There is no phrase so misinterpreted as "unconditional love." People use it as an excuse to stay in bad relationships. They use it as some ideal they chase when they are not even sure what it means. They use it when they say, "I believe in marriage." or "I believe in loving someone until they can love themselves." or "I'm religious and want to love unconditionally." or "I can't say 'if you do this, I'm out' because that is not unconditional love."
None of those things are unconditional love.
It DOESN'T mean: I love you no matter what you DO
It MEANS: I love you no matter WHAT HAPPENS
“Unconditional” means under any condition. It means love, honor and cherish for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health.
"Unconditional love" does not mean "I love you if you're a jerk who treats me horribly." No. Love walks out when bad treatment walks in. You do not have to love someone who is treating you badly. It doesn’t matter what you promised. You do not have to be a martyr for anyone for any reason.
Unconditional love means: I love you, you come FIRST with me and I show you that whether we have just won the lottery or are living in a van on the street. I love you when everything is going my way and when nothing is going my way. I love you when your times are tough and when my times are tough and if our times are tough together we pull together, not apart! I love you no matter what fabulous looking person comes to work in my office or ex raps on my window wanting to be let in.
Unconditional means No matter who. No matter what. No matter what conditions life throws at us, no matter what other conditions happen in the world.
It means you can be in a bad mood or weakened state so long as you don't mistreat or abuse me and I will carry your half of the load and then when I am, you do. It doesn't mean one of us is forever carrying that load alone or making excuses for the other who is not carrying anything at all and acting any way he or she wants to.
It doesn't mean "You cheat on me and I take you back because I love you unconditionally." It doesn't mean, "You treat me terribly because you are having a bad day." It doesn't mean, "I accept really bad behavior from you because I am supposed to be loving you unconditionally." It doesn't mean "I forgive unforgiveable behavior like cheating or lying because I'm a loving person." Those are weasely word cop-outs designed to keep YOU from doing something (break up the relationship) not because you love someone, but because you're afraid of ending it.
Unconditional love also means I don't try to change you. It means I accept you for who you are, warts and all. But if those warts are hurtful, I have to leave. This is where people get tripped up. They don't really get that accepting you, warts and all, is not the same as I accept any treatment from you.
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