Conditional Love

First, it was this adorable article about America’s longest married couple. Then it was an article on parenting advice. I’ve seen it before. The claim of unconditional love.


Look, human beings, for good reason, don’t love each other unconditionally. Your parents don’t love you unconditionally. You don’t love your kids unconditionally. You damn sure don’t love your spouse unconditionally. If one of your kids turned out to be a sociopathic serial killer who tortured their siblings to death, you wouldn’t love them anymore. It’s human nature. If you woke up one day and realized you’d married Donald Trump, the same thing would happen.

Human interaction is conditional. It probably should be more conditional. The people in your life should treat you with dignity and respect. They should fulfill your needs. They shouldn’t be psychopaths or murderers or pedophiles. And you should do the same.

It is ok for us to collectively agree that our love is conditional. I don’t mean tell your toddler “If you don’t stop hitting your brother, I won’t love you anymore.” Nor do I mean for you to tell your spouse if they don’t do the dishes, your love with cease. I do mean that setting clear boundaries for behavior, both internally for yourself and for other people, is healthy.

If you’re searching for unconditional love, get a dog. They have no concept that you’re a serial killer and they will love you regardless.

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