Like many of us, you’ve always been afraid of conditional love. The thought of it sure doesn’t sound that appealing, nor would you ever want to find yourself in this situation.
There are many differences between conditional and unconditional love. I know that it’s hard to believe that his feelings could be anything less than true love, simply because that’s all we keep hearing and reading about.
However, something doesn’t feel right, and you’re not sure what the issue could be. Is his love conditional? Or are you just overthinking it?
It doesn’t matter if you just got into a relationship, if you’ve been married for years, or if you’re single and you’re just curious. You’ll find all the answers you’ve been looking for in this article to make sure that you get into a loving relationship that doesn’t come with terms and conditions attached to it.
Your emotional and mental well-being is essential. If you keep asking yourself questions about this, you may damage not only your relationship, but your mental health as well.
This is precisely why we’ll give you the definition of these terms, as well as the signs you need to look out for. You could be misreading his behavior because of previous trauma, and all you need is a wake-up call.
Whatever the circumstance, we’re here to hold your hand through this entire process.
Understanding conditional love
In modern society, we give conditional love a terrible reputation. In actuality, it’s a type of relationship where one or both partners feel affection only if they know that their partner can give them something.
This doesn’t necessarily have to be something materialistic. One good example of conditional love is when one partner says, “It would make me happy if you took the trash out.”
It doesn’t sound like a bad thing. However, the word “if” gives the other person a weird feeling. It’s like they have to choose between a chore and their partner’s happiness. This isn’t an easy decision.
We need to understand that sometimes two people can thrive in this type of environment. They set specific rules, terms, and conditions to maintain peace in their relationship.
We may see it as something awful, but the type of love people choose to embrace is entirely up to them. Sometimes, those conditions can be very challenging, where both people feel unloved. If these people want to be in a happy relationship, they need to always be on the lookout for situations where they may violate those conditions.
Understanding unconditional love
Unconditional and conditional love are extremely different, which is evident if we look at their reputation. We were taught that we should always love unconditionally and not ask for too much from our partners.
Everyone says that if it’s not unconditional, it’s not real love. That doesn’t sound right because conditional love is just as valid. Just because we don’t understand it doesn’t mean that it should be demonized.
An example of unconditional love is when your partner tells you that they’ll love you no matter what, giving you the liberty to be yourself to the fullest!
Sometimes, we believe that our love for someone is unconditional, but they show a side of them that we weren’t ready to see. As a result, we fall out of love quite quickly.
But when your love for your partner is unconditional, you don’t care about their shortcomings. You know that they’re perfect just the way they are because they’re your soulmate. This love is a rare gem.
It would feel good to know that your partner will love you no matter what, but it’s also not the most believable scenario. However, many people out there say that this is the only type of love that they’ll accept.
So, which will it be? Do you believe that your love is conditional or unconditional? The good thing is that there are a few signs that you can pick up on to help you determine which one it is.
You and your significant other could find the truth in situations that you’d never imagine would show how conditional your love is. This is why it’s important to take your time to analyze things thoroughly.
11 signs his love for you is conditional
1. He constantly criticizes you
The first sign of conditional love that you may encounter is when he starts to criticize you for everything. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, he always sees something wrong with you.
Sometimes, it’s the way you dress. Other times, it’s the way you talk or laugh. On some days, you feel like you can’t do anything right because he can’t stop telling you to fix something about yourself.
It’s affecting your self-esteem a lot because romantic relationships aren’t supposed to be this hard. Your love life should be a safe space. It becomes a toxic relationship quite quickly if you don’t put your foot down.
The problem here is that your love for him is unconditional, and he loves you only under certain conditions. You don’t understand why this is happening when everything seemed okay at the very beginning.
You may want to consider the validity of his love for you when he continues to set these unreasonable standards for you. The biggest problem is that he probably doesn’t fulfill his own criteria.
2. There’s always something that he wants to change about you
Have you ever been in a relationship with someone when you feel like the person doesn’t really like you? It’s as if they like you just enough to be around you, but not enough to not try to change you.
When he starts to criticize you, he’s very upfront about his displeasure. But some men don’t feel the need to be so open about their needs.
More often than not, you may meet someone who’s passive-aggressive. He won’t tell you outright how he wants you to behave or look. Instead, he’ll just buy you things that have nothing to do with your style.
He’ll give you those presents while acting as if that’s the most normal thing in the world. It’s his way of avoiding telling you what he wants to change about you, so he believes that you’ll just get the memo.
3. You don’t get excited to see him anymore
Conditional love is a very slippery slope. You want to believe that his love for you is unconditional and honest, but there’s always some catch to it.
The problem here is that we’re used to it because of parent-child relationships, where we tend to always go back to what feels familiar. That’s why you believe that you had loving parents, but they were the only love you knew.
Conditional love can be a good thing, but only when you’re both on the same page about it. Romantic love is entirely different because you may lose the last bits of self-worth you had before.
So, when you start to dread seeing him, just know that his love may be conditional. You know that he’ll find a topic to talk about that’ll make you hate yourself.
You’ll only be reminded that this person’s love isn’t the type of love that you were hoping for. The loved one you thought would be your haven now feels like a battlefield you don’t want to be a part of.
4. He expresses his love for you only when someone is watching
Do you remember when you were a child and knew that your parents’ love would be amazing whenever other people were around? They’d compliment you and treat you beautifully. You’d feel safe when there was company.
The same thing happens with your romantic partner. When his love is conditional, he wants everyone to believe that you’re happy. Other people condition him to treat you right and pretend like your entire relationship is absolutely perfect.
This is one of those signs that you may not recognize at the beginning. You’re so oblivious because you enjoy his attention too much to actually analyze it.
But, when you look back at those situations, you know that I’m right. You know that he treats you much more amicably when someone is watching than when you’re alone with him.
5. He doesn’t care about the little things
Unconditional love is always considered to be about the little things. It’s about those mornings when you wake up, and your partner makes you coffee just the way you like it.
Even on those days when you don’t feel like getting out of bed, he makes sure to do everything he can to make you feel better. He knows what your favorite candy is, which ice-cream flavor you love the most, and so on.
So, when you experience conditional love from your partner, you can’t deal with it. He doesn’t remember the little things about you, nor does he care enough to find out.
He wants the benefit of being taken care of while he has nothing to offer. If you didn’t do those “little things” for him, he would probably realize it right away. But he makes sure always to have an excuse up his sleeve about why he’s not doing anything for you.
6. He keeps score of the things he’s done for you
The main difference between conditional and unconditional love is that in the latter case, you’re prepared to do anything for your loved one. You’d do anything to make that person happy, and you don’t keep score to get the same energy back from your partner.
You do everything so selflessly because you know that he deserves it as the love of your life. However, he doesn’t think the same. His love is conditional, and you can see it clearly whenever he does something for you.
The next time he asks something of you, you can’t get it done. He’ll talk about all the things he did for you. He’ll tell you that you don’t appreciate his efforts and that he doesn’t understand how you could forget about it.
This isn’t the type of behavior you’d expect from someone who’s supposed to do things for you without expecting anything in return. He expects you to always give him more, even if he doesn’t outright say it.
Would you even consider this love? I don’t know. All I do know is that this can become very toxic if this isn’t the type of love that you were ready for when you stepped into this relationship.
7. You can never express your true feelings to him
It doesn’t matter if you’re unsatisfied in your relationship or if you’re happy; he simply doesn’t listen. When you tell him that he makes you happy, he takes it as something obvious, as if it would be an insult even to consider anything else.
And when you try to talk to him to tell him that something is wrong, he doesn’t understand it. His condition for you is to love him unconditionally, but he can’t give you the same in return.
He doesn’t understand that feelings can’t be controlled and that you can’t just stop your heart from hurting just because you want it to. You can’t let go of your emotions or suppress them. Maybe you could for a short amount of time, but just the fact that you have to do that because of your partner is concerning.
8. He talks about you behind your back
If you’re not sure how this is a sign of conditional love, just hear me out. You know that talking to your best friend when you need some advice is completely okay. You know that you can trust her and that she won’t make some deprecating comments.
However, your boyfriend seems to gossip about you a lot. You’re not sure how much he tells people about you or how many of their words he takes home with him.
So, when you ask him to stop telling your problems to others and belittling you in front of his friends, he says that you should’ve thought about it earlier. More often than not, he says that he wouldn’t have to do that if you would act right.
That’s an ultimatum right there. He’s telling you that the condition for him to respect your boundaries is for you to stop being yourself. He wants you to accommodate him completely.
Conditions for love may be different. Sometimes, they can be simple boundaries and acts of kindness to make sure you’re treated the way you deserve.
But this has nothing to do with that. This is a menacing way of controlling you, and you can be sure that this has nothing to do with unconditional love.
9. He makes you do things that you don’t feel comfortable with
When you were a child, family members made you do things that you didn’t want to do. They put their wants and needs above your own because they thought that you were their property.
They made you believe that you had to fulfill their wishes before your own. Once you started to practice self-love, you realized that they made you do things that you didn’t feel comfortable with at the time.
From what food you ate to what you should wear to school, they always had some weird rules you had to follow.
Now, you have to go through the same thing with your boyfriend. You shouldn’t have to! He’s your man, and you should be able to tell him when you don’t feel comfortable with something!
But he makes everything so hard. Sometimes it hits a little too close to home because he makes sure to show you that he can be just as demanding as a parent.
Even in the bedroom, he tells you that you can make him feel loved by doing things you never even thought of. That’s straight-up abuse, and you should pack your things.
If he doesn’t give you an option to choose what you can do or if he continuously puts ultimatums on the table, then you’ll be better off walking away from him.
10. He drains all of your energy
When you’re in a relationship with a guy whose love is conditional, you feel completely drained all of the time. You feel like you can’t do anything right, and you’re just waiting for the ball to drop and for him to pack his things and leave.
This is quite a scary scenario when your love for him is unconditional. You always have to calculate his emotions to know what you can and can’t say. It gets so exhausting when all you want to do is just relax with your partner.
You don’t want to think too much about the things you’ll say or when you can and can’t touch him. It’s hard to be a person who needs to overthink every little action and word.
If his love was unconditional, you’d be able to act like yourself. He would be happy to see the authentic version of you no matter what.
I mean, you can’t always be in the mood for some crazy conversations with your partner, but you also don’t have to be a jerk about it. He’s definitely a douche that doesn’t know how to formulate his sentences.
That’s why he tends to make you feel so uncomfortable, and he drains your energy like it’s his freaking job. Unconditional love doesn’t make you feel like that. If anything, unconditional love reminds you that you’re worthy of attention and affection even at your weirdest behavior.
11. He gaslights you
Gaslighting is a very serious thing that should never be ignored. When we’re talking about conditional love, gaslighting is a huge part of it.
When you have an issue, he tells you that you’re lying or that he doesn’t remember that the same way you do. So he twists your words and answers questions that you didn’t even ask.
He uses terms like “always” and “never” when he’s talking about things that you’re doing or not doing. As if there are no redeeming qualities in you other than the one he finds to be useful.
So, once he starts to gaslight you, you’ll feel like you’re losing your mind. This is a sign of conditional love because he can only be with you if he can control you on a much deeper level.
This is extremely dangerous, so please be very careful.
Should you leave him if his love is conditional?
The problem here is that many of these traits are extremely toxic. When your love for him is unconditional, and all he does is control and abuse you, then you should pack your bags this instant.
Conditional love can work in instances when you’re both aware of your terms and conditions. It can’t work when you’re so innocently in love with him while he takes advantage of it, which is sadly often the case.
Unless you sincerely believe that he can change over time or that he could actually understand why this is a bad thing, then you have nothing to look for in this relationship. You need to leave him and find someone who’s capable of loving you unconditionally.
Be on the lookout for someone who will love you the same way you love your partner. There’s nothing wrong with asking for the same treatment because when you love, you love deeply.
You don’t mind their shortcomings or the traits that set them apart from others. If anything, your partner’s authenticity is extremely attractive to you.
Now, it’s your time to find someone who will give you this without having to ask for it. Conditional love isn’t for everyone, and if it’s exhausting to you now, chances are slim that things will get better over time.
Do yourself a favor and never stay with someone who will love you only under certain circumstances. Don’t listen to other people and their understanding of love, because love should never be this hard.