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Unconditional Love - A Realistic Relationship Goal or a Romantic Fantasy?

May 6, 2008
A young woman wrote in to my dating advice column recently and asked me: "What qualities are absolutely essential in a partner or in an ideal relationship? I have a pretty huge list and want to share some of them with you

o affectionate
o unconditional love for each other
o emotional support, connection and harmony
o caring, kind, compassionate
o easygoing, calm
o stability, commitment, loyal
o understanding, accepting (accepts me as I am)
o tolerant
o appreciation and love for each other
o enjoys intimacy regularly
o sense of humor
o positive outlook (happy and optimistic)

I am seeking this man and hope to find this type of love some day. What do you think of my list?"

My response was probably not what she wanted to hear, but with almost 20 years of experience in dating and relationships industry, I know this young lady is headed for disappointment. Her list is created from girlish childhood fantasies of the Knight swooping in to save the fair maiden. Her list is to me nothing but fantasy from a young woman that has obviously never been married.

Hey, I'm not saying that men cannot be honest, loving, committed and many of the things on the list above, don't get me wrong! But real men are not perfect by any means. Even if a guy did possess all of her listed qualities, they won't be in evidence every single day!

He is going to mess up sometimes, piss her off, and definitely not be the man of her dreams. So I can say with confidence that the man she dreams of only exists in soap operas, fairy tales and romance novels. He is not a real man.

If you are passing up great partners and dismissing them as unsuitable while you seek the romantic fantasy of "unconditional love" you need to stop. Take that qualification off your list and get real. Everything has conditions.

And people will stop loving you if you do things on their "crossed the line" list, as well they should! Expecting that you can treat others any way you want and that they will keep loving you anyway is unrealistic.

Why would anyone with good sense continue to love and care for someone that intentionally did something foul and disrespectful, with the full intent of harm or using them?

For instance, a woman who whines and cries claims to still love a man even though he hurt her children or parents, or committed a violent crime against someone's daughter is a fool. That man would have crossed all barriers of decency and humanity and he should be left in the dust.

When involved in any relationship, we must all decide what our bottom line is. Some people will continue to love and support their friends, children and family members even if they do something on the 'crossed off' list.

However, my standard on this issue is this: Anyone that hits me, hurts my child, hurts my Mom or Dad or brothers gets no love from me! You steal my money you are out. You do anything foul and funky with intent to harm me, you are out. And I don't care who you are.

To me, unconditional love under those circumstances makes no sense and means you care more about someone else than you do yourself. Sadly, the attitude of "I hate myself but I love you" goes hand in hand with a damaged sense of self and low self-esteem, which is almost epidemic in our society.

I strongly suggest that all women eliminate the fantasy of unconditional love in their romantic relationships. Establish boundaries for proper treatment and respect and enforce them 100%! NEVER waste your time or your loving heart loving someone that has clearly demonstrated that they do not love you back.
About the Author
(c) 2008 Deborrah Cooper. Deborrah has authored dozens of relationship articles and advice columns on Ask HeartBeat!, which focuses on modern relationships for teens and adults. Her dating guide Sucka Free Love! provides street-smart, hilarious insight into the toughest issues facing singles today. Check out The Sucka Free Dating Radio Talk Show on Wednesday night at 8:00 pm PST.
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