Unconditional love is dead. In fact, it never existed in the first place.
When most of our lives we are flooded by cheesy Hollywood movies and cheap Valentine Days commercials about what true love should be, you can often find yourself running around in a haze trying to pick up the broken pieces of your self-esteem like someone just spilled a bag of Skittles all over the floor.
It’s a classic scenario:
Boy meets girl.
Girl meets boy.
Their eyes meet and sparks instantly light up. But wait!
There are trials to be passed. There are other people involved. There is drama. There are a lot of unknown circumstances. Everything seems lost at times.
But this doesn’t stop our heroic couple from following their true heart’s desire and eventually they succeed and their love conquers all.
Well, at least in musicals it does. Life tends to me a little bit more complex and sometimes unforgiving. Most people who live their Hollywood rollercoaster ride don’t end up happily ever after.
One might quit and not want it as bad as the other.
One might realize that the image they had in their head about a person isn’t real.
One might just feel bored and gets some distance because well… we are not the same people at 40 as we were at 20.
And all of this is OK. Because LOVE is conditional.
Carl Jung, the father of analytical psychology, considered that falling in love was in itself insane due to the fact that the action meant stepping into the danger zone. People “fall” in love. You never hear someone say they’re “rising” in love. Yet we do it many times over and over. And we don’t do it randomly as much as we would like to think so.
Proactively we cannot choose who we become attracted to and how we fall in love but our subconscious has a system in place. It’s like a compass that guides us in making sure we have the optimal chances of engaging with the best potential mates out there in the concrete jungle.
These conditions are mostly built and stacked upon each other from a combination of direct and indirect experiences we have throughout our lives.
Let’s take Bob and Suzy as an example. Each one of them gets a set of conditions which represents who they are at that given moment in time. Here is a very broad example:
Bob considers himself a free spirit. Has artistic inclinations. Writes poetry. Has long silky dark hair and wears a motorcycle jacket. He’s a smooth talker.
Suzy loves to stand out. She’s really spontaneous. Has amazing dancing skills. Very popular. She is fun and caring.
This also happens to match with the conditions that each other one has in their subconscious about what they are attracted to in an ideal partner. You might not even know what your type is. You say you like blondes but then your fall for brunettes every single time. You say you like nice polite nice guys yet you fall for the bad boys every single time.
Over time Bob and Suzy change. Because that’s what people do. It’s inevitable and natural. Therefore their conditions change together with them. Bob might cut his long rebellious hair and get a steady corporate job. Suzy might put on a little bit of weight and also might want to focus more on her career.
If over time their conditions do not cross paths regularly, they will start drifting apart. If Suzy’s renewed condition for love is not a groomed guy that works long hours in the cubicle to provide for the family, she will start feeling neglected. If Bob’s renewed condition for love is not a woman who isn’t obsessed with her looks anymore and who decides to focus more on being financially reliable he might feel like his work is not valued.
That’s why after years of being together you have couples who look at each other and say “You’ve changed”, “You’re not the same anymore”, “Feels like I don’t know you”.
And then people complain and blame “Ah man, I should’ve known back then”.
But that’s the thing. In the past, the conditions were in place. Over time people grow, not necessarily better or worse, but they change.
Love is not enough. It never was. In the past, men and women would marry and care for one another to solidify the connection between families. Women would marry because they wanted protection from other tribe’s men. Men would marry for companionship and survival of genes. The union between two people was treated more as a business deal where the conditions were set so that both parties could win in the long term. Only in the past 150 years, has the idea of love been so romanticized that people decide to totally ignore if their conditions are being met in the first place and just go for whatever drops on their lap.
Today, in a world of instant gratification everyone hopes to get it right the first time and then keep it like that forever. Because love is supposed to be this transcending force that ignores the qualities for which you were attractive in the first place. It’s a false expectation. Once you stop meeting certain conditions, there is no reason to expect to have the same results.
Love is promoted today as a sum of two halves and that your life’s journey is to find your better half. And this goes against our own nature. When we are born we are already complete human beings. We have within ourselves the tools and the full capacity to function intellectually, emotionally, physically, spiritually. But then we get indoctrinated into this culture of incompletion and that we must seek someone or something outside of ourselves to feel truly fulfilled. When love comes from this mindset you are setting yourself up for failure. Love should come from the idea that you are already complete and awesome and you want to share the experience of you with someone else. And we share experiences with someone as long as our conditions for love are being met.
And this is not necessarily a bad thing. You don’t need to get paranoid that your significant other might change their conditions at any moment now and that you’ll be left behind in the dust. A bond can become even stronger if two people continue meeting their conditions regularly. Two people can fall in love with each other many times over because their conditions grow in harmony with one another and what they expect from a relationship at different points in their lives.
The number one condition to sustain a loving relationship is to continuously work on yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman. And that should start way before you even think about settling down with someone. Most people don’t even think about this or even worse, once they get in a relationship they stop caring about improving altogether. You need to find out who you are and what the opposite sex values. Nobody wants to feel like you’re just settling for them like they are just good enough. So the more you’re on your way to figuring yourself out first the more cherished the other person will feel once they engage in a relationship with you. This way when you finally decide to go deeper with someone, and you “choose” them, you will not take them for granted. Everyone that ever loved you, did it based on a set of conditions. Everyone you ever loved matched a certain set of conditions that you were looking for at that time. Imagine one day you wake up and that person doesn’t match any of them anymore. It’s like waking up to a complete stranger.
The fact that love is conditional is actually a great thing. Because it forces us not to stagnate. To grow. To crash and burn and then come back even stronger like a Phoenix from its own dust and ashes. To continuously become the best version of ourselves. In this process, some relationships will fall apart but some will just thrive even more.
And if you really want unconditional love try getting a puppy instead. And even then you’ll need to meet the condition of taking care of your pet.