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Is unconditional love just a myth?

August 3, 2009

I’m not talking about just boy-girl/man-woman love, I’m talking about love in the general sense of the world. The love you have for a partner, your friends, or your family. We grow up with the belief that love can, and indeed should, be unconditional, but is that really possible? Can you really say you love someone no matter what? Yes people make mistakes and screw things up and we shouldn’t just throw away someone important to us. But what if it’s something major? Parents are supposed to love their child unconditionally. But what if their child is jealous of their new relationship and decides to kill the person taking the attention they feel they deserve? Can they ever be forgiven? And should they even be forgiven?

Who ever said love had to be unconditional? We don’t fall in love randomly, we fall in love with a particular person because of who they are. If the essential ingrediants of who that person is changes, do we still love them? I suppose it depends on the scope of the changes. But there is a point where if a person is no longer the one you fell in love with you can’t love them anymore. That’s why the divorce rate is so high. If you love someone because you trust them and they cheat on you and you can no longer trust them, perhaps you can no longer love them. They aren’t the person you thought they were. Trust is a massive part of love. Often if you can’t trust someone you can’t truely love them.

Of course love isn’t the sort of thing one should throw away lightly. I have always felt that you can never have a true friend walk out of your life. The whole point of a true friend is someone you love and trust, someone who will stand by you and always be there for you. Well, almost always. As mentioned previously there are things that can breach love, there are things that can never be forgiven. Friendship is conditional. But with true friends I feel that if someone can just walk out of your life, they were never really a part of it. They were never really a true friend. Yeah, friends drift and they fight but they don’t just walk out. Unlike a relationship, if someone changes dramatically you can drift away from them rather than making a clean break. People may not remain close forever, but if someone really cares about you they don’t just walk out.

I’ve heard people say that family is the ultimate in unconditonal love. And that might be true to a point. As a child you love your parents unconditionally and they can do no wrong. But as you get older and see them as people and not just your family, you realise your love is conditonal. It’s not impossible to cut ties with your family if you need to. And there are always going to be family members you are closer to than others. It’s a misconception that your family is with you forever. You can choose not to speak with or be close to your family. If family love were unconditional, everyone would love all family members equally and all families would be equal in love. That’s not the case.

I don’t personally believe in unconditional love. Some people do. I believe that you should always listen to the other person’s point of view and consider it before making judgements, but I do believe that people can mess up so badly that love is lost. Most mistakes can be forgiven, but there are non-negotiables in every relationship. There are lines that shouldn’t be crossed. In the presence of true love however, I don’t believe these lines are ever crossed. If someone truely loves you and cares about you, they care enough not to cross those lines. So perhaps there was never really love there in the first place? Maybe I do believe in¬†unconditional love. Problem is, the only way to test it is with eternity.

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