The Painfully Honest Reason You've Never Experienced Unconditional Love

Love shouldn't come with conditions.

Last updated on Apr 05, 2024

Happy couple  martin-dm | Canva 

I’ve been searching for it since I was 14 years old. I wasn’t looking for a fairytale; I was just looking for what I didn’t think I was getting at home: unconditional love. You see, my dad and I had a major falling out. he told me that if I married outside of my race and religion I would no longer be his daughter. He set a condition on his love. Ever since I’ve been looking for that love and acceptance from him and every other man I’ve come across.


I kept falling short until this past year and a half. For the first time in my life, I felt truly loved. I felt safe. I felt submerged in the affection of this man. Despite the fears and the issues of the past that we were both facing, he kept showing up, every day. His actions and his love all said we were in this for the long haul, but his words began to fill me with doubt and uncertainty, so much so that I began to retract and felt like I had to start protecting myself.

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After a summer filled with talks that seemed like the end (though he kept saying it wasn’t), I found myself in fight-or-flight mode after an emotional weekend. Without a conscious thought, I drove to the store to buy boxes, packed up his belongings, and wrote him a letter saying my goodbyes. In truth, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye, but I couldn’t handle not being chosen every day. I wanted to rock him. He would choose me once and for all if he experienced losing me, right?





We continued to talk and cry and talk some more. We talked in circles. Never resolving the underlying issue. While we ultimately wanted the same thing and wanted it with each other, he believed he couldn’t give me what I wanted right now, and that he still had work to do on his own. Despite his belief and my logic, we couldn’t let go of each other. For months we continued to go back and forth, trying to figure out something that we couldn't change. I found myself pleading with him to make this work. "We can figure this out together, you don't have to do it on your own," I'd say. He kept telling me he loved me and that he wanted to be with me, but he couldn’t.

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I sat there and asked myself, "What are you doing? Have you done this before? Why are you fighting for this so hard when he’s not in it?" I realized I was replaying the pattern I established with my dad years ago. I once again was trying to convince the man I love to choose me anyway, regardless of the circumstance. With my dad, it was "Love me anyway. Be my dad despite the circumstances that are not ideal for you. Aren’t I such a good daughter? Why can’t you love me and be my dad no matter what? Why can’t we look beyond the circumstances and figure this out?"

With him, it’s "Love me anyway. Be with me despite the circumstances that are not ideal for you. Aren’t I such a good girlfriend? Why can’t you love me and be with me no matter what? Why can’t we look beyond the circumstances and figure this out?" In each case, they both love me. Their love is even unconditional, but our relationship was not. My dad had his conditions for our relationship and the boyfriend had his, but either way, it's as if I never had unconditional love.



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Both have nothing to do with me. Both have more to do with what each one of them believes. And just like I had to come to terms with the fact that I couldn’t change my dad’s mind years ago, I had to come to terms with the fact that I can’t change the now ex's mind either. The belief each one of them had become a condition or term for the relationship. But we must not confuse the two. While love is unconditional, relationships are not. As long as we focus on the conditions of the relationship, we’ll never truly experience unconditional love.

We can’t allow ourselves to believe that people don’t love us unconditionally because of their terms, behavior, and actions. One can love unconditionally and still cheat. One can love unconditionally and still leave. One can have a value and belief that’s so strong that they’ll choose it over love, no matter how deeply they love you. So while our relationship didn’t survive and I never had unconditional love before this, I choose to focus on the fact that I got to experience unconditional love for the first time in my life. I get to believe that real love exists. I won’t make the painful mistake of confusing the two ever again.

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Ravid Yosef is a dating and relationship coach. She is an established advice column writer, Certified NLP Practitioner, and Award-winning marketer.