I’m a woman, 37, who’s had a few serious relationships but hasn’t yet met the man who’ll love me unconditionally.
The others used the word “love”, but it didn’t carry the kind of commitment that I want.
I saw it lived between my parents. They came from different backgrounds, didn’t agree on everything, and sometimes argued strongly.
But they adored each other and hated to be apart for more than the workday. They loved their children, but it was their mutual attachment that was the strongest.
Perhaps foolishly, I looked for the same intense bond in my relationships.
One man who dated me exclusively and was very sexually attached to me, loved his work more. Any intrusion on his career-building time ticked him off.
Another man swore he was miserable at home and leaving his marriage. He loved me enough to want a relationship, but with limited hours - when he knew his wife wouldn’t find out.
Another has loved me for years. But when offered upward mobility if he moved overseas, he left.
Is it the current social media/technology era of instant gratification, providing a lot of choices in people and things, that works against “unconditional” and “forever” love?
Should I just accept as a partner someone who’s using the word “love” with me but not living it in every way as my parents did?
Missing “Unconditional” Love
This is your era, and you’ve learned to navigate/survive much of it - with full-on sexual relationships, one with a married man, and losing someone’s love to “upward mobility.”
Your parents didn’t have all these options and possibilities. But you’ve faced them and still believe in that special bond.
It’s possible. But it doesn’t often happen right away. Your parents’ connection might’ve grown for 10 years before you understood it as such.
Here and now, if you’ve been attracted to people through online dating apps, done the majority of your “talking” through texts/other messaging, followed a potential partner through his Facebook posts... that’s shallow ground for leaning in toward “forever.”
Instead, get to know someone deeply.
While the pandemic slows that process down, it still provides opportunities for long video conversations, extended private walks outdoors (masked and distanced unless in a “bubble”).
And bonding - through sharing memories, values, cultural differences, beloved books and old movies.
Unconditional love happens over time, with patience and effort on both sides. It can/does still happen for couples who nurture it.
FEEDBACK More readers’ thoughts and information regarding the Scent of a Woman (November 12):
Reader #1 – “A very thoughtful and informed response to the man who complained of vaginal odour. Men also sweat and can have extremely unpleasant odours in their genital area, especially if they have poor hygiene.
“Has the writer noticed whether his personal scent may at times be a turnoff?”
Reader #2 – “Some medications can cause vaginal odours, and little can help. I’m on a daily “hormone” medication since my lumpectomy from breast cancer. I must take it for the rest of my life, and it causes vagina odour. Very stressful for me.”
Reader #3 – “People with autism/Asperger’s sometimes report heightened sense of smell. There are many adults on the spectrum who have never been diagnosed.”
Reader #4 – “I wonder if the man who found multiple partners' vaginal odour unpleasant has some psychological association between regular body odour and dirtiness or poor hygiene.”
Ellie - There’s no blame here. Just reader’s thoughts and information.
Reader’s Commentary - Regarding the reader who was asking how to get her/his parents to use social distancing (November 11):
“As a senior with children, I know of two things that over-70’s dread more than their demise:
“The first is to be a burden to their family before dying; the second is to suffer a lot before dying.
“There are many first-hand reports of COVID-19 survivors online which describe the painful progress of the disease, and some long-lasting debilitating after-effects.
“To any seniors who feel that they don’t need to observe the social-distancing protocols, I’d recommend they read these reports.
“Just to imagine that they could get infected and suffer like that, or worse, to infect their spouses or children who then go through the dangers of the disease and maybe even death...
“It’d be enough to give them pause before leaving home without their masks or failing to maintain the distance in public places.”
Tip of the day:
Unconditional love is built on caring deeply, sharing good and bad, adapting and staying the course.