Source: Shannon Fagan / GettyWe all know you can’t gauge the potential longevity of a connection based on the honeymoon stage. But once the words “I love you,” are voiced between partners, we all of a sudden have expectations of commitment and our hopes of a forever increase ten-fold.
But all love isn’t the same love. As a matter of fact, other human languages have ways of expressing the different levels of love–but unfortunately in English, we are limited. Thats why “I love you” in the moment love, gets confused with “unconditional love.”
It’s important for you to figure out where you and your partner are on the spectrum so no one gets confused, particularly in the “falling in love stage.”
“We all enjoy them, but at some point, they are going to naturally diminish and after we come down from that initial high, the reality of being in a relationship and everything that comes with it begins to emerge — including the good and the bad. Whether or not the ‘falling in love’ stage leads to something more is another story.”
Now, when your relationship transitions into “unconditional love,” you both are vowing to sick around beyond situation or circumstance.
“Unconditional love says, (aside from abuse), ‘No matter what, I am devoted to you in good times in bad, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer,’” Dr. Brown explained.
“A wedding vow reflects unconditional love.”
You can tell the difference between love vs unconditional love by the way the person reacts to your flaws, triggers, trauma and past. Unconditional love sees it all, and still stays (again, not including cheating, abuse, dishonesty etc).
“They can’t get past it, even though you would be a great match for them.”
“Unconditional love means that, despite these difficulties, you are sufficiently devoted to one another and are committed to working this out as a team,” Dr. Brown said.
In healthy longterm relationships, folks will be “in love” at different stages and intensities, but the foundational “unconditional love” never waivers.
“You can fall out of true love at any time during a relationship,” Dr. Brown said.
“You can also love someone for who they are as a person, but realize that as much as you may love them, that it may not be a good fit. Unconditional love tends to be much stronger and more enduring than romantic love. You can certainly have both, but it is the unconditional love that endures.”