Love Should Be Unconditional; Relationships Should Not

The stereotypical scenario in many a teenage girl drama is when the parents force their daughter to break up with her deadbeat boyfriend in the midst of many tearful pleas.  Inevitably, the damsel in distress will squeal out *SOB* “But Daddy I LOVE HIM!” *sob sob* In their infinite wisdom, however, the parental figures do not bend, and the heiress is doomed to cry into her pillow for the rest of the night.  Her feelings of love (regardless of the fact that its more likely infatuation) do not stack up to the fact that the boy in question does not fill a majority of her actual needs, whether she sees it or not.

Love is a powerful yet almost indescribable feeling.  I have found myself several times throughout my life where I am in a relationship and completely love the person, yet the relationship is oddly unfulfilling in one aspect or another.  There are so many messages out there that tell us that love should be enough, and if your relationship doesn’t work out you obviously just didn’t love them enough.

However, I have come to realize through much unintended personal research, that you can in fact fall in love with someone who is completely not right for you.  Like, fully head over heels, butterflies in your belly, stars in your eyes in love with a person who just. doesn’t. fit.  This is the most heart-wrenching pain of all, because you can do all of the things and make all of the adjustments that should work, and they simply…won’t.

This is why I am so picky with who gets a second date.  Before I met my current boyfriend, I went on many a first date with a wide range of guys.  There were very, very few that made it to a second, and no one lasted more than a month.  It wasn’t because these gentleman didn’t have good qualities–they all did, and there were a couple that had all the qualities that looked good on paper, but every single one of them was missing something, whether it was a similar vision for the future, something in common, intelligence, or even just that spark.

I’m sure that if I had spent some time with a couple of those men, especially those with whom I had great chemistry, I could have definitely fallen for them.  But because I could see the missing pieces BEFORE I got to that point, I was able to firmly point myself in another direction and not add another crack to my already Picasso’d heart.

The point that I am trying to make is that love is an amazing emotion, stronger than any other that exists.  When it is given freely and felt authentically, it truly does not have conditions, and it accepts and forgives and embraces and is the most wonderful feeling in the world.

However, no matter how amazing this emotion is, the vessel that houses it cannot keep producing it without being refueled, somehow, in return.  This is why there needs to be conditions on relationships.

Now, before you jump to the attack, I’m not talking about stupid conditions.  This isn’t “Oh my God, he forgot to take out the garbage like he said he would, I don’t think this is going to work.” or “Seriously?  He went to the mall and didn’t buy me anything?!  Obviously he doesn’t love me.”  If you are basing your relationship off of how well a man is able to cater to your WHIMS, you will never find someone who is able to cater to your NEEDS.

For example, I briefly dated someone who, if I would have expressed a desire for donuts in the middle of the night, would have gotten up and gotten me donuts.  If I mentioned that I loved chocolate, he would have shown up with a box on the next date.  None of these things actually happened, but I could just tell by his demeanor and several things he said.  Besides this amazing side to him, he was also a catch in other ways–successful, former pro athlete, good physical shape, the whole nine.

Yet even with all of these glowing signs pointing at him, he was unable to meet my need for a man who was able to match my forceful personality.  I have a very strong presence, and I just knew that if I stayed with him, I would be able to mold him into anything that I wanted.  This would cater amazingly to my every whim.  But, it would have fell devastatingly flat in reaching my needs.  And there would have always been a part of me that hungered for something more.

This, then, is the most important filter that you need to send your love through.  And I think that the reason most of us are not doing this as often as we should is because we don’t actually know what our needs are.

I sat down the other day and I wrote out a list of what I needed in a relationship.  It was very enlightening and clarifying.  This list didn’t include things like “buys me jewelry” or “does the dishes”.  It listed things like “Maturity,” “Responsibility,” “Physical Affection,” and several others.  Once I had this list solidified, I could look at the actions or habits of who I was with and see how they met those needs (or didn’t), even if it was in a way that I wasn’t used to or in a manner that is different from how I personally display those same traits.

I would encourage everybody to make a similar list, whether its for a romantic relationship, work environment, platonic friendship, or another other critical component of your life.  And really try to focus on the base need, not on the specific way that you think that need should be met.

Your true love is precious and pure, and when you give it to someone who is meeting the essentials of your being, then you will truly be happy.  Don’t give your love to someone just because they can satisfy your whim of the day, and don’t discount another who gives you affection in a way that you aren’t used to.

In closing, don’t put up walls on your love, but do uphold standards for being in your life.  You don’t automatically deserve everything you want, but you DO deserve 100% of what you need.  Don’t forget that distinction, and always honor your own self-worth.  (Remember, the funny thing about needs is once they’re met, your wants seem a little less urgent.)

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