5 Challenges To Having Unconditional Love In Your Relationship (& How To Overcome Them)

Photo: unsplash
unconditional love

I know what you might be thinking: Is unconditional love actually possible? What defines unconditional love exactly, and what does it take to achieve this seemingly impossible goal?

Every relationship has its perks and pitfalls. Out of all the things we desire when we start a new relationship, an unspoken expectation is to be loved unconditionally — and if not at first, then eventually. But this is an extremely hard ideal for even the most dedicated of couples to achieve.

Unconditional love is when you love someone wholly, fully and completely — regardless of their faults and shortcomings.

Yes, it's irritating when he never does the dishes, even when you're on vacation. Maybe she's tired of you always eating the last of the Oreo. And why do you need to be the one to take the kids to soccer practice every week?

But regardless of any minor issues, once unconditional love is achieved, you two can triumph over anything. It takes understanding, trust and showing kindness to your partner. Once you learn to embrace these challenges, you can push through them and watch your relationship thrive. 

RELATED: 5 Healthy Ways To Respond When You're Feeling Unloved In Your Marriage

YourTango Experts explain how to achieve unconditional love in your relationship by overcoming the challenges that might be getting in your way:

1. Let go of selfishness and "conditions." 

“Couples often commit to loving their partner unconditionally, but then that 'condition' occurs. Instead of mutually grounding their love in the practice of 'emotional connectedness,' their love is rooted in their personal thoughts and feelings. Consequently, it becomes easy for them to find a condition to withhold love, if their partner upsets them or hurts their feelings."

In the beginning, it's easy to think that just because you commit to your partner, unconditional love comes automatically. This isn't the case. Unconditional love is deeper than what your thoughts are at the moment.

That's why no matter how you may feel in reaction to a certain situation with your partner, you should never withhold love in order to teach them a lesson or make yourself feel better. For unconditional love to work, you both must be firmly grounded in the emotional connection you share.

Dr. Eric A. Williams is a counselor and marriage and family therapist specializing in both interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships who helps individuals and couples reconnect with their inner selves, as well as their partner. Contact him today to set up a face-to-face or telemental health counseling session so that he can “walk alongside” you, ensuring both personal and professional success.

2. Become a more positive person.

"Unconditional love is a vision, an ideal. In our actual relationships, we have complex feelings, sometimes warm, sometimes cold. Adults can learn to work on themselves, so they have more positive feelings about their partner."

If we work more on ourselves and maintaining a positive mindset, it can be a stepping stone on the path to unconditional love — which doesn't hinge on the daily ups and downs of your emotions. When you allow your emotions about your partner to be fickle and changing, rather than steadfast and true, you're setting your relationship up for failure and ensuring that unconditional love will remain out of reach.

George Taylor is a licensed Marriage and Family therapist and author, who has helped many men and women deal with depression in their relationships and create more intimacy and love. Visit his website,, or read his book of the same, available on Amazon, to learn more.

RELATED: How To Have A Crazy-Happy Marriage

3. Rise above the little things.

“Unconditional love is hard because it requires you to step into maturity over and over again. It involves separating the behavior of a loved one from how you want to feel about them. Unconditional love means managing your emotions when annoyed or upset and choosing to find a way to embrace your loved one for the entirety of who they are.”

You must be the bigger person. Don't sweat the small stuff, and try to look at the bigger picture of your relationship. For every pet peeve that irks you, find three more good things that they've done for you.

Lesli Doares is a Communications and Relationship Coach who helps couples stop fighting about "he said, she said" and other communication issues and start loving, so they can create the relationship they truly desire. Learn more about how to have a thriving marriage by visiting her website or booking a Create Your Happily Ever After Marriage Strategy Session.

4. Know yourself first.

“All relationships start with yourself. That's why you have to start to love yourself unconditionally. The question is: Do you know in what areas of your life that you are selling yourself out? Learn to know your own unconscious shadows and shames and start to develop a new relationship with yourself — a relationship that attracts unconditional love into your life.” 

Stop standing in your own way, and take the time to learn more about yourself. Find out what makes you tick as a person, both the good and the bad. You can gain a more balanced perspective and become a person who's better able to give — and receive — unconditional love.

Maria Appelqvist, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, educator, sexpert and founder of the Conscious Love Tribe. She teaches couples how to create connected and intimate relationships. Learn more today by getting a FREE sample of her book, Conscious Love: Soulful and Intimate Connection.

5. Remember, unconditional love looks different for everyone.

“Unconditional love is a concept with various interpretations, as the concept of love in and of itself is an abstract ideal. Unconditional love can mean forgiveness, acceptance, presence, letting go of expectations, and so much more. It is so hard to achieve unconditional love because it suggests that you are embracing these concepts within yourself before asking another to do the same for and of you.”

To love others unconditionally, you have to love you first. Be gentle with yourself when you don't accomplish all your goals. Forgive yourself for any mistakes or missteps. The more you accept yourself, the easier it becomes to show and receive the love you desire. 

And since every relationship is different, unconditional love in your relationship may look different than unconditional love in your friend's or parent's relationship — and that's totally OK! It's all about finding safety, affection, and happiness in your current romantic situation. As long as you have that, achieving the level of unconditional love is within your reach.

Dr. Maxine Langdon Starr is a licensed marriage and family therapist in California specializing in adolescents and young adults. She also has spoken about self-care and self-esteem issues to various community and business organizations, and in universities and K-12 schools. For more information, please visit

For more advice from incredible people in helping professions, look to our Experts. They are here to help!

RELATED: Take This Compatibility Quiz If You Want To Find True, REAL Love

Jamille Jones is a freelance writer who taught English in Hiroshima, Japan for 2 years. She's an Asian culture enthusiast, chocolate addict, video gamer, and loves to teach for the heck of it.

YourTango may earn an affiliate commission if you buy something through links featured in this article.