Tit for Tat Love

Since the beginning of our relationship, my husband has said ""I did this because you did that" relationships don't make it". It's been a joke. It isn't true. Most relationships are exactly that. Many make it, not only romantic ones, some don't. Is it possible to love unconditionally? Is it possible to do something expecting nothing at all in return? 

I have been really paying attention to this concept lately. Is altruism actually possible? I tend to think it is not, at least naturally, but my opinion is simply that. I have decided to really work on this part of myself. It's all about detachment. Letting go of control of what anyone else does or doesn't do. Then choosing to love anyway. 

A while ago I wrote a blog about detachment parenting. If you missed it you can find it here. This concept and practice has been transforming my life. A tiny part of myself thought I had "arrived". This morning proved me wrong. My 20-year-old told me he canceled a very important medical test that will determine whether he has a chronic condition that is largely untreatable or if it is an easily treated issue. I text him to ask if we are riding together and he responds with the fact that he moved the appointment to a day I will be out of town. My stomach flipped and I felt an intense feeling of anger well up. I wanted to rant. I wanted to fuss. I wanted to control. I chose not to. (I did rant to my mom and sisters though) I tuned in to my thoughts. 

I considered the fact that since I pay for his medical insurance and copayments I should be in control of his appointments. That had me thinking. Can I be unconditionally loving, detached, and pay for these necessities? Can I choose to help and detach? I think so. His last text after I told him I would be out of town for his test was "It's okay mom. I don't need you. I love you.". Record screeches. What?????? The understanding that he can not need me  AND love me. Wow!!! (We all know he needs me, just not at the appointment. After reconsidering, that is a good thing.)

How does this relate to other relationships, whether they be romantic or simply friendships?

We can choose to give and let go of the need to receive. We can do all the laundry and not expect him to pick up his clothes. He can do all the dishes every night while I check Facebook (sorry babe) and not expect me to cook dinner the next night. I could list a hundred things, couldn't you? Imagine if we stopped. Imagine showing up as your best self and letting everyone else do the same, without needing to define what someone else's best self is. What if we asked for what we want but let go of a negative response if our request isn't filled? 

This is radical stuff. I only recently started to pay attention to the tit for tat we have lived in for so many years. I have realized that the less I care about the things that are done for me the happier I am. What if I could choose to be just as happy with giving love as I am with receiving it? Then I could find so much happiness every single day. There is always someone that can use a little love given. I would be in total control of my happiness. I would be able to totally let go of judgment. I cannot imagine a better life. 

This detached, unconditional love sounds a lot like heaven to me. I will continue down this path. I'm sure there will be moments of tension and disappointment but that's okay. I can let go and love myself and everyone else even with those emotions. 

 

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