Excerpt About Blocking Love

Assumptions and Conditions We Put on Love

Another common assumption about love is that it is experienced not only towards another, but towards a special other. You feel that it’s okay to love your child, your husband or wife, but you don’t think of loving just anybody. You don’t think that you could or should feel love toward all the people driving down the freeway. “What does love have to do with those people?” you wonder. Love is special, you feel; it’s only for particular people. In your mind, the people you love are important and no one else counts much. All those other people have nothing to do with your love. When you think of it this way, there are very few people that you love—just a few people, a few animals, your cat maybe, who you feel are very special. And because they’re special to you, you love them. This implies that you don’t feel love very often. You feel love only when you are with those few special people, or when you are thinking about them. So love is for special people at certain times. It is not something that is there all the time, like air. We have more assumptions about love. One is that you feel love for the other person only if he is being the way you believe he should be. You have certain conditions about how the other person should be, and then you can feel loving. If any of those conditions is not fulfilled, love disappears. The first condition we have for love is that it occur within a relationship. The second condition is that the love be toward specific others in relationship. The third condition is that you love the special other only under specific conditions. The other person rarely fulfills all the conditions, and those conditions restrict the range of love.

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