“Come just as you are to me / Don't need apologies … There is no fear now / Let go and just be free.” These lyrics from Katy Perry’s smash hit “Unconditionally” pretty much sum up what unconditional love is all about. It’s a kind of love that allows you to be honest and true to yourself, even when that means making mistakes and revealing your ugly parts. And let’s be real — we all have those. But how do you know when you’ve got it? What are the signs your significant other loves you unconditionally?
First off, it’s important to distinguish unconditional love. Signs that you’re falling in love with someone include feeling a feeling of security and attachment — and of course, that tell-tale rush that’s unlike any other high. But unconditional love is a specific kind of love that comes with its own unique signals. As the name suggests, it is love with no conditions. In other words, there are no “ifs” or “buts.” It’s just love in its purest, most complete form. I mean, does it get any more romantic than that?
Unconditional love is sought-after because it gives us a sense of security. When someone loves us unconditionally, we know that we let our guard down and be authentic without having to fear intense judgment or criticism — or worse, abandonment. We can allow ourselves to be vulnerable — and vulnerability breeds intimacy. Wondering whether your partner loves you unconditionally? Relationship expert April Masini says to look out for one of these telltale signs
They take care of you when you’re under the weather.
As it turns out, how your partner acts when you’re sick is a really solid indication of how they feel about you. According to Masini, if they’re eager to take care of you when you’re not feeling well, that’s a sign of unconditional love. It makes sense when you think about it — if they’re holding your hair back while you’re throwing up or bringing you some fresh tissues while you’re sneezing up a storm, that shows that they love you in all forms — even when you’re looking and feeling kinda gross.
“Whether you’re in bed and they have to bring you food and do your laundry because you’re too sick to do so for yourself, or they’re bringing you for follow=up exams after a car accident or a serious illness — unconditional loves means that you and your partner are there for each other when you’re sick… as well as in all the times you look cute and function high!”
And I can attest to this one. Just four months into dating my current boyfriend, I was hospitalized for a serious kidney infection — and the way he handled it opened my eyes to just how strong our relationship was. Not only did he stop by my apartment to grab me some clothes, bring me all my favorite foods, and stay in my room every night until the nurses kicked him out, but he even made jokes about how sexy I looked in my hospital gown to make me laugh when I was at my lowest. That’s unconditional love, ladies and gents.
You screwed up — and they got over it.
It can be an earth-shattering realization that your partner is not, in fact, perfect. When you’re first falling for someone, you honestly can’t see any of their flaws, because you’re too blinded by the spark. Eventually, however, you will both mess up at some point. Your mistakes may even upset your partner. But if they love you unconditionally (and that mistake didn’t totally betray their trust) they’ll likely get over it.
“Unconditional love means you can admit your worst mistakes — career, financial, relationship, health — and even if you’re embarrassed, your partner is empathetic and loyal,” says Masini. “So, whether you didn’t pay your taxes or quit a job on a whim and then realized the mistake later…. your partner understands that you’re not perfect. And they love you even still.”
They have your back, no matter what.
According to Masini, when your boo loves you unconditionally, they’re always going to be behind you — even in uncomfortable situations. For example, if you and a family member get in a wine-fueled fight at Thanksgiving dinner, or some mutual friends are talking smack about you behind your back at a party and they overhear it, they won’t shy away from sticking up for you.
“If your partner sticks up for you and risks popularity, and more — simply because they’ve got your back — this is what unconditional love looks like,” she adds.
In other words, bae doesn’t just love you when it’s convenient. They prove their love to you on a regular basis by having your back, regardless of the circumstances.
You’re vulnerable with each other.
Emotional safety means being able to tell your SO anything, no matter how vulnerable you feel — and vice versa. For example, if your partner is feeling scared about moving in together, or something you said hurt them, they’ll share those things with you. That’s because they feel confident enough in your bond. They trust that no matter what they share with you, you’ll still love them — and vice versa.
“If your partner thinks that the two of you have unconditional love, they feel safe with you,” explains Masini. “They feel that they can tell you what keeps them up at 3 a.m. and they know you’re going to be empathetic and loyal.”
And this goes both ways. If you feel secure enough to share your deepest thoughts, fears, and feelings with your boo, then you likely love them unconditionally, too.
“Unconditional love promotes trust in a relationship,” says Masini. “When you have it, you feel that you can go the long run together. Because it allows you to both be your unique selves, without fear of rejection.”
Of course, it takes time to build this kind of bond — so if you’re not there yet, don’t stress. In order for you and your bae to see if you have the potential for unconditional romantic love, you’ll need to see from experience that they’ll still be there for you even when you’re at your worst — whether that means wearing the same leggings for three days while you’re getting over the flu, or admitting to something you did that you’re ashamed about. And once you’re there, you’ll finally understand what Katy Perry meant when she sang: “All your insecurities / All the dirty laundry / Never made me blink one time.” How's that for #relationshipgoals?