Love Is Unconditional - Relationships Are Not

To some, this statement may seem "oxymoronic"... If you love someone unconditionally, how can you have conditional relationships? 

The simple answer is because they're separate things.

When you love someone unconditionally, your feelings are based on them as an individual—a singular person. So, you accept them for who they are, without condition or expectation. 

Unconditional love is critical; however, relationships come with expectations that challenge unconditional love for another and our love for ourselves.  

It is difficult to accept and equally challenging to separate one from the other: your partner's needs, your needs, and your expectations of each in the relationship.

Without conditions, loving someone means not exploiting their vulnerabilities, listening to their opinions without judgement even when they differ from your own, caring for them when they need a friend, forgiving them when they let you down, and putting their needs before your own.  It is exactly as stated – unconditional.  

A healthy, loving relationship involves these acts of love. However, what happens when your partner consistently disappoints you, undermines your goals, or doesn't respect your boundaries? You love them unconditionally; does that mean you forgive, turn a blind eye and dismiss your own needs?

It is possible to love someone unconditionally yet be unable to have a committed relationship with them.  

A relationship is a commitment between two, with the expectation that each will love, respect, and honor the other. While unconditional love is necessary for a healthy relationship, it will not sustain it on its own. 

For a relationship to be unconditional, it would have to exist without expectation or boundaries! if that is the case, doesn't that essentially mean that you've stopped loving yourself?

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Description automatically generatedJenny L. O'Neil - aka Coach JLO

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