We all have been told "Real love is unconditional!" But is this really true? Ask yourself: If I was getting absolutely nothing from this relationship, would I stay? Of course you wouldn't! Now ask yourself if, not only were you getting nothing, but your "sweet heart" was constantly making demands while never offering anything in return? You'd run away so fast they would have no idea where you got off to, amiright? Now add in to this clearly toxic mix your partner guilting and shaming you whenever you ask for anything, even just food or a roll of toilet paper. If you had any sense, you'd run away screaming! So why is it, when we talk about love, we always talk about how you have to give "until it hurts," and then you have to give moar, and to so much further as ask for anything in return is considered heretical? It should be patently obvious to anyone this is the path to abuse! So how do you find love? In truth, you don't "find love," you cultivate and grow it. People in good relationships realize, even after they're married, there is no "happily ever after." All relationships are trades. You would not expect to walk in to a restaurant, give them money, and not be fed. Why then would you would(expect someone to) go in to a romance, give them your (you their) all, and yet, get (give) nothing in return? You shouldn't. This isn't to say relationships are like shopping for groceries, where you pick what you want, pay for it, and you're done. Nooo ... It's rather more like a business partnership. You may have different goals, but you're in it together, now, so you must work together to get what each of you want out of the relationship. It's all about paying as little as you can to get the most for yourself, and it should be the same with your partner. What are you offering to your partner? Why the things that make them happy that you may not necessarily agree with, of course! This could be many things, from forcing yourself to take time out of a hectic schedule to listen to what they have to say, to cancelling cherished family plans. Obviously, your partner should be making the same sorts of offers to you. How will you know if you have a good thing? While some of these trades may tear you up inside, you find that overall, you are getting more than you ever hoped for out of your relationship. While there's no such thing as "the perfect partner should," if you manage your relationships in this way, you will never need a "perfect partner." However, it should be noted, as with all business partnerships, no decision you''ve made with your partner should be considered final until shared resources are expended. Even then circumstances, misjudgements, and changing needs can still open up new discussions about the current plan. In other words, negotiations never cease. In the end, you are trying to get your needs met, and so is your partner. Just as you won't stay if your needs aren't being met, you really need to work to meet your partner's needs or they won't stay, either. For more information, you can read thatDr. Kirshenbaum's book "Too Good To Leave, Too Bad To Stay." It is from this book I lost my own romantic ideals about relationships.