How much should be accepted in the name of love?

Despite Popular Opinion, love is not unconditional. And even if it is for you, a relationship is not unconditional. Here’s why…

Let’s say you fall in love and it goes well for some time. Let’s say you get married and you couldn’t be happier – an ideal scenario. You say to each other ‘for better, for worse’ and you mean it with all your heart. So many do!

For better, for worse, in sickness and health, richer or poorer – it sounds right. Accepting life’s hard knocks need to be part of relationship. Often life is a roller coaster of highs and lows. A partner should be supportive in the down times.

Over time, you get to know your partner well, better than at the outset. In the early days or honeymoon period, your partner can do no wrong. Generally, we often see our beloved through rose-coloured lenses, which is fine. Love shouldn’t be blind, but a little ‘tinted’ is ok.

Acceptance is key for a loving relationship to endure. The question arises, however, how much should be accepted in the name of love?

If your partner commits a crime without your awareness – is that okay? Maybe if it’s a misdemeanour, you can accept it. How big a crime would it have to be to make you question your willingness to remain in the relationship? Murder?

What if your partner shoots the neighbour’s dog dead because it was barking all night?

What if your partner has interactive internet sex on camera? Or sex with your best friend? Or paid sex? Or is serially unfaithful? How much are you willing to put up with before you leave?

Is trustworthiness a condition? Honesty? Fidelity? Where do you draw the line?

What if your partner turns out to have a gambling addiction and you find that both of you are $300,000 in debt? You didn’t have any idea before you discovered it. (This has happened to a patient of mine).

Perhaps your partner started off being gentle and kind. Lately, he has been bad-tempered, prone to shouting at you – he never did that before – and now he has hit you. He said he was just kidding but it hurt.

Or perhaps she has become argumentative and confrontational whereas she had always been agreeable and accommodating. She has started to shout at you over nothing and her anger is quite irrational. It would be one thing if she had due cause but she is getting irate over nothing. Now she has hit you and it hurt.

How often and how bad does physical violence need to get before you look for the exit? What part of love involves violence? I think a total moratorium on violence is a necessary condition for a love relationship to continue.

If you really think it through the ‘unconditional’ nature of love becomes highly conditional when applied to relationship. Relationships need to be conditional and it is better if you are clear about the conditions from the start.

What do you think? Under what conditions does the commitment you made to your partner become voided? Leave a comment here.