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What is unconditional love, and if so, what do people mean when they speak of it?

I'm not sure I really understand unconditional love or what it's about. What do people mean when they speak of love that is "unconditional"?

AlasBabylon 8 Feb 24

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I think unconditional love is for children. that is, to be given only to your children, whom you will love no matter what they do. In the context of a romantic relationship, for me,loving someone unconditionally meant loving him unconditionally while he treated me very badly and acted with utter disregard for my needs and well-being. I am not promoting “conditional” love - that is essentially what I got - love that was awarded for sacrificing myself for him, and withheld when I displeased him. I am willing to love openly and completely someone who does the same for me, but I will never again promise to love someone who
doesn’t treat me with love.

& you shouldn't. Love should be a two-way street, & if a spousal-type relationship should be as much of a partnership as works for the members.

I tend to agree with you. If someone treats you very badly, as you talked about, I consider that a condition. I think if people you love change for the worse, then it's possible your feelings for them can change.

I agree with you. There's no unconditional love, only to our children. We can't even love blood relatives unconditionally anymore. It just doesn't work that way but my daughter? I would give my life for her.


At this point in my life, is say my pets have unconditional love. They don't care who you are, what you look like, how much money you make or really if you even have a job. They are happy to see you when you come home, whether you were gone 8 hours or 5 minutes. They are always glad you come home!


At my job, I have chances to be kind to little tiny kids who need every scrap of kindness they can get. The little tykes like me. I befriended a little boy. He moved to a different state to the custody of his aunt. He sent me a Valentine and his school picture. That little paper Valentine was the best Valentine I ever got. I framed the picture and the Valentine and hung it next to my computer at home.

SKH78 Level 8 Feb 25, 2018

That is heartwarming


It is the best feeling in the world. I receive it from another and feel it for her. Others in this thread have touched on it, but I will say it IS possible for it to exist between people other than your children.

Absolutely. It is rare and I don't think it happens to everyone though the world would be a better place if it did IMO


I'm with the folks that state it's for your kids. When I think of it, I'm immediately drawn to the idea of folks that only love their kids if they believe what their parents do and always live up to the parents expectations and have the correct sexual preference then that's what unconditional love is not. To the rest of us we love our kids even if they disagree with us and go down a different path than we had envisioned but we still love them. That's what I think of when I hear the phrase.

gearl Level 7 Feb 25, 2018

I see a lot of people think it comes when you have a child, but not in my case. My son grew up to be a vile, toxic person to me who has destroyed my home, verbally abused me, etc. We do not speak. I have it my mom and did for my father, but they were great people. If they are destructive they don't deserve unconditional love.

I have to agree with you and my heart goes to all those that are good people and their children become something totally different and you ask yourself why and how it was possible. I am lucky my 3 children came out with an edge and not your normal dull citizen but Not evil.


What is unconditional love? If you find the person you love in bed with someone else do you continue to love him or her unconditionally or must there be conditions to love? I can well understand unconditional love for babies and children, those who are elderly or those who are ill and unable to take care of themselves.

Your example is one reason I'm a proponent of polyamory. Do we get angry at our friends for having other friends? Do we resent our parents for having multiple children? That's not love,its possessiveness IMO


Unconditional love is just that. You would love someone no matter what. Without them having to love you back, no matter how they betrayed you, no matter how bad they are. The only possible case I could see is your own children.
The more common form of extremely emotional love believes in the absolute value of the beloved, who in love is always held to be in greater and incomparably more valuable than the loving subject, because real love of its essence aims at the absolute. The absolute is its only object; all other objects leave it unsatisfied. However much the lover may grow in love, he always feels small, poor, powerless, the lessor of the two. Every donation of himself is felt as imperfect in contrast to the loveliness of the beloved.
Sorry you asked?

No, I am interested in getting different points of view. I never have experienced the kind of love you were talking about, and I don't know if I'd ever want to love like that.

@MST3K I have and for a very short time it was reciprocated, sadly it didn't last.


I have unconditional love for my children. I didn't understand what it meant until they arrived. I also have a different sort of unconditional love for my best friends, my life long friends who I've grown up with and although we live miles apart when we do meet up we pick up where we left off without a hiccup. Unconditional romantic love, is tougher because lust and sex and all that stuff can get in the way. It's just different but very potent.


I love Wikipedia and they've really outdone themselves in this entry. The link is a great short read into the psychological, humanistic and religious conceptualizations of unconditional love.

I've experienced it as a teacher, counselor and family member. I strive for it for all humanity but it's not always easy, seeing the proclivity of so many for greed, hate and destruction. Separating a person from their behavior is not always easy.

Since most of my family are fundamentalist theists in a culture of hate for others, I've distanced myself from them but that doesn't mean I don't still love them. In this case and as with other past relationships, I feel such separation is an expression of unconditional love in that it is in no way an expression of love to enable such behaviors or any unconditional love of myself for exposing myself to them.


Your response to separation being an expression of unconditional love boggles my mind, at least in my case. Separation is the worst possible thing any person can ever do to me. I feel rejected because I am, not because I am feeling like a victim. I am a victim. Too many so called friends and family have done that to me, without good reason. I am not perfect, but I do not deserve 99% of shunning, as I like to call it. Cannot change what I am, at least not to rid myself of all feelings of rejection. I am 60 years old and still dealing with rejection.


It is fiction. There are always conditions, even if they are way out there and can usually be ignored.

Even the love of a mother for a child can be destroyed.


If you want unconditional love, get a dog.

JimG Level 8 Feb 25, 2018

Unconditional love is what it sounds like---loving someone no matter what happens and what they do. I love my children and would continue to love them no matter what. I used to think this was possible in relationships but was schooled on that one by my ex.


In Psychological terms Mothers Love is Unconditional-Fathers love is conditional. Nobody can ever say anything about her offspring. As bad as they might be she will always love them and swear to the world how wonderful they are. Daddy on the other hand doesn't quite have the same outlook and his affection can vary because of the a sex identity. This can also relate to his son who if he doesn't like what he is being told to like or pursue the occupation he is told, or could not be a competitive sports fan. Lots of things come into play when it comes to seeing how you fair. This is Psychological Theory and I'm not a Psychologist but it is the way it was taught to me.
Animals exhibit unconditional affection to their owners.

I think you're partially right in a very general way. I agree that mothers are more likely to love in a manner we would consider "unconditional" than fathers, that doesn't mean they will swear to their "wonderfulness" in all cases, they will just still love them. Fathers not as much, I tend to agree, & the sex of the offspring can have a lot to do with it. Nowhere near all animals show unconditional love for their "owners", by any means. I think dogs may lean that way more than other animals, but even then I think it would be more a type of loyalty, pack mentality/pecking order & self-interest. Sure, there may actually be some type of affection there, but I think you anthropomorphize too much.
As far as that kind of love between adults not related, I doubt it unless it was a twisted dependant type of love. Not that one cannot love a friend or spouse, say, for a lifetime, but major changes in the relationship or dynamic can alter it to a possible very large degree.
So, if unconditional love does really exist at all, it would be limited & rare.


It means I love you and will never stop loving you no matter what. It's a fantasy written in love stories


I don't believe in absolutely, literal, unconditional love. But there is relative unconditional love, if you will. I think it exists, for practical purposes anyway, when it's mutual. If, for example, I suddenly began beating my wife, I think her "unconditional" love for me would (and should!) evaporate.

In some ways, parent / child love is even stronger, but there are ways to break that to, or at least render it horribly dysfunctional. I heard about a woman whose son murdered his own child, slit its throat in his mother's bathtub. And laughed about it. I don't know what I'd do with that information in her shoes, but if there was any "unconditional love" left for her son it would be very dysfunctional to express it, in my view.

What most people mean by unconditional love is that someone loves you in such a way that you cannot do anything, ever, to lose that love. That sounds great. But if you think about that for awhile, that's not a desirable sort of love, it is just slavish devotion. Love is not weak, it is strong. It has standards. It has balance. It is reciprocal.

I agree -- love can be destroyed. We shouldn't take the term too literally.


I do not believe it to truly exist.
It's a flight of fancy and a romantic notion.


to me its just without conditions, except perhaps that the individual feeling this love be living. Parents love for a child, or a siblings love. Its a love where forgiveness and patience, even rejection do not turn it away.....???

Exactly. I'd like to add that feeling that way changes you. You become aware of the selfishness of the feelings you used to call love. It's a thing you give that gives back to you whether it's reciprocated or not.

What about cases where a wife finds out her husband is a serial child rapist? Perhaps sometimes a person isn't really lovable or even worthy of love?

the purity or depth of this love is of course subject to scrutiny. in the case you describe the love she feels might be misplaced, might be based in a fantasy identity, etc.
deserve, worthy of, all that stuff is irrelevant. thats what "unconditional" means. loving regardless of circumstances. if love is given only when worthiness merits loving, its not really love perhaps.

@hankster yes. Loving someone doesn't mean accepting or approving of everything they do.

Sometimes the person loved can become toxic for one reason or another. At that point it may become necessary to disengage. There are all sorts of ways to quietly look out for someone and support them without them being aware. (& Now I sound like a stalker)

Also even if things do go terribly wrong the memory of that feeling and the understanding of what it is remain.

Feeling that way about anyone forces you to grow and that growth stays with you.

@MST3K pretty extreme . I can't honestly say because I haven't lived that and hope I never do.


A feeling when given. A feeling when received.

Uncas Level 4 Feb 24, 2018

Oh my! This question sparks with an essence of spice and wine. Unconditional love is true love; the kind that blinds the eyes. Unconditional love is caring about the happiness of another person without any thought for what we might get for ourselves. In other words, you love deeply, clearly and without question.


A dog's love is just this.....

Love, love, love!


I am not sure what unconditional means as there are always going to be points of discord even among those who love each other very much. In my case I have been married for 58 years to a wonderful wife and we are lucky to have each other in our older years.Marriage requires work ,mutual understanding and sometimes rejection. it is how these are handled that makes for a successful marriage. Marriage is like everything else ,it has rough spots and it is the join attempt to get thru these that makes the difference.


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