"Unconditional love" confuses need with love. Love is blissful and requires nothing. Need is painful, has conditions, and always demands MORE. For example, when you buy a new car (house, suit, bicycle) that you have been longing to own, your need for the car (painful) is replaced by your need to protect it (painful). When you create a relationship, at last, that gives you the security, sex, or family that you dreamed of, your fear of not finding such a relationship (painful) is replaced by your fear of losing it (painful). These are NOT experiences of love. They are experiences of NEED. They may LOOK and feel like love to the one who needs, but the experience of attachment always reveals otherwise. The experience of attachment IS the experience of need.
"Unrequited love" is unrequited need in disguise—experiences of one human reaching futilely for fulfillment through another, withering in loneliness, or drowning in despair. Painful experiences are NOT love no matter how much they APPEAR to be. For example, a friend of mine raised a small dog from a puppy, looking forward to seeing it every evening, and played with it on weekends. The dog was a big part of his life. One afternoon it ran away. He called, whistled, and searched. Family and friends came to help. Suddenly in the midst of communal whistling and calling it reappeared, carefree as before. My friend rushed toward it with anger distorting his face. The dog cowered, too frightened to run. It whined once as he swept it off its feet and shook it in the air. He furiously shouted at the terrified animal not to run away again. When his family tried to calm him he shouted at them, "It’s my dog, dammit!"
Later, embarrassed but repentant, he explained, “I love that dog. I love it as much as anyone in my family. That is why I was angry when it ran away and why I needed to make it understand not to run away again.” He mistook need for love. One part of his personality loved the dog, but another part NEEDED the dog and was terrified to lose it. That part became active when the dog ran away.
Need requires a return on investment, whether the investment is time, money, or “love.” The dog did not provide the return that a frightened part of my friend’s personality expected. He did not think about investments or returns but a frightened part of his personality that he was unaware of did, and it became furious when the animal ran away. Beneath his fury was fear of losing something important. He thought that was his dog, but it was not. It was what the dog brought him, at least temporarily—experiences of feeling loved and lovable, belonging, and being a part of Life.
Gary Zukav (via mindofataurus)