Why Unconditional Love Can Be Toxic
Experts tell us we should have unconditional love in our romantic relationships. I believe that’s a really bad idea. Here’s why…
We’re told to aim for unconditional love and to accept our romantic partners as they are. In this video, I share why I think unconditional love can be toxic, and what we can aim for instead.
Unconditional love sounds beautiful. Many experts say it’s the ideal, the golden ticket to love someone unconditionally, and accept them with all their flaws.
I do believe it’s important to choose a partner who has your must-haves and no deal breakers. Once you accept that this is the person you want to be with, accept them for who they are and don’t try to change them. But, there’s a big difference between that and unconditional love.
I believe unconditional love is a myth, and it’s harmful to believe it’s attainable.
Here’s the problem: If we accept and love our partners unconditionally, it means they don’t have to meet any conditions. It gives both partners permission to treat each other however they want.
Conditions are boundaries and agreements, and without them, there is no real love. There have to be conditions for love to last and be healthy.
Unconditional = Accept EVERYTHING Our Partner Does
If we should accept everything unconditionally, that means there are no boundaries, conflict, or expressing hurt feelings.
Any healthy relationship will have conflict. To keep a relationship alive, we need to work through our disagreements in a mature way. We need to create agreements as to how we want to treat one another. Those boundaries and agreements create safety and trust, so we can grow together in love.
Where did the term “unconditional love” originate?
It was first introduced by the psychologist, Erich Fromm, who wrote about it in 1956 in his book, The Art of Loving.
He said there are many types of love, beginning with a mother’s unconditional love for her newborn child. There are no expectations for a newborn. He or she is loved just for being alive.
He continues that a father’s love has to be earned. The father sets standards that the child must meet to earn his love. And that is the origin of unconditional love.
It’s not applicable in romantic relationships, because healthy relationships must have conditions.
So the next time you hear someone say they’re looking for unconditional love, don’t be afraid to state how you feel about setting healthy boundaries and agreements, or conditional love. Because love has limits, and the better you are at expressing those limits, the more intimate your relationship can be.
What are your thoughts about unconditional love? Please share in the comments.
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