On Outgrowing Relationships and Experiencing Unconditional Love

A little earlier, over on Facebook, I wrote about how, sometimes, one outgrows a relationship, be it romantic, familial, a friendship, whichever. It isn’t healthy to try and remain in it out of guilt and obligation and/or fear. (I am excluding here those people who are in tenuous circumstances where leaving a problematic relationship is not an immediate option. Privilege and power differentials within and between parties are so often major factors.)

In response, a certain friend replied: “Life is not like a Hallmark movie. Most of the time we spend a ‘moment’ in time with someone. It does not diminish that relationship if it was not FOREVER. Unconditional love is a misnomer.”

I found this response of his interesting and thought-provoking. I replied by saying how I try my best to practice holding and sending compassion for others, including those I have moved on from and them from me. I went on to explain that I think unconditional love can be selectively practiced over those closest to us who we do not grow apart from.

I myself never experienced unconditional love growing up or into most of my adulthood, until I met my husband. Now, I’m experiencing what feels like that between him and myself, though it has definitely had to develop. It’s not about the romantic, passionate “fireworks” feeling, sensation, and thought states. Unconditional love for someone is a comparatively calmer, deeper emotional-sensory inner experience arising from having a sustained, safe outer connection with another, who congruently shares a similar inner emotional-sensory experience with the other. All of this phenomena goes beyond words.

This kind of love comes from one’s core, true Self. For most if not all of us, accessing our own Self takes a steady practice over time, informed by our own personal histories.

9 thoughts on “On Outgrowing Relationships and Experiencing Unconditional Love

  1. Ah, you’ve done it again, Sherlock! The way you’ve explained unconditional love is so beautiful. As a very young mother, I felt that same feeling for my oldest son, then my middle son, and again with my youngest son. There is no way to explain that feeling that I can think of except perhaps, “You’d climb any mountain to protect the ones you love.” which I would do for my own and perhaps a few others I care deeply about. Thank you so much for such a heartfelt post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had to look up a word for stick-to-itiveness to look for a better word to describe what I am trying to convey. That word was “steadfastly”. Through thick or thin, I steadfastly believe in the people I love. I accept all their foibles (a minor weakness or eccentricity) as just that. After all, we’re all human and every one of us has our own foibles. We love who we love as they are, in spite of their own foibles. I seem to have a keen eye for the foibles in others and accept them as they are!

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    1. That is great how you have that ability, including to love your own children unconditionally. For some, feeling and expressing unconditional love comes much harder, if at all. I do believe, however, that the capacity to feel and express unconditional love resides in most people, possibly all.

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      1. Thought-provoking, indeed! Ironically, there are people I can trust from the moment I meet them. I suppose that’s akin to love since they are both connected. “All of this phenomena goes beyond words” – how true. You need all your senses, parts, and (instincts as Gabor Mate once said). I think parts hold the trauma and protectors do just that such as Firefighters, Managers, etc.

        Your website is such a great website for my Word Girl. She just loves to come up with the perfect word to describe what she wants to convey.

        For some reason, I’ve been thinking about the movie, “Hemingway & Gelhorn”, starring Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen. I’ll have to watch it again and see (possibly it’s about the writing connection and drinking history). I’ll find out after I watch it again.

        Thank you so much for including me in this wonderful portal to greater ideas and more meaningful connections. It has been a God-send.

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  3. I feel so glad for you that you and your husband create this kind of live together. A constant gift to make and give one another together!

    I wonder if your Facebook friend who commented that Unconditional love is a misnomer is one of many people who conflate all kinds of love into one? I mean, I’d agree that the wowzer romantic love of Hallmark valentines doesn’t persist as a constant in a long-term relationship (but it sure can be rekindled)…and other kinds of love may wax and wane too. If you define “love” too narrowly, then of course you can’t believe it lasts or can be unconditional…

    I also wonder if that person, along with so very many others, confuse “love” and “like” in a committed relationship? Perhaps it’s just me, but I believe one can have moments/times of not liking a person we actually love for various reasons…or of not liking parts of a person we love…but we can still live the person unconditionally. Maybe that makes no sense to anyone but me.

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