“Cherry Blossom” by Hailey E. Herrera
There are no debts in love. There is one type of love that inspires sighs and grand ideas. It is the type of love almost everyone wishes for; it is the unconditional love. We all have the ability to love unconditionally, but it is not easy. Aside from that, there are, unfortunately, those that cannot love unconditionally for various reasons. Some people have darkened hearts and while others bleed profusely from the depth of their hearts. Regardless, there is an innate desire in people to feel loved and to love. Love takes work and sacrifice. The willingness to sacrifice parts of who you are is part of loving and being in a relationship. In an unconditional love there cannot be debts, there cannot be I Owe Yous, and an account of favors done for each other cannot be kept; love does not work that way.
Once you understand this you will realize that nearly 70% of your anger towards your partner is invalid, that 70% of the time you are upset with your partner it is because you feel he or she owes you. (By the way, these percentages are not the result of any study other than my own tinkering and knowledge, allow for variation 😉 The reason I say that most of the time this type of anger in a relationship is invalid is not because you should not be mad or upset, or because you do not have the right to be mad, but because it does not fit with the idea of unconditional love. Unconditional love, by definition, does not have any limitation or debts. We have the universal understanding that relationships are a two-party situation where both have to give of themselves in various forms. We also understand that because we are in said relationship, we have responsibilities to each other, we make promises to each other, and so on. Underneath all of that, underneath all of the responsibilities, day-to-day tasks, the promises, where is the love? Suddenly, every action we do falls into the category of responsibility, of promises kept, and we forget the love. At first, we don’t think of our actions as being calculated; instead, we think of them as being part of what it is to be in a relationship. We think of the sacrifices we have done for that other person and of the things that we would do for them. With these thoughts come expectations. We expect the other person to do the same for us. However, it often happens that the other person does not reciprocate the sacrifices made or that we feel that it does not equate to what we have done for them. This is when problems begin in a relationship.
This is when one person in the relationship starts to feel like he or she has given a lot and received little in return. The couple starts to grow apart and have little fights about nothing. The reason for all that tension, for all of that feeling unloved and unappreciated, is that the love has been forgotten, maybe even lost. It is possible to lose the love you had for someone, but it is also possible to regain that love. Not many couples regain the love lost, which may explain the excessive divorces, and they move on. Or, the couple stays together and one of them accepts the situation as it is.
Love is complicated, to say the least. There is a certain sense of servitude when in love. For example, when in love, you would do anything for your partner. You would move to another country or another town. You’d change the way dress to please him or her. You think about him or her daily, neglect other things just to focus on this love you have. In a way, you are serving yourself to your partner and you do this with devotion, sacrifice, and love. Now to the more mundane things you do for your partner when in love, you pay his or her late bills, you wash his or her clothes, cook great meals every day, and so on. When these things are measured with expectations, there begin to form debts in this love. Once these debts overwhelm the love, the love becomes extinguished.
The reason we begin to get mad at the other person when this starts to happen is because of the disbelief and desperate fear of getting hurt. It is a natural reaction and it is a good reaction, if that makes any sense. Our feelings are like an alarm system, letting us know when something is good and when something is bad. The thing is that people tend to have an unrealistic expectation of unconditional love. It is inevitable that when in love one will get hurt and suffer. Hurting a little for the other person is part of love. Perhaps it is contradictory to our logic that something negative and hurtful be a part of something so uplifting. Again, a lot of the trouble and pain love causes is due to the expectations we carry, the perceptions we each hold. Unconditional love is often thought of as being when one accepts the other without bounds, accepting all of the flaws regardless of everything. But doing so, accepting everything someone has is not always good. Unconditional love exists, but it is not what many think it is. Perhaps it is more about understanding the other person unconditionally, knowing and being aware of that other person’s feelings, mind, and soul, than sacrificing and giving away unconditionally. Maybe the understanding comes before the loving. Some might say that such a thing as unconditional love does not exist. I think it does, I just can’t explain it adequately enough.
Photo Credit: Melissa Portan