You Deserve A Partner Who Loves You Unconditionally!

Have you ever felt stronger about someone than he felt about you?

Have you ever been in a relationship where you were always worried about being dumped?

Have you ever longed for someone’s affections, only to be told some version of:

“It’s not you, it’s me.”
“I’m just not feeling it.”
“Let’s just be friends.”
“I think the timing is wrong.”
“We don’t have the right chemistry.”

If you’ve finished elementary school, you probably have!

If you have ever been on the wrong end of an unequal relationship, you know how terrible it feels.

Which means you’ve also spent sleepless nights beating yourself up, wondering what you could have done differently, asking friends how you could have turned things around.

If you have ever been on the wrong end of an unequal relationship, you know how terrible it feels.

Emotions flood over you that you’re embarrassed to admit. Feelings of worthlessness, neediness, confusion.

All because you gave your heart to a guy who didn’t give his back to you.

These are some of the most painful memories from romantic relationships, and, because of them, you may feel that it’s not worth it to date anymore.

Well, if every relationship ends in the same painful fashion, that would make sense.

But there are happy, healthy relationships out there. And the only way for you to find one is to get back out there by breaking your pattern of accepting unacceptable men.

A perfect example is a private dating coaching client of mine named Judy.

Judy is in her early 50’s, divorced, and quite successful.

She confessed that she wasn’t having much success online and told me about how she’s looking for a suitable partner. Someone youthful and passionate; someone who she’d feel excited about seeing every day for the rest of her life.

She signed up to work with me for three months. In that short time, she became an online dating superstar.

Her response rate skyrocketed when she learned to communicate online more effectively.

She graduated my Commitment Course as a stellar and appreciative student, and vowed to keep in touch.

Four months later, I got an email from Judy with an update.

It turned out that Judy was very effective online and had lots of dating choices. But after a few months of dating, she focused her energies on an exciting single dad. Ron may have been divorced with two teenagers, but, at age 52, he was still vibrant and sexy.

Judy hadn’t known this passion for years.

“Best sex of my life,” she told me with a little embarrassment and pride. Hey, who can blame her for developing a close bond with an attractive stallion of a man?

But there was trouble in paradise.

“Best sex of my life,” she told me with a little embarrassment and pride.

Judy’s mom had recently passed away and it threw her into a funk. It doesn’t matter how old you are; a parent is irreplaceable. The loss takes a long time to heal.

And ever since she was in mourning, she felt Ron pulling away. They were, after three months, a couple, yet he wasn’t giving Judy the security of being her official “boyfriend”.

Other emotional needs weren’t been met either.

Judy wanted Ron to drive down and spend the night to comfort her. He finally did it, but only after a considerable amount of negotiation.

Judy wanted to see Ron the following weekend to cheer her up; he couldn’t make time, even though he was able to make time every weekend prior to her mother’s death.

Suddenly, their torrid affair was grinding to a halt. Instead of treating Judy with unconditional love in her weakened condition; Ron treated her like a weak woman.

Needless to say, Judy was walking on eggshells, afraid that Ron would cut her off entirely. She even told me she was more upset about her relationship than she was about her own mother!

Her relationship was wreaking havoc on her life and all she wanted to do was figure out how to get Ron back. That’s why she was calling me for more coaching.

Now it may seem really obvious from the outside what Judy should have done, but when you’re too close to the problem, it’s much harder to take action.

I told Judy that Ron was doing her a huge FAVOR.

“A favor?” she asked. “He’s turning my life upside down. I can’t eat or sleep or think straight until I can get him back.”

Why do you want to get him back? I asked.

“Because I think I love him. I love the way he makes me feel.”

How is he making you feel right now?

“Not very good, obviously. But he’s not doing it on purpose.”

What does it matter? He’s your boyfriend. How do boyfriends generally try to make their girlfriends feel?

“I know, I know. I just don’t understand how he can be this way.”

Who cares?

“What?”

Who cares why he’s this way?

Don’t you think you deserve a partner who treats you the way you deserve to be treated?

Don’t you think you deserve a little warmth and affection?

Don’t you think that the kind of person you want to spend the rest of your life with will do ANYTHING in his power to take your pain away, rather than make it worse?

“I never thought of it that way”, Judy said.

Why go the rest of your life getting less than you give?

Of course not. You’re crazy about him. And when you’re crazy about someone, it’s easy to willfully blind yourself to his faults.

But when you tally up what you’re giving to the relationship, compared to what you’re getting from the relationship, it’s not even in the same ballpark.

Relationships are about unconditional love, and what he’s showing you is that his affection is ENTIRELY conditional.

Once you weren’t Ms. Sunshine, he had no use for you anymore.

A woman shouldn’t have to beg her boyfriend to see her after she learns her mother has died…

“I know. I just felt like he needed space. I felt like I’d done something wrong…”

It doesn’t take any character to stick with a happy person through good times; it’s when life presents a challenge that you figure out who your friends are.

I appreciate that you’re dazzled by this man, but I need you to recognize that Ron’s not as great as you make him out to be. He’s showing some major character flaws.

“So how do I get him back?”

You don’t get him back, Judy. You thank him for three good months and let him go.

This is why I said he’s doing you a favor.

Some people don’t learn what kind of partner they have until five years into a marriage.

You learned in three months that you’ve got someone who is unfit to give you the unconditional love you deserve.

And so, I encourage you ask yourself how this story applies to you. If you’ve dated at all, you’ve had some version of this experience, with a man pulling away suddenly, and you wondering “Why?”

The fact is: there’s someone in your history whom you thought was perfect, and didn’t give you the love you deserved. Think back to that tortured relationship.

Did you act like Judy?

Did you beg that man back?

Did you agonize about what you could have done differently? Or did you realize that you were being given a gift – an insight – a revelation about the future of your relationship?

A future in which you’re never comfortable, you’re never secure, and you’re never fully happy because it’s impossible to know where you stand.

When you realize that you’re not getting what you’re giving, it’s time to give that relationship a cold, hard evaluation.

Sometimes the people you love the most actually give you the least.

Why go the rest of your life getting less than you give?

You deserve more than that. You deserve it all.

36
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Comments:

  1. 31
    Francesbella

    I have been subscribing to this blog not very long, but I find the insight of EMK for his topics so helpful and get my brain tracking off on another tangent that had not even occurred to me.
    I have read “Why He Disappeared” and have followed along on some of the blog topics; what I get from this one is did Judy allow the feelings evoked by the great sex to get in the way of the other things? I thought I read somewhere EMK suggested not having sex with the fellow until he considered himself your boyfriend. Maybe Judy’s bloke regarded their relationship as more of a casually mutual affair. Not excusing the behaviour, mind, but maybe it’s more common to view the situation from where our feelings dictate, and not from where the relationship really is.

  2. 32
    Lily

    Evan,

    I like this, but like I mentioned at the other place, you are kinda like my new best friend.  Judy’s experience is exactly why I am CDing.  Maybe it’s fear based as well as the other things I mentioned.

    Lily

  3. 33
    Maeve

    Oh–no, I don’t think so.
    I agree with the substance of the advice you gave to Judy, who sounds like a wonderful person and who was being treated horribly by someone who should have had her best interests at heart. He did give her a gift, and once she’s over him, she’ll see that.
    But the only time Judy or you or I or anyone else ever deserves unconditional love is when we are children, from our parents. Period. The search for unconditional love in adult relationships is not healthy. Adult relationships DO and SHOULD have conditions, like: treat me well, or I’ll leave you (Judy’s solution). Or: don’t cheat on me, or the relationship is over. Conditions are just another way of saying boundaries.
    I love my daughter unconditionally. If she hit me over the head with a frying pan and burned the house down, I would still love her. But if a boyfriend ever hit me over the head with a frying pan and burned the house down, I’d lock him in jail.
    I’ve been in Judy’s position, only, as you wrote, I found out after the wedding. It was an enormously painful situation that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I wish her the best of luck and hope she is able to heal, move on, and find someone who deserves her very soon.

    1. 33.1
      Morgan

      @Maeve:

      I have the same idea about unconditional love. When I read Evan’s responses and he uses that phrase, especially in early RS, I cringe. I think it is a worthy topic….
      I look at unconditional love as loving my children-without condition. They always have my love. Always. If my child speaks disrespectfully to me I still love them. Even if my adult child does this I still love him. If he does it repeatedly I’d put up some kind of boundary, as I don’t believe in allowing people to be disrespectful, including my kids, but I’d never stop loving him. I’d never tell him he couldn’t be in my life and I’d never stop accepting him. Ever. But if the guy I’m dating, or quite possibly married to, continued to disrespect me I cannot say I’d always love them. I may put up with it on a bad day once or twice. I will not continue to love them unconditionally if his behavior continues to be abusive, or disrespectful and my self esteem plummets, or if I begin to feel badly every day around them.

      I look at love within my RS as forgiving a bad mood, for instance, or quirks of his that might make me annoyed, mistakes they might make and I believe in accepting my spouse, or RS as he is. I also believe in a lot of forgiveness and also letting some things go. However, character defects do not quite count in the unconditional love category (and I doubt anyone is saying that here…I know Evan does not mean accepting bad behavior). This is what I struggled with when making a decision to divorce my now ex. I stayed too long because I felt I should love him unconditionally but he was verbally and emotionally abusive, controlling, and eventually physically abusive. Believe it or not, my church even told me I needed to stay with him. I did for a long time. I went to therapy with him. I waited while he went to therapy. I tried forgiving. I did forgive. Yet the behavior continued. 8 years later I made the decision to leave him. I believe I waited too long. But I made a commitment and I would not have bailed had he made changes.
      If I am in a very new RS with a guy, I’m observing who he is. Unconditional love doesn’t fit here in my opinion. Acceptance is a better word. Semantics….

      I also take intentions into account. I’d love to see a topic on Intentions as I’m having this conversation with someone right now. I do not think intentions carry much weight. Actions do. I think hearing “But I did not intend to hurt you” is a cop out, especially if it becomes the norm. The guy I recently broke up with would use the Intention thing often. And he would contend Intentions are very important.

      Hmmm, didn’t mean to hijack the topic from OP. I was just happy to hear another point of view on unconditional love. For many women, we stay too long in a bad or abusive RS due to hearing we should have unconditional love. Love with another adult is should be conditional in this way.

      As far as the OP, it is hard to know what was going on with him early in the RS. Maybe he didn’t have enough energy to take on grief at that moment….not giving him an out, but there COULD possibly be extraneous circumstances. In my opinion bailing during the death of her mom is quite pathetic. Even in an early RS. There could have been some kind of support happening. I would def be looking at that piece as a reason to move on from him.

      1. 33.1.1
        SparklingEmerald

        I think “unconditional love” in the context of relationships, means accepting someones quirks and flaws, but NOT mistreatment toward you.

        A quirk could be an unusual hobby, an different way of laughing, a funny little mannerism, or not being able a sandwich unless the crust is cut off. Maybe even some more annoying traits, such as being messy, drumming your fingers, eating crackers in bed, cutting the cheese in bed. We all have our quirks, we all have our annoying habits. Learn to tolerate that little stuff.

        However, cheating, beating, chronic verbal abuse, isolating you from family and friends, destroying or discarding your belongings, “forbidding” your spouse from engaging in harmless activities, etc. are violations of your rights, and is a sign is that YOU are not being given unconditional love. No one should tolerate that stuff.

  4. 34
    Sayanta

    Maeve
    Think Evan means unconditional as in accepting flaws and circumstances, not domestic abuse

  5. 35
    Venus

    I don’t interpret unconditional love to mean putting up with unacceptable or dangerous behaviour.  For me it means having someone who will support you throughout the changes in your life.  Be there if you become ill, be there if you gain 10 pounds, be there if you lost your job, support you if your kid is incarcerated.  etc.  No one wants to be in a relationship where during your most vulnerable moments your support system completely disappears.  Thats horrible.  A good partner is willing to stand by you in good times AND in bad.  No begging required. 

  6. 36
    Maeve

    I’m not talking about abuse either, as you can see in my comment. There are and there should be conditions on adult relationships.
     
    Someone who puts a condition of “I’ll be there for you so long as you don’t need me,” as in this post, is clearly an idiot. But everyone has conditions. For some people, it’s religion (“I’ll stay with you so long as we are in the same church,” or “so long as we are both atheist”). For other’s it’s hobbies, career (how many people do you know who would leave their marriage if their spouse decided to quit their job and take up surfing or golf?), politics, lifestyle–lots of things.
     
    But it’s unhealthy to look for a relationship in which you will be loved unconditionally, or to look for someone to love unconditionally yourself. It’s better to look for a partner whose conditions you meet, feel comfortable with, and can commit to, and vice versa. Loving unconditionally has a way of trapping people in a bad situation with no easy or obvious exit. Frankly one could argue that if Judy loved her boyfriend unconditionally, she wouldn’t have left him when he proved shallow and unsupportive. That was her condition (after some coaching). It’s a good one.

  7. 37
    starthrower68

    I’m not sure where the impression that unconditiona love means putting up with bad behavior is coming from.  I certainly don’t see it in Evan’s post.  But there certainly is a difference between accepting poor treatment (which no one should do) and accepting someone’s shortcomings.  Evan has said that he is neurotic.  His wife loves him and accepts that as part of who Evan is.  She is getting a loving husband because she accepts his weaknesses as well as his strengths.  It is important to make the distinction between a weakness and an outright character defecit.  Evan might be neurotic, but I suspect that does not get in the way of his love for his wife, and I’m sure it does not lead him to treat her badly.  Does it annoy her?  Perhaps on a bad day.  But she accepts and forgives.  If Evan were a liar and cheater, I’d hope she’d leave him.  But he’s not.  His wife loves him because.  He probably tries to keep his neuroses in check so as not to be a nuisance to her, but she doesn’t try to change him, or threaten to leave if he doesn’t.  Conditional love would be saying, “I will only love you if you have blue eyes” or “I will only love you if you have sex with me 50 times a week and if you don’t I will never speak to you again”.  Unconditional love is unmerited favor. 

  8. 38
    Selena

    Starthrower #37: “Unconditional love is unmerited favor.” That’s as good a definition as any, but it still assumes  conditions (unmeritied) will always remain the same. And the level of tolerance will as well.  My contention, ( and Maeve’s ?) is that no one can make such a prediction.

  9. 39
    Flower

    Sorry Judy for the loss of your dear Mother. Thanks Evan for your continued words of wisdom.

    This community is so helpful and cathartic cathartic I lurk more than I post.

    Judy a similar thing happened to me. Was dating a man for a few months when my Mother died not only did he refuse to go to the funeral with me he went on a scheduled vacation with a “platonic” ex girl friend during the period before Mom died. Though I was numb with grief I had the sense to dump him a month later.

    Doesn’t matter what a man says it matters what he does. Again, my condoleances on your loss.

  10. 40
    Sarah

    Ron sounds just like an ex of mine.  I too was going through a rough time (also having to do with my mother) and the a$$hole told me I was “too damaged” and dumped me.  (He practically worshiped me when life was easy and I was happy.)  I wish Evan had been there to knock some sense into me when I agonized over what I could have done differently so the a$$hole would still love me, and blamed myself (like the a$$hole did, using my being “damaged” as a reason for my unworthiness), and wished to get him back.
     
    It sure is easy to see what a jerk the a$$hole is when it’s not your emotions going through the wringer.  Much harder when you’ve fallen for someone you thought was wonderful and then he shows you how wrong you were to think that.
     
    Preach it, Evan!

  11. 41
    Jadafisk

    Wouldn’t you have to radically redefine “unconditional love” to exclude bad behavior? When people talk about a deity’s unconditional love, or a mother’s unconditional love, they mean loving them despite bad behavior, rejection and abandonment (the very conditions that are rightly deemed cause for ending romantic relationships)… they mean presenting a person with a wellspring of forgiveness, and loving them even when they intentionally hurt you – that’s what makes it such a high standard of love that is so powerful for people and so emphatically praised by them. Plain old “love” covers the rest already. If someone leaves you because you gained 10 pounds or got sick, that wasn’t any kind of love at all.

  12. 42
    Shouraku

    From dictionary.com:
    Unconditional: without conditions or limitations.

    Based on the dictionary definition, I can see what Maeve (#33) is saying.

  13. 43
    starthrower68

    Jadafisk,

    To answer your question, not necessarily, because you can forgive someone and still be aware you can’t be in relationship with them.  Unconditional love doesn’t mean you put up with being mistreated.  Nor does forgiveness.  Let’s say I loved someone very much, who was an addict; when he was under the influence of that substance and can’t break free of it.  He may or may not have been abusive when under the influence of that substance.  Do I stay in relationship with him because of unconditional love? Absolutely not. I respect myself too much to do that, but I choose to forgive him.  No, I won’t enter a relationhip with him again (unless he could break his addiction, but I can’t live life on that possibility).  I don’t try to get back at him for how he treated me.  I go on with life.  I agree, your analogy of gaining 10 pounds is the antithesis of unconditional love.

    Let me try this: I was chatting with a guy on line who I truly believe is one of the good ones.  But he’s got too much drama in his life right now and needs to get his life together.  I didn’t get angry with him because nothing is going to get off the ground.  As a matter of fact, I encouraged him as best I could, let him talk when he needed to, all the while recognizing it probably wasn’t going to go anywhere because we are in two different places.  I wish the best for him.  It’s highly likely I will never hear from him again.  But I treated him well anyway.  That is unconditional love.  It may be in a very broad sense of the term, and we weren’t “in love” but I’m certainly not without compassion toward him for where he’s at right now.

  14. 44
    Elle

    I could feel how painful it was for Judy – first her mother’s death, and the death of her “supposed-to-be” relationship with Ron.  But it was good that she was able to have a session with you, Evan.  It’s healthy that she will come to realize that she deserves more than what Ron can offer.  She deserves unconditional love without any setbacks. Good luck on your next date and I hope you find the happiness you are worthy of.

  15. 46
    Gem

    Jadafisk, #41,

    Ditto!!

  16. 47
    SS

    @Selena 29
    LIFE sets up conditions as it goes on – one doesn’t know how they will handle situations until they are presented. This guy may lack integrity, but I think it’s also possible he would have started pulling back even if Judy’s mother hadn’t passed.  I get the impression Judy was more infatuated than he was. Timing…sometimes coincides with other events.
     
    I completely agree. This happened to me often when I was dating — while I never lost a family member (my condolences Judy) or had something tragic happen to me or a man I was dating, there was always SOMETHING that came up in the man’s life that served as a convenient excuse for why he couldn’t give me his full attention.
    One guy said his mentally disabled older brother had been in a car accident. Now I know this wasn’t a lie… I met the brother. But, it wasn’t exactly coincidental that this man was started to express hesitation about the future of our dating life not long before the car accident happened. Then it became, “I’m really preoccupied with my brother and my the financial future of my business and my ex-wife’s demands.” Oh, and then his dad in Florida got sick and he had to fly there. I would call him, and he would never answer, yet he would have time to E-MAIL me a day later to “thank me” for my call and say he was enjoying the peace and calm and quiet of Florida. No word about getting back to me or when we would get together or the fact that he had said he would call that weekend.
    All of this happened around that crucial three-month mark that’s usually make-or-break time for something more serious to develop. While all these things might have really happened in his life, I also think they served as GREAT excuses for his already expressed desire to pull back from me.
     
    The fact that I put up with that showed that I learned few lessons from a very similar situation four years earlier, in which a man suddenly had all of these issues around the three-month mark. The business was failing (yes, I had a period of dating guys who owned companies), he was going to switch careers and needed to study a lot to pass an important exam, his mom was ill, etc.
     
    So, while life does indeed happen and tragedies are a part of that life, I think also that the response to such situations often is little more than a case of He/She’s Just Not That Into You. Yes, the guy Judy was dating was probably more awful than many seeing that he did nothing when Judy’s mother died, but at the same time, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was already having reservations about making the relationship more serious and then the death of Judy’s mom gave him the “out” that he was looking for… or gave him more ammunition for his fears that he wasn’t ready for the responsibilities of a relationship, like comforting your partner in the face of tragedy.

  17. 48
    Selena

    @SS #47

    You articulated what I meant better than I wrote. :)

    Yes, I think Judy’s mother death may have made him realize he wasn’t “into” her enough to be a comforting partner. The 3 month mark is very often a pivotal point in a relationship – whether or not there is to actually BE a relationship.

  18. 49
    Twilight Princess

    It’s always nice to come to this website and read something like this and feel so refreshed. :-) Just from reading the information on this blog, I have been able to find a nice man that does all those wonderful things for me. It’s hard to believe I had it any other way.

  19. 50
    Margo

    @SS and Selena, Yep, all excuses from slimeballs looking for a way out.

  20. 51
    Kathy

    I agree with Evans advice.  What about extinuating circumstances?  I have a similar situation.  My father recently passed away.  My long-distance boyfriend has been out of work and just started a job the day before dad passed.  We were discussing a plane ticket, purchased by me, so he could visit, before Dad passed.  Without asking what I wanted, the boyfriend decided it was not “practical” for him to fly in for the funeral.  I felt abandoned and hurt by his non-action.  I understand he didn’t want me to pay for his flight….however, I feel a lot lower on his list of priorities than he claimed.  Am I wrong for expecting him to at least ask what I wanted?

  21. 53
    Gina

    This article is everything I have thought about this one guy who I gave so much to emotionally and got nothing in return.  I have used the words “unconditional” love and him “doing me a favor” by pulling away and breaking up with me.  I feel so much better after reading this article and just need to move on once and for all from the feelings I still have for this jerk who I believed I could see myself settling down with.  But now you’ve opened my eyes and made me realize he has serious character flaws….no thanks!!!

  22. 54
    Bill

    @Kathy #51
     
    Your new beau just started a job after being unemployed, and you wonder why he doesn’t come and (most likely) blow off his new-found income, in today’s economy?
    Frankly I’d say his keeping his priorities- financial security should come first in his life.
     
    This may sound a bit cold, but consider his perspective. If you’ve never been unable to find work for a significant period, it may be hard to empathize. I was once out of work for 2 years (worked any job I could find, but people won’t hire you when you’re “overqualified”)…I now will let nothing and no one get in the way of maintaining my income. I simply can’t afford to risk my financial security for anything – it’s a matter of survival.
     
    Your boyfriend may be experiencing something similar. he’s certainly feeling some stress.

  23. 55
    JS

    Evan,
    I just wonder….if Judy and her bf had been together longer, dont you think he would have been there for her. But three months is kind of a short time to be relying on someone emotionally. I feel like in the beginning (3 months give or take) we shouldnt tell our S.O. too much about our pain, issues, trauma, etc. I know as a woman it is hard not to….but I feel like men are never that invested until around 6months or even longer. Maybe I’m too guarded, I dont know.

    But my feeling is most people can’t handle too much drama/trauma/grief/sadness at the beginning and…quite frankly, even in friendships a lot of people just arent equipped to deal with death. I had to deal with death as a child and I can tell you most people have a very hard time w/ death and become very uncomfortable around the subject of death b/c they have to face their own mortality.

  24. 56
    Anne

    Thank you for this post- it was just what I needed to read. 

  25. 57
    judy

    Dear Judy, sorry to hear of your loss.  Losing a parent is devastating.  And I hope you feel better soon.
    If he cannot see that you need a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear when you have lost your parent, thank your lucky stars that he showed you his true colours early on.  Unfeeling, unsympathetic and cold. 
    Seriously. 

  26. 58
    kerry

    this doesn’t just apply to hetero relationships it also applies to same sex adults
     

  27. 59
    JM

    Sixteen months ago, I was involved with a ginger 17 years my junior.  Once this woman-child realized our relationship wasn’t going to be all erotic poetry and multiple orgasms, she began to pull away.  In a matter of two months, I went from, “You’re the great love of my life” to “I really don’t know how I feel about you anymore.”  Don’t get involved with someone under 30 if you’re over 40.  It doesn’t work.

  28. 60
    chevon

    I was judy. I was treated like that but I always thought I was the problem cos that’s what he told me. He can’t handle my need to feel secure. He could barely hold my hand in public. He used to leave but I always begged him to come back. Can u believe I spent 8 years doing this. 8 years I can never get back. chevon

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