Everyone longs to find true love, right? What is true love? Is it the same thing as unconditional love? In this week’s Love Essentially column, published in Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press, I write about unconditional love in romantic relationships, and how you know if you have it.
Can There Be Unconditional Love in Romance? by Jackie Pilossoph
In my opinion, one of the most beautiful sounds in the world is that of a child singing. So, when I happened to walk by my 12-year-old daughter’s room recently and heard her sweet voice singing the new R. City and Adam Levine hit song, “Locked Away (Would You Still Love Me The Same)” I stood outside the door and listened.
“If I got locked away, and we lost it all today, tell me honestly, would you still love me the same?” she sang. “If I showed you my flaws, if I couldn’t be strong, tell me honestly, would you still love me the same?”
With instant tears in my eyes, I wanted to burst into her room, grab her and say, “Yes!”
The unconditional love that all parents have for their children never wavers, as far as I can tell. We love and fully stand by our kids when they are sick, hurting emotionally and even when they make mistakes and exhibit behaviors that disappoint, anger and hurt us.
But what about unconditional love in romantic relationships? Unlike our love for children, parents or siblings, I think finding and maintaining love without limitations or conditions with a spouse is so much more difficult.
When two people meet and fall in love, everything seems perfect. The one you just fell hard for can’t do anything wrong. But time passes, and if the relationship blossoms into long-term love, we begin to see flaws and bad habits – things that might drive us crazy or that are unattractive to us. That doesn’t mean the relationship won’t work out or that the couple can’t be happy. It’s just the reality of infatuation and newness wearing off, and the revelation of the person’s genuine self.
If two people stay together long enough, “stuff” starts happening, and that’s when the couple finds out if they have unconditional love.
Sickness, injury, accidents, unemployment, significant monetary gains or losses and aging are just a few of the countless outside factors that can affect who we become, and ultimately if our spouse will choose to stick by us or not.
Think about how easy it is to love someone when he/she is mentally and physically healthy, when you’re living comfortably with no financial stress, and when everything with the kids is great. Unconditional love comes into play when things fall apart.
In theory, no one who is divorced experienced unconditional love in his or her marriage, because one or both people decided to split up. I’m not judging anyone for being divorced. Trust me. I, myself am divorced. But in unconditional love, words like “we grew apart” or “we fell out of love” simply don’t exist.
Is it easy to love someone unconditionally? Hell no. But it has to feel amazing, right? The double-edge sword is that often times, something bad has to happen for a couple to realize their love is unconditional. Could the realization that you are loved without limits be the silver lining to a tragedy?
My boyfriend recently said to me, “I think you love me unconditionally,” which I took as a huge compliment. I think he is correct, but the reality is…Click here to read the rest of the article, published in Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press.