Unconditional Love

Over the years dh has talked a lot about "unconditional love" as though it is the holy grail for all relationships.  Me, always one to try to see "all sides" to every coin, tried to accomadate this notion toward my own "growth" and liberal perspective. He would treat me like I was invisible, do and say hurtful things and then at night say to me, "A good marriage means to never go to bed angry." In other words, it was up to me to do all the work of forgiving him for his lack of love and then forget, forgive and love him - I did that....stuffing how it really made me feel.  That is why I am in the position I am now in.... unhappy with my life - not able to respect myself. Now, I realize that taken in the wrong way, as in "You must love me no matter what I do or say." it can be manipulative and harmful.  Here is a quote that says it like I am trying to say it:

“Unconditional love is like a country of two with no laws and no government. Which is all fine if everyone is peaceful and law abiding. In the wrong hands, though, you got looting and crime sprees, and let me tell you, the people who demand unconditional love are usually the ones who will rob and pillage and then blame you because you left your door unlocked.”
― Deb Caletti, The Secret Life of Prince Charming

Oh yes,  now after all the love and forgiveness and stuffing I did, I can take the onus of "enabler" and "co-dependent".

Do not try to have unconditional love with someone who is not loving to you.  Do not give your life away to someone who does not care for you.

I am going to read the book "The Secret Life of Prince Charming."  

Same here.

My partner used to throw the "unconditional love" thing at me whenever he did/said something hurtful or irresponsible. So I started throwing the term "martyr" around and he stopped. Because in essence that's actually what they are asking you to do. Martyr yourself to them out of love. Plus shouldn't unconditional love go both ways? I used to say, sure let's practice unconditional love, but that means that YOU would have to _______whenever I _______ and he dropped it pretty quick. That book looks fun. Here's another good if succinct quote from the write-up: "If a guy seems to need saving, call the Coast Guard." Yeahhhhh.....

you don't love me for me

Hi Jennalemon,

I am sorry for your pain. I had that thrown at me a lot, too. "You don't love me for me!" cried my STBX, each time I would try to address something or ask him about it or work on it. "If I don't do things exactly your way then you aren't happy," he would say.


This is a defense mechanism. If I have learned anything from these boards, it is that if someone loves you, and you tell them that you need to work to improve your relationship, or if you tell them that you are not enjoying your sex life and you want to work together to make it better, or that you are pointing out that they offended your mother, or if you suggest to them that you think they have a disorder that is keeping them from being able to perform basic functions in life and you are unhappy, and they only meet it with defensiveness, and only meet it with denial, and refuse to even consider your point of view, then they are not working on the relationship. They are not acknowledging reality.  

They are not meeting you even partially toward the middle. They may be broken, they may have a harder time than most, they may have baggage and reasons, but in the end, if they are not willing to listen and to work with you, then you are not in a marriage, or a relationship, or partnership. Stuffing makes one sick and it just lets the other keep on keeping on. I agree--do not give your life, your energy, health, and youth away to someone who cannot use love as a verb. 


MagicSandwich's picture


This should be the forward to Melissa's book.