We all see love differently. At different times in our lives we experience love differently. Some see love as a circle; others, a two-way street. But love, in its purest form, is a journey down a one-way street. This is not to say that there is not reciprocity in love (that would be unrequited love, which is not love but obsession). True love is given without expectation. Love is a gift. Love is a choice. Love is the recognition of the unique beauty (mind, spirit, body, soul) in another that moves the spirit and changes the heart.
Love respects, appreciates and values the beloved. It forever changes the one who truly loves. One-way street love is unconditional—not because we do not have hopes, dreams, desires and needs, but because even when these are not met—we still love. One-way street love is an undeniable fact. It is mature and selfless. And, this type of true love never dies.
CAVEAT: This is not to say that if your love is not returned or reciprocal, that you should continue to pursue someone who does not return your love, care and affection. When this happens, instead, move on as you wish that person well. You may always have love for them, but you joy will come from another who returns your love.
Love is not blind, but a recognition of the complete person and the acceptance and appreciation of the same with full consideration of all the facts. Real love invites participation—it does not make demands. It is not the relentless pursuit of another (as in obsession or unrequited love). It is the absolute freedom of choice of both the giver and the receiver. When both people in a relationship bring this form of love, great happiness and satisfaction are achieved and shared.
There are many examples of one-way street love. Parents can give this love to their children. Lovers, friends and spouses can share this love in a balanced relationship. Unfortunately, unconditional love is not always shared by both parties in a relationship. Many relationships are plagued by conditional love. Conditional love is common and selfish. It seeks to satisfy its own agenda and needs. It expects performance and takes from the other instead of giving of self. It demands: “If you don’t give me what I want, I will withhold love or no longer love you.” Conditional love is fearful and insecure. It lacks the recognition that love is the greatest gift of self and an absolute appreciation of another. The focus of conditional love is on the needs of self rather than on the love and needs of the other. Selfish love is not love at all, but an ego driven pursuit to use another to meet their own selfish needs.
We all have hopes and dreams of a great love that is shared, but this can only truly exist if we first love ourselves and take the chance to love another freely. At first glance, one-way street love seems like an enormous risk. But in actuality, it is not. It is a realization (perhaps an epiphany) that another has forever changed our life and filled our heart by simply sharing themselves with us. It is a joyful gratitude and celebration for the existence of another. When our unconditional love is not returned, we still harbor best wishes for that person as we move on with our lives.
One-way street love can stumble. Differences can arise that challenge our perceptions. Our fears can create doubt. But if we honestly face our fears and clearly look at our beloved and ourselves, it is likely that the one-way street love will remain. Why? Because even with our very human doubts, fears and errors; love remains undeniable. For any relationship to survive and move forward, each must be willing to let go of the past and begin again. There are no U-turns on a one-way street. Anything less will not allow love to grow and flourish. If old patterns are revisited, a similar outcome will be the result. Love moves forward.
Sometimes even with one-way street love, circumstances can prevent two people from sharing their love, but that does not mean the love is not absolutely real. It is likely in these cases that even after years of separation, love can be renewed and shared. One-way street love stands the test of time.
Even shared one-way street love does not, however, guarantee that a relationship will not end. As we grow and change as individuals our needs may change, or the one we love may change, or circumstances may change that forever alter a shared relationship. We may need to reevaluate if we should remain in a relationship with someone we love. There may be a need for a separation, breakup or even divorce for a variety of reasons. Even in these cases, even when a relationship is out of the question and love will no longer be shared, one-way street love can remain in the one who loves—and we are better for having experienced such love.
Have you experienced one-way street love? Are you experiencing struggles with overcoming fears to give this kind of love? Please share your experiences with us. As always, we appreciate your time and value your participation.