Two love related concepts have always bothered me.
The first is the concept of unconditional love. I say it bothers me but that is not really true. It is so easily recognized for its fallacies and easily dealt with.
There is only one unconditional love and that is the love of a parent for a child. This does not mean that all parents love their children. But if they do that love is generally unconditional. No matter what the child may do at any point in their life, while the parent may hold the child’s act in horror, the parent will still love the child.
All other loves are conditional. A child may love their parent but that love can be beaten out of them. All other loves are loves we choose. Those choices are based on parameters, similarities, preferences, experiences and a host of other factors, in short, conditions.
We may love our country and consider that unconditional but I bet there are conditions that could change that. It has happened before. If it hadn’t, the U.S. for one, would not be here. Perhaps we could have a broad love for a very broad subject such as a love for life or a love for all human kind that is not subject to conditional changes. But no one ever means that when they use the phrase unconditional love.
My first wife used this phrase on me as we were closing in on our last years. I must have been some sort of beast because when we married I swore love and that love should be unconditional. Really? And yet she did admit that the very day we were married she changed how she treated me and how she saw me. She had set the hook so there wasn’t a need to be attentive or concerned anymore. There was no need to look reasonably presentable, ever. The task of hunting was over. Now it was time to gut the kill because the kill was unconditionally hers. It didn’t quite work out that way in the long run.
A similar concept that I often see goes something like, ‘When I love, it is forever.’ Really? Is that possible? That is unconditional love for all intent and purposes. I understand that when love is given, at that moment we may feel like it is perfect, pure, and enduring. But if all love is conditional, what if the conditions change? Forever is after all, a very, very long time.
I can accept that when love is given some component of that love may continue indefinitely, even if the conditions surrounding it or within it change. I accept that when such a love is given if no conditions on which that love is based ever change that love can indeed last forever. So I am not saying that a person cannot love forever. But if the conditions change, I personally believe that the love itself changes to meet the new conditions. That it either lessens or de-intensifies or shifts to a different quality. As such, the love that is forever, isn’t. Some other love takes over due to the changing circumstances.
Unconditional love and love that lasts forever are wonderfully romantic and bonding concepts. But, in my opinion, of which everyone has their own, they are generally as fantastic as the stories which they arise from.