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?
Let’s uncover the layers of pure unconditional love to understand, and also look at from the perspective of unconditional love examples shared with us by our readers.
What Does Unconditional Love Mean?
To define unconditional love in the most simple terms, one could say that it is simply 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 non-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. 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.
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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’, does staying in an unhealthy, abusive or toxic relationship be justified on this premise? The answer is a clear, resounding NO.
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.
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.
Want to know 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 being and choose to love each other anyway.
2. You are proud of each other
Taking in 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.
But 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.
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3. Skipping a beat at seeing each other
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 still you 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.
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 learnt to accept and love each other for who you are. That’s the very definition of unconditional love. Isn’t it?
4. A desire to grow old together
How do you define unconditional love in the way in 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.
The idea is that you discuss this eventuality 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 strong with time. If that’s not unconditional love, what is!
5. You fight but makeup quickly
How do you know if someone loves you unconditionally? Or how do you love someone unconditionally? Well, unconditional love does not mean that you find a partner who’s in agreement with you 100 per cent. Or someone you are joint at the hip with.
Sure, like any two people in a relationship, you’re bound to have your disagreements, arguments and even 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 sits 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. Instead, you focus on conflict resolution through open and honest communication. Bury an issue once it is resolved and move on.
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 a lack of trust and the fear of being judged.
If sharing your vulnerabilities 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 giving 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. This protective streak works both ways. However, it doesn’t mean trying to clip each other wings. Or hiding one another from the world in the name of protection.
The protectiveness shines through in the little every day 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.
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
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
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 far and see them happy and growing. It’s about being a giver always…😊❤️”
3. A meditative state
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 maybe attraction, there may be lust and desire; it’s no longer love.”
4. A mother’s love
Bhavneet Bhatti says, “Mother. Thatis 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 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 cliched, 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!”
5. Unrequited love is unconditional
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
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.”
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7. A rhythmic love
Jay Bhutiani says, “To define unconditional love one has to look beyond the dizzying, butterflies in the stomach phase of love. Unconditional love, by definition, has to be enduring. That can happen only when the love continues to grow strong even a couple has settled into the rhythm of everyday life.”
8. Letting them have the last slice of pizza
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.”
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 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.