It bears repeating

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.

ETA:

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.”

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One thought on “It bears repeating

  1. I believe that love is, in short, wanting the best for the other person. It is not expecting the other person to meet your needs. Rather, it is choosing to love them regardless of their imperfections.

    Don’t confuse loving someone for deciding to stay with someone. They are two separate concepts. I love TL. I hope she loves me, though I know that’s her decision. I hope she stays with me, though I know that’s also her decision. I will love her even if she decides not to stay with me. I recognize that it may be possible for her to love me, even if safety requires her to leave me.

    Let me be clear. I do not need TL to love me, and I am not motivated by a desire for her to love me. I want her to love me. I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. But, I do not need her to love me. I do things for TL and for me because I want to do so, because it makes me happy. I do not seek her validation. Before D-day, I did wrongly seek validation. I’ve learned my lesson; validation comes from oneself, not from anyone else.

    I know I want the best for TL, including her safety. I know I have to choose between TL and my sick obsessions. I’ve made my choice, and I’m much happier for it. Before D-day, I incorrectly thought that if TL loved me, she would strive to meet my needs, particularly for sex and self-esteem. After D-day, I learned that love really means you don’t expect the other person to meet your needs. Truly loving someone is not dependent upon anything else.

    I want what’s best for TL because I love her, and I have chosen to love her. That means I take pleasure in her pleasure. It means her safety is paramount to me.

    Before D-day, I did condition my attention to TL on whether and how she met my needs. That was wrong, selfish, and not in line with the true spirit of love. If I was unhappy about the quantity of sex or ego-boosting attention I got from TL, I retaliated.

    Before D-day, I was obsessed with my own needs. I made my acts of loving kindness conditional on my perception of others’ efforts to meet my needs. After D-day, I began working to reverse this grave error. Now, my love for TL is not because I want something in return, but just because I want to love her. I enjoy doing so. I love her regardless of what she does for me. I want her to be safe regardless of anything else.

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