Should Unconditional Love Apply to Your Romantic Relationship?

The idea of completely accepting someone as they are is so nice, but in reality, not so easy. There have to be personal boundaries and one has to be able to express themselves and share when a behavior that their partner is exhibiting is bothersome, or upsetting in any way. One of my favorite dating experts, Janet Ong Zimmerman, explores this area with her usual depth. Enjoy!

Written by Janet Ong Zimmerman, YourTango

Giving unconditional love in your life means loving without conditions, boundaries—loving someone as they are. This kind of love seems ideal, but in reality … dating and relationships are actually full of conditions.

These conditions manifest around us every day: If I do this, then he will like me more. I’ll wait for him to call me first. I should love him no matter what. He should love me no matter what. I need to make things work.

How is the notion of “unconditional love” helping or hindering your dating life?

Are you dating a guy and trying to love him without conditions, boundaries—just as he is? If so, these situations probably sound eerily familiar:

• You continue to date him because you feel content and safe, but actually feel no passion with him.
• You excuse his bad behavior and try to make things work with him.
• You always put his needs and wants above your own.
• You see things as you want them to be, instead of how they really are.
• You accept that as time goes on, it’s natural for him to stop putting in as much effort.
• You deny issues and dismiss or overlook red flags.
• You go along with what he wants even though it doesn’t feel right.
• You try too hard to make things work or you force things.
• You think that real love is about over-extending yourself and making great sacrifices.

When you try to practice this kind of unconditional love in your relationship, it’s impossible to relax and let things happen naturally. Instead, you’ll only feel uncertain, doubtful, frustrated and disappointed.

So … how do you know if you’re trying to love unconditionally?

Still not sure if you’re trying too hard to love unconditionally? If you are, you’re doing one or more of these things:

• You are not expressing yourself and tend to agree with what he says and wants.
• You worry excessively about how he will react to what you want to tell him.
• You tend to blame or judge yourself when things go wrong.
• You lose yourself in his life and aren’t truly living your own life.
• You do whatever he wants because you don’t want to cause trouble.
• You try to do things perfectly or a certain way.
• You feel uncomfortable and anxious much of the time.
• Your mind is busy maneuvering and figuring out next steps.

On the surface, loving unconditionally may not seem like such a bad thing. But the message you’re sending is clear: I am not enough. I don’t deserve better. It’s okay if I’m treated poorly.

Forget loving “unconditionally!”

If you think you’re not enough, loving unconditionally will keep you from sharing what’s really on your mind or how you truly feel. You’ll censor your words, act like someone else, and compromise your integrity.

If you convince yourself that you don’t deserve better, the guy you’re dating will end up treating you poorly. It’s easy for him to take advantage of you and keep you wondering where things stand. Ultimately, this same kind of guy will keep showing up in your life instead of the high-quality man you deserve.

He may not feel the need to consistently show up as the guy you fell for: truthfully, he may think you are so into him that he can stop putting in the effort to please you.

Unconditional love does not come without expectations in your relationship: when loving someone unconditionally, a part of you will expect the same in return. So, when that doesn’t happen, disappointment will set in.

What should you do instead of loving unconditionally?

If loving without conditions and boundaries is making you even more uptight and stressed, let go of unconditional love. Set boundaries and honor them, creating a dating experience that will make you feel supported. The equation is simple: the more you honor your boundaries, the more success you will have in your love life.

Guys who aren’t right for you will fall by the wayside and make room for more of the right men to show up.

Your stress, disappointment, and frustration will diminish, allowing you to relax and experience what real love is about. When you take a lighter, healthier, and more inspiring approach you’ll realize you can actually enjoy dating. What’s more … you’ll feel even more at ease about it than when you were stressing yourself out trying to accept someone who wasn’t right for you.

If you’ve experienced heartache and pain from loving a man without conditions and limitations, learn how this better approach will help you attract more of the right men, keep your self-worth intact, and enjoy love with more ease.

More at YourTango:

The Secret To Unconditional Love? Radical Acceptance!

The Awesome Benefits Of Unconditional Love

What Is Unconditional Love?

Originally posted on YourTango: Why Loving a Man Unconditionally Makes You Miserable

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