If you were asked to define unconditional love, what would you say? This form of love has been pegged as the holy grail of connection between two people. But what does it feel like? What sets it apart from other forms of love? How do you know when you’ve found it? To be able to answer these questions you need to understand unconditional love meaning.
Let’s uncover the layers of pure unconditional love to understand, look at it from the perspective of unconditional love examples shared with us by our readers, understand what does it mean to love someone unconditionally, and learn how you can cultivate it in your relationship.
What Does Unconditional Love Mean?
To define unconditional love in the most simple terms, one could say that it is to love without any conditions. Or affection that has no limits. A complete love. But then, isn’t that how love should always be? A feeling that is not transactional, not governed by material expectations and something that can neither be bought nor owed. An emotion that doesn’t require to be proven. And is bereft of all selfishness. Well, in an ideal world, perhaps.
However, human relationships are complex and love manifests itself in myriad forms. So, then how can you define unconditional love? In this cauldron of different shades of this single emotion, unconditional love can be pegged as its purest form. But unconditional love doesn’t just come by. It is cultivated by actively choosing to love another person, no matter what.
It doesn’t falter or waver when life throws a curveball at you or your relationship gets caught in the spate of rough waters. When someone says, “I love you unconditionally”, it means their biggest satisfaction comes from putting you first and prioritizing their relationship with you. And do so without expecting anything in return.
This ideal notion of a higher form of love can also be confusing. If unconditional love means choosing to love another person “no matter what”, can staying in an unhealthy, abusive or toxic relationship be justified on this premise? The answer is a clear, resounding NO.
Putting up with ill-treatment at the hands of a loved one is not one of the signs of unconditional love. No matter how much or how selflessly you love someone, every relationship needs healthy boundaries. In that sense, you can define unconditional love as loving someone irrespective of the circumstances and not how they treat you.
For instance, choosing to love someone irrespective of their professional success or the material comforts they can bring to your life is a form of pure unconditional love. But, on the other hand, suffering physical or emotional abuse at the hands of a partner is not.
Besides, if a person can love you unconditionally, they wouldn’t want to hurt you or put you down in any manner. If that’s not the case, then your love is more one-sided than unconditional. There is only so long that you can sustain such a dynamic, no matter how strong or pure your feelings. It’s crucial to define true unconditional love so that it doesn’t lead to some warped sense of compulsion to put up with abuse and toxicity in the name of love.
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How Do You Know If Someone Loves You Unconditionally?
You may have found yourself wondering, “How do we know if what we share in a romantic relationship qualifies as pure unconditional love?” Well, the answer to this question lies in the finer details of your relationship dynamics with your partner. How do you know if someone loves you unconditionally? Or how do you love someone unconditionally? Look out for these 7 signs:
1. You both share secrets without inhibition
The ability to share secrets without fear or inhibition is one of the classic unconditional love examples. If you and your partner can tell each other anything without flinching or worrying about what the revelation may do to your relationship, you have a strong foundation of trust. This trust has been established through the knowledge that no matter how embarrassing or scandalous a secret, you won’t judge each other for it. Nor will there be any expressions of disgust or shock.
At the end of the day, you accept the fact that you are both flawed human beings and choose to love each other anyway. You have given yourselves to each other completely and wholly, and your relationship is not just based on pure unconditional love but also unconditional support.
This is one of the strongest signs of unconditional love between a couple. Unless both partners know that the other will always have their back, this form of transparency in a relationship cannot be achieved.
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2. You are proud of each other
Taking pride in one’s romantic partner is another hallmark of pure unconditional love. This, of course, means being proud of each other’s accomplishments no matter how big or small. For instance, if your partner overcomes their fear of heights and tries their hand at bungee jumping, and your heart swells with pride. Or if you land a big promotion and your partner cannot stop gushing about it.
Unconditional love meaning cannot manifest in its true form unless both partners also take on the role of being each other’s biggest cheerleaders. This sense of pride extends beyond just material or worldly achievements. It also means drawing pride in the kind of people you are.
Appreciating your partner for their compassion or empathy. Or them feeling proud of your passion for your work or kindness toward animals. When you describe unconditional love, total acceptance of the other person is at its very core. That’s where this sense of pride stems from.
3. Skipping a heartbeat at seeing each other
If you’re wondering how can you define unconditional love, pay attention to this sign that two people are bound together by a higher, purer form of love. Your heart skipping a beat at the sight of your partner is common in the initial days of a relationship.
However, if you and your partner have been together a long time and you still find yourself staring at them every once in a while and feeling something stir inside – and vice versa – you share a love that is wholesome and complete. This is one of the signs of unconditional love.
Given how many romantic relationships suffer on account of a fizzled-out spark, this is truly rare and something to be proud of. It means that you have learned to accept and love each other for who you are. That’s the very definition of unconditional love. Isn’t it?
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4. A desire to grow old together
How do you define unconditional love in the way it manifests in romantic relationships? Well, when you cannot even picture an alternative to spending the rest of your days together makes for a fitting description. If you and your partner often talk about what it’d be like to grow old together, it’s a sign of unconditional love.
It can be dreamy plans about retiring and living in a cottage in the hills. Or jokes about chasing the kids away from home so that you can have some quality time together. All your life plans, whether short-term or distant, involve each other.
You factor in how a certain development would impact your togetherness before taking any decisions. Whenever you imagine a time years from now, you see your partner by your side. The idea is that you think about and discuss the prospect of a happily ever after often and it brings a twinkle to your eyes every single time.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been together for three years or 30 if your future together excites you both, it means that your feelings are only growing stronger with time. If that’s not unconditional love, what is!
5. You fight but makeup quickly
What does it mean to offer unconditional support in a relationship? How do you know if someone loves you unconditionally? Or how do you love someone unconditionally? Well, none of these things should be confused with being in agreement with each other 100%. Or being in a relationship with someone you are joint at the hip with.
These are indicators of toxic, unhealthy relationship dynamics, as far removed from pure unconditional love as can be. Sure, like any two people in a relationship, you’re bound to have disagreements, arguments and fights. But what sets pure unconditional love apart from any other, is that no fight is too big to drive a wedge between you two.
Neither of you sit around sulking, waiting for the other person to reach out because ‘it was their fault’ or ‘why should I be the one to make amends always’. You don’t let disagreements lead to resentment or unresolved anger. Or try to manipulate each other through stonewalling and silent treatment. Instead, you focus on conflict resolution through open and honest communication. Bury an issue once it is resolved and move on.
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6. You have witnessed each other’s vulnerabilities
When you look for unconditional love examples, the ability to be honest, authentic and vulnerable certainly shines through. A lot of people struggle to express their emotions in front of their partners and lay their hearts bare to each other. These inhibitions are fueled by trust issues and the fear of being judged.
Say you have been silently carrying the emotional baggage of a bad relationship, a crushing first breakup, or sexual abuse all these years. You haven’t spoken about it to anyone. Not even your closest friends. And have somehow learned to internalize and bottle up the pain, and get on with life.
But with your partner, these walls have come down naturally. You have not only shared the details of your most traumatic life experiences but also how it made you feel. Instead of it leading to awkwardness, this heart-to-heart conversation has brought you closer.
If sharing your vulnerabilities such as these comes naturally to you both, know that you are loved unconditionally and know how to reciprocate it. Even without realizing it. Talking about hopes, fears, aspirations, dreams without thinking twice means that you trust and love each other more than anyone else in this world.
7. You are protective of each other
Where there is unconditional love, the mama bear instinct naturally kicks in. It is this fiercely protective streak that often leaves many wondering, “Are women unconditional lovers?” Well, this protective streak works both ways. However, it doesn’t mean trying to clip each other’s wings. Or hiding one another from the world in the name of protection. The protectiveness shines through in the little everyday things.
Like making sure the other person is always safe. Instinctively holding their hand when crossing a busy street. Walking on the side of the traffic when on a road. Asking them or being asked to text when you’ve reached someplace. This instinct doesn’t fade away with time, it only gets stronger.
The importance of unconditional love shines through in such attributes, which bring you a sense of security in the relationship. When your love is pure and conditional, you can rest assured that your partner has your back, no matter what.
8 People Define Unconditional Love In Beautiful Ways
Given that love in its purest form is rare to come by, we asked our readers to define unconditional love as they have seen or experienced it. These 8 people defined it in diverse yet beautiful ways:
1. Unconditional love is acceptance
Unconditional love meaning can be whole-hearted acceptance of who a person is.
Amreeta Sen says, “I’d define unconditional love as one that settles into acceptance. That’s that kind of love that enables couples to stay together through everything. The love that began everything is too powerful to make for easy living. You cannot exist with such power. You need calmer waters.”
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2. A love without expectations
How can you define unconditional love? A love free from expectations is a fitting description. After all, a relationship based on give-and-take becomes more of an arrangement of convenience rather than a hallmark of pure unconditional love.
Barkha Parikh says, “The primary concern of unconditional love is to not expect anything from one’s beloved. Not even a communication, not an iota of it. Just love them from a distance and see them happy and growing. It’s about being a giver always…😊❤️”
3. A meditative state
You can also define unconditional love as something higher and ethereal.
Jae Rajesh says, “Love is an emotional space, similar to the mind’s meditative state. One that is not affected by external influences. It’s a deeply intimate emotion created and wholly owned by you. Whether it’s your mother, child or that special someone, you have that deeply affectionate feeling towards them all. It’s devoid of ego and therefore, unconditional. That is love. The moment it’s conditional, the ego is in play; there may be an attraction, there may be lust and desire; it’s no longer love.”
4. A mother’s love
Are women unconditional lovers? If you have seen a mother’s love for her child, you’d agree that they undoubtedly are. After all, unconditional love isn’t necessarily romantic love.
Bhavneet Bhatti says, “Mother. That is the only word that comes to my mind when I think of how to define unconditional love. I have loved and have been loved in the most passionate and purest ways, but nothing comes even closer to a mother’s love. From comforting a crying child to losing her all for the little joys of her child, a mother does countless things that have no parallel to any other love known to me.
At the cost of sounding cliche, I would still say that what a mother can do for a child, knows no conditions, and the beauty lies in the fact that this unconditional love is the most effortless and natural too!”
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5. Unrequited love is unconditional
To love without expecting to be loved in return truly encompasses unconditional love meaning.
Anuradha Sharma says, “When I think of pure unconditional love, unrequited love comes to mind. That’s because it’s a love that is free of any conditions, expectations or limitations. You choose to love someone, irrespective of how they feel about you. In fact, you choose to love them knowing that your love will never be returned. That is the very definition of love that is selfless and bereft of conditions.”
6. A love that transcends life and death
To quote Rumi, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about.”
Suman Sakia says, “When one partner has passed on and the other spends their remaining days honoring their memory by loving them is unconditional love in its highest form. It’s a love that transcends the barriers of life and death. There can be no bond purer or stronger than that.”
7. A rhythmic love
You cannot call it unconditional love if it doesn’t survive the rigmarole of everyday life.
Jay Bhutiani says, “To define unconditional love one has to look beyond the dizzying, butterflies in the stomach, honeymoon phase of love. Unconditional love, by definition, has to be enduring. That can happen only when the love continues to grow strong even if a couple has settled into the rhythm of everyday life.”
8. Letting them have the last slice of pizza
Because unconditional love demands sacrifices!
Roma Ray says, “Unconditional love is sharing a last slice of pizza, or better still letting the other person have it, without wincing or grudging them for it.”
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5 Tips To Foster Unconditional Love In Your Relationship
Once you understand the meaning of unconditional love in true earnest, it becomes something to aspire to in your relationships as well. To be able to love someone without any terms and conditions is a whole other level of wholesomeness. And if a person can love you unconditionally in return, you can rest assured that you have found your happily-ever-after.
That being said, it cannot be reiterated enough that sacrificing yourself at the altar of your relationship or making yourself subservient to your partner is not among the signs of unconditional love. That is, by definition, a toxic, codependent kind of love. Being able to love someone selflessly but without sacrificing yourself can be a tricky balance to strike. To help you on the front, here are 5 tips to foster unconditional love in your relationship:
1. Focus on your emotions, not the other’s actions
How do you define unconditional love? It’s a love that stems from within, irrespective of the other person’s actions or without any preconditions on them living up to your expectations. To foster unconditional love in your relationship, your focus must shift from your partner’s actions to your own emotions and feelings.
Of course, this is not to say that you stay on in an abusive, disrespectful or toxic relationship in the name of unconditional love. But you learn to not sweat the small stuff and not let the other person’s humane flaws, shortcomings or misgivings govern how you feel for them.
2. Adapt to love unconditionally
Unconditional love stems from understanding and accepting that each person receives and gives love differently. Your partner’s love language may be markedly different from yours, but that doesn’t change the fact that their feelings may be just as intense. If a person can love you unconditionally, they will find ways and means to express it too.
All you need to do is be receptive to their way of expressing love and not expect it to come to you in a specific form. Being flexible and adaptive are crucial to loving and being loved unconditionally.
3. Be accepting of uncomfortable moments
Love and relationships are always a mixed bag of highs and lows, rough patches and smooth rides. When you love someone with all your heart, wanting to shield them from all harm, hurt and pain is a natural instinct. However, acting on that instinct and going above and beyond to make sure that special someone in your life is always happy and comfortable are not signs of unconditional love.
On the contrary, this tendency can do more harm than good. That’s why, fostering unconditional love in your relationship also means setting the other person free to undertake their own painful journeys, no matter how uncomfortable doing so is for you.
4. Unconditional love begins from you
As they say, you cannot pour from an empty pot. The journey to loving unconditionally begins with yourself. Only when you accept yourself wholly and love every part of who you are can you love another without pre-conditions. Self-love is the purest form of unconditional love.
So, what does it mean to love someone unconditionally? It means accepting someone for who they’re, warts and all, and loving them as they are. Only when you share that relationship with yourself can you hope to build it with someone else.
5. Forgiveness is the backbone of unconditional love
Any relationship, no matter how healthy and wholesome, sees its share of fights, disagreements and disappointments. You will hurt your partner and your partner will hurt you at some point. The meaning of unconditional love is that you don’t let the bumps along the way govern your feelings for one another.
That’s why forgiveness in relationships, coupled with an ability to let go of the past, is the bedrock of unconditional love. Forgiveness frees you from the shadow of the unpleasant memories of the past, enabling a fostering of true, unconditional love.
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Is Unconditional Love Real?
Considering that unconditional love is touted as love in its highest form, it is natural to wonder: is unconditional love possible? Is it real? Can a person mean it when they say ‘I love you unconditionally’? The simple answer is – yes, absolutely. Not only is unconditional love possible but it’s also as real as it gets.
However, it neither thrives in isolation nor is it easy to come by. You cannot fall unconditionally in love with someone. You cultivate it by working on your relationship every single day. By choosing to love your partner and honor your commitment, no matter the circumstances.
Unconditional love is not fickle or transient. It is romantic love in its most mature form that frees partners of the burden of expectations or dependency and yet manages to keep them close.
Unconditional love means to love without any conditions. Or affection that has no limits. A complete love. A feeling that is not transactional, not governed by material expectations, and something that can neither be bought nor owed.
The love of a mother for her child is definitely the most fitting example of unconditional love. What a mother can do for a child, knows no conditions, and the beauty lies in the fact that this unconditional love is the most effortless and natural too.
We crave unconditional love because it is the highest, purest form of love that exists. It transcends the limitations of what you’re getting out of a relationship or what the other person can do for you, and focuses solely on giving yourself to someone completely.
Yes, unconditional love is definitely a rare thing to find in a world driven by materialism. But it is also important to bear in mind that you cannot fall unconditionally in love with someone. You cultivate it by working on your relationship every single day. By choosing to love your partner and honor your commitment, no matter the circumstances.