A few days back, I was at Aroma Cafe waiting for my large coffee to appear when I overheard one woman lamenting to her friend…
At one point she said, “I mean, how could he say that? He’s supposed to love me unconditionally.”
OK, full stop.
First off, whenever I hear that someone is supposed to do anything in a relationship, an alarm goes off in my head. The phrase “supposed to” is basically the same as saying the word “should”: it’s a poisonous word for relationships.
It has a tone of blaming, shaming and coercing the other person to do what you want them to do… or else.
More importantly, when I heard her say that he’s supposed to “love her unconditionally,” I thought to myself, “Wait… do women seriously think that?”
Granted, I am very precise in the way I say things and how I use language. So let’s make clear what it means to do something “unconditionally.” To do something unconditionally means that you do it without any criteria, conditions, or expectations.
In other words, she was saying that she believed that he’s supposed to “love her” no matter what she does or doesn’t do, how she acts, etc.
She’s essentially saying, “Well, my job is done. I’m in a relationship, he loves me, so I don’t have to do anything… he will just love me forever and it doesn’t matter if I stop doing the things that I used to do at the beginning of the relationship, please him in the ways I used to please him, or act like the girl he fell in love with…”
MORE: How Do Men Show Their Love?
Sadly, our culture believes that once you have a relationship, you can kick back and life somehow gets easier. You can get lazy and not worry about your relationship since that area is handled (and I’m not talking about just women, this applies to men too).
My buddy got married a couple years ago and now has a son. His wife has gained about 50 pounds since they started dating.
He does love his wife, but he reluctantly told me that he no longer feels any attraction to her and is ashamed that he finds himself resorting to porn and checking out other women.
MORE: Why Guys Watch Porn
Now before I continue with the story, I know a lot of women are reading this and thinking I’m sounding like a total jerk for daring to bring up a woman’s weight gain, let alone suggesting that love has conditions. You know that I don’t sugarcoat my messages and everything I say is because I want to help you have true success in your love life.
I don’t want to upset you. I don’t want to hurt your feelings. And no, I don’t believe that relationship success falls 100% on the woman.
All I know is that if you want success, then you deserve to know what will bring you success. Someone needs to tell you the truth, even if it’s unsettling sometimes.
Back to the story about my friend and his wife…
At one point, they were having dessert at a friend’s house and she got up for a second piece of cake. My buddy quietly said to her, “Babe… you really shouldn’t be eating two pieces of cake.”
She smiled at him, looked him right in the eyes as she shoveled a delicious forkful of chocolate cake into her mouth and said, “I know… but it’s OK baby… you love me.”
As you could imagine, my buddy feels trapped in the relationship, helpless, and hopeless – he loves his wife and doesn’t want to leave her, but any time he tries to guide her to being the girl she used to be (the girl he fell in love with) she feels it’s unnecessary, since he’s supposed to love her unconditionally.
Here’s my point: Relationships do have conditions. Love might not, but relationships and attraction do.
Look, you selected each other based on a criteria. There were conditions. I can’t imagine that either you or your man just threw on a blindfold, pointed at a crowd of people and randomly chose each other.
You met each other’s conditions for a relationship partner and you expected that you would both continue to meet each others conditions.
Yes, you love each other, but a relationship is more than just love. Relationships have conditions! Biological attraction has conditions!
I hate to be the guy who breaks the bad news, but it’s true. The good news is there’s a much better approach to relationships that will work great for you…
A much more helpful view of relationships is that you are in service of one another. The man you are with gives to you in loving service as best he can… and you give to him in loving service as best you can too.
That’s much different than our culture’s attitude of, “Well, I’m married. Glad that’s handled – time to sit back and let a lifetime of perfect love just effortlessly happen for me.”
It sounds ridiculous when I say it outright like that, but that’s the silent and deadly attitude most people have about love and relationships – like it’s something you lock in and it’s just handled, instead of an ongoing constant relationship.
I remember someone suggesting something excellent once that stuck with me (I think it was David Wygant who shared the idea with me). He spoke to an old man who had been married happily for 70 years or so. And when he asked the old man his secret, the old man said, “We just kept repeating the first 90 days of our relationship. We never stopped ‘dating’ each other.” (Damn… maybe I should write a book called, “Never Stop Dating”. OK, you heard it hear first, copyright A New Mode, Inc.)
To continue my point…
If you want the best relationship and love life possible, then…
The things that attracted you to each other at the beginning of your relationship should never stop. The things that made you fall in love with each other should never stop.
Again, our culture has this weird idea that dating is meant to get someone on the hook and then once you’ve got them you can just be a slob afterwards.
You might think that I sound jaded and cynical, but there’s a reason why most marriages end in acrimonious divorce today. I need to say the hard truth – someone needs to try and help.
Yes, obviously the man needs to be holding up his side of the relationship. But every day you are in the relationship, you’re choosing to be. He’s not forcing you. He doesn’t have a gun to your head. So if he’s truly not servicing you in your relationship, you can leave…
But if you choose to stay with him… and you want the best love life and relationship possible… you need to look at a relationship as dating that person forever and being at your best, brightest, most attractive self in service of your relationship.
When you come from that place in a relationship, that’s when you start seeing him show up in the way that you remember him being at the beginning too.
Hope it helps,