I know what you’re thinking right now. You’ve probably even got your keyboards prepped and ready to go because ‘I beg to differ. Love should be unconditional at all costs! That is how it should be. There is no place for conditions in a healthy relationship!‘ But hold up, and hear me out patiently.
There are so many songs and movies that say that the love shared by two characters is unconditional and pure. But when it really comes to down to it, what is unconditional love in a relationship at all? Maybe the definition of unconditional love to you is not expecting anything from the other person. But in spite of not wanting to expect, sometimes, expectations do seep in. That’s human nature and there’s nothing wrong with it.
Remember how I told you that there are different kinds of love? True unconditional love holds true for storge (love between parents and children), ludus (playful, puppy love), agape (selfless love for everybody) and philautia (self-love). But when it comes down to eros (sexual love), philia (deep friendship) and pragma (long-lasting love), conditions are bound to spring up to keep toxicity at bay.
A younger, terribly wide-eyed me used to think that unconditional love is the most beautiful kind of love. And to some extent, it really is. Maybe a parent’s unconditional love for their child, or the kind of love you have for your pets. But an older, wiser me knows that the key to a healthy relationship is being mindful of where we choose to draw a line.
Don’t get me wrong here, I get that you love the people in your life. But give it enough thought and you’ll find out that pragma, philia, and eros are always governed by certain conditions, whether we like it or not. Consent, for instance, is a basic and always necessary condition, even though it goes without saying. The same thing goes for respect and trust.
Blindly putting our faith in a relationship and calling it ‘unconditional‘ is a foolish and short-sighted thing to do, because that way, people get taken for granted and it all ends in heartache. Of course, there are chances that it may not end badly, but a few conditions, even if they are unspoken ones, make for a healthy and long-lasting relationship.
Yes, it’s true that for any good relationship, expectations should be kept aside, but that doesn’t mean that we stop expecting even the most basic things at all. Things such as emotional intimacy, basic respect, support, and empathy only make a relationship, any kind of relationship, stronger. There is a much better sense of understanding when the foundation of the relationship is built on these core values.
Sure, the idea of unconditional love sounds beautiful. But when the lack of conditions ends up in taking each other for granted or losing sight of ourselves, it’s not really ‘love‘ then, is it?
Just something for you to think about.
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