I’ll Take Love with Conditions

I think unconditional love is an absurd construct. Even my dog has his limits. If I stopped feeding him or started torturing him, how much do you think he would love me then?

While it’s comforting to think that there is love that you can count on, I believe that the responsibility for maintaining that bond goes both ways. Frankly, I’d find it rather creepy if someone loved me so unconditionally that I could become a monster and that person would be okay with that. I do not want someone loving me even if I decide to be a serial killer. I expect to be held accountable for my actions.

I was once in a 16-year relationship with someone who enjoyed saying, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I knew he was attempting to be reassuring, but in truth that always made me inwardly shudder. I don’t want blind adoration. I actually kind of feel better when there are well-defined boundaries. When I know where I stand, I can do so with confidence. That, and there’s a great deal of pressure to maintain your center of decency when, literally, anything goes. (I admit I didn’t handle it well.)

Parents are expected to love their children unconditionally. I can’t really speak from experience, as I chose not to have kids, but I suspect that “unconditional” condition is the very source of a great deal of dysfunction. If “unconditional” were taken off the table, more parents would be invested in instilling values in their children that would encourage them to be decent human beings, because it’s safe to assume that most parents really do want to love their children.

If we stopped looking at love as if it were a possession, as if, once obtained, you get to keep it, a lot of things would change. If people genuinely believed that one must be loving and lovable in order to receive love, this would be a kinder, gentler planet. If we knew that love must be earned, fewer people would remain with their abusers. If we set the bar ever-so-slightly higher when choosing a mate, it would make for much healthier family units. And if we looked at love as something that must constantly be nurtured in order to thrive, we wouldn’t be so shocked and devastated when it withers on the vine due to our own neglect.

It might also allow us to exercise critical thinking. This whole blind loyalty thing that is becoming the cultural norm is actually rather terrifying. If you vote for someone whose behavior becomes more despicable over time, your FIRST instinct should be a withdrawal of political love for that person. Your standards should be high, and your tolerance for outrage should be short-lived. Our leaders should be kept in check, as their powers allow for rather more destruction than most of us can endure.

So, dear reader, be loving. Be kind. And remember that it’s okay to set boundaries.

Happy Valentine’s Day.


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My Dog Would Make a Great Boyfriend

The other night it was cold and rainy and I just wanted to get into my sweatpants and watch Hulu. So I did. I was settled in bed, when along came Quagmire, my faithful dachshund. He immediately crawled under the blankets and curled up beside me. Family night.

I really can’t think of a better feeling in the world. He’s my best friend. He never judges. And he’s soft and puts out a delightful amount of body heat.

He has other amazing qualities as well. If I could find a man like Quagmire, life would be perfect. Here are some of Quagmire’s many pluses:

  • He doesn’t fight over the remote control.

  • If I want to go somewhere, he’s more than happy to tag along.

  • He’s also cool with giving me my space.

  • He makes me laugh.

  • He listens. (Although his level of understanding is questionable.)

  • He is very protective of me.

  • He’s more than happy to clean up if I spill food.

  • He doesn’t laugh at me in the morning when I’ve fallen asleep with wet hair.

  • He’s an amazing snuggler.

  • He rarely snores.

  • He’s always happy to see me.

  • He thinks I’m the best.

  • He doesn’t care what I wear or weigh or look like.

  • He loves a good nap as much as I do.

  • He doesn’t complain.

  • He can be quite charming.

  • He sometimes brings me presents. Just because.

  • He’s cute.

  • He doesn’t take up much space.

  • He enjoys kissing me. (Perhaps a bit too much.)

  • He has his issues, so he’s cool with mine.

  • As long as he’s fed and treated fairly, his love is unconditional.

What a guy! Now, if he’d only get a job and do half the housework.

Quagmire Best Pic

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