor begins is never a wise choice.

Make sure you manage your expectations along the way.

There is no such thing as a one, but when ups and downs in a relationship arise, many of us get nervous and think we made the wrong choice.

But what did you expect? Partners can better cope with uncomfortable moments of change by looking inside before blaming the outside.

Because no, love alone does not conquer everything.

Personal boundaries create a healthy unity. You are you. This is what made you attractive to your partner in the first place, the simple fact that your partner is who they are is what attracted you to them.

We tend to think of true love as getting lost in each other, but all that wins is eventual resentment and a lot of identity issues.

In truth, healthy partners provide the pillars that strengthen a relationship by standing alone as individuals.

True love requires both partners to take responsibility for themselves and the relationship.

Your new love may seem unconditional, but when the rubber meets the road, love itself is never enough – and it always comes with some form of conditions.

Being successful in marriage, relationships, or whatever, requires skills backed by commitment and practice.

The idea of ​​unconditional love is beautiful, but as we know, real relationships and real love require work, boundaries and yes, conditions.

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Kathe Skinner, LMFT, MA, is a Colorado Springs, CO-based marriage and family therapist who specializes in communication issues, life transitions, self-esteem, and counseling for couples.

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