I don’t like the idea of love being conditional. In my view, that is cheater think. It is exactly what MindlessCraft believed as he rationalized and excused the irrational. If only it was so easy for us betrayed to turn on and off our love like some water spigot. It is not, which is why I think it is so important to understand that love is one thing, but safety is another. In my view, staying in the marriage is conditional. Love and safety are not.
So, when I talk of “love,” I define it as “wanting the best” for my partner, my parent, my child, my sibling, etc. What does this mean exactly? It means wanting this person to have the healthiest life possible, living to their fullest potential in both a healthy and loving way.
I think of my mother. I had anger toward her. I couldn’t have her as a part of my day-to-day life as she was not safe for me emotionally. But, I loved her. I always wanted her to be healthy and to have the tools within herself to live to her fullest potential in a healthy and loving way. My love for her was not conditioned upon anything, it just was. The fact that she was not safe for me did not turn my love off for her. The fact that I loved her did not turn off my need for my own safety. Love and safety were separate, independent variables. Having her in my day-to-day life was conditioned upon maintaining my safety, regardless of my love for her.
I get very scared, especially for victims of domestic violence who have been conditioned to believe in this “love is conditional” crap, when we make such declarations. Love is wanting what is best for the other. Enabling abusive behavior is not healthy and has nothing to do with love. So, instead of talking about love being conditional, I think we should talk about staying in the relationship as being conditional. And, so, this is what I mean by saying, “staying in the marriage is conditional. Love and safety are not.”