It's Unrealistic to Expect 100% Unconditional Love (unless You're My Cat)

It’s the middle of the night, I'm exhausted, and I want tosleep.

Unfortunately, getting some shut-eye is the lastthing on his mind. That’s why he keeps letting me know, in subtle andnot-so-subtleways, what he wants.

It starts with the gentle rubbing against me. Then it progresses to serious nuzzling.

And ifthe rubbing and nuzzling don't rouse me sufficiently, he intensifies his efforts with some pawing.

No matter how tired I am, though, it'simpossible for me to work up any genuine irritation with the littleguy. Most of the time I sleepily give in to his demandsfor affection.

That’s because I unconditionally love my cat. He can do no wrong in my eyes. Andin spite of the times I’ve dragged him to the vet, or have accidentally steppedon his tail, it seems as though he unconditionally loves me, too.

But...100% unconditional love between a woman and a man?

I don’t think so.

And neither does Dr. Paul Pearsall, author of an intriguingbook I just finished, The Last Self-HelpBook You’ll Ever Need: Repress Your Anger, Think Negatively, Be a Good Blamer & Throttle Your Inner Child.

Here’s what the good doctor prescribes:

“Healthy, lasting love is conditional, not unconditional. Noone, including you, is love-worthy if she or he does not behave lovingly. Loveis something you earn, not something you deserve.”

Love is earned? What a concept. And to some people, it seems to be a very foreign concept.

I watch people get intorelationships and end up disappointed -- when romantic misconceptionsabout unconditional love lead them down the wrong path. This isespecially true for people who believe that it's noble to remaindevoted to a partner who doesn't behave lovingly.

These "noble" folks, moreoften than not, eventually turn up martyred upon the Altar ofUnconditional Love. As far as I'm concerned, if you end up feelingbitter and resentful and hopelessly devoted, it isn't goodunconditional loving you're doing!

It's a sign that you need to raise your standards about how your partner treats you.

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While I believe thatthe expectation of 100% unconditional loving between men and women isunrealistic, strong relationships do have plenty of moments of unconditional loving.

Like when one person is down or sick, and his/her partner comes through with no-strings-attached kindness.

Or, in the middle of the night, when you'reexhausted, and that person you love dearly is wide-awake, so you stayup with him for a while...

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