You have a responsibility to yourself to get your needs met in your love relationship. If someone is doing something that is unacceptable, something that you cannot tolerate, you have an obligation to yourself to make a choice in the matter.
The degree of unacceptability isn’t a consideration. How much you love someone shouldn’t be a consideration. If it is unacceptable, that’s it!
If you love them, you love them. You will always have a relationship with them regardless of the choice you make to get your needs met.
When someone is doing something that is unacceptable, you compromise your own personal integrity if you are not true to yourself. The choice you make will always have consequences, some we call good; some we call bad.
While the following example may be a non-issue for you, it can be and has been an issue for several of my relationship coaching clients.
“If you love someone unconditionally, how can you walk away from the relationship because they smoke?” Because smoking is unacceptable behavior, period! “Then your love must be conditional!” Hardly. Making a choice about getting your needs met has nothing to do with love. The distinction that must be made is the distinction between love and the choice of getting your needs met.
The problem most people have with this scenario is that the level of unacceptability gets in the way of their understanding. If smoking is unacceptable behavior to the person who is walking away and it isn’t unacceptable behavior to the person who asks the question, then the only problem is that the degree of unacceptability becomes the issue, not getting your needs met.
When you make the choice to get your needs met, and the choice is to walk away, you have only made a choice about getting your needs met, not whether you love someone conditionally or unconditionally. It is a healthy choice.
It is possible to love someone unconditionally and still make a choice not to be with them in a committed relationship because you believe that something they do is unacceptable to you.
It is also a demonstration of your unconditional love to allow that person to continue whatever behavior is unacceptable to you and then choose not to be in the relationship. It’s not a matter of placing a condition on your love for that person. It’s a matter of choice; the choice to be true to yourself and have your needs met or not.
When you love someone. . . you love them. Making a choice not to be in the relationship because you find their behavior unacceptable is only and always about choice. And there are consequences. When you love someone and you choose to walk away, you are only talking about the choice to get your needs met, not about love.
Anyone who can’t understand how someone could do that, obviously is only thinking of themselves; they are only comparing the level of unacceptability with something they find unacceptable. Not a good idea. They are only speaking for themselves.
We need to understand that what is acceptable to some might be unacceptable to someone else.
To stay in a committed relationship when you know that unacceptable behavior is going on can never be a healthy love relationship and the issue will always be a point on contention.
Copyright © 2007 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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