Is There Bad Love?

Folks, I was talking to one of my clients the other day (and by client, I mean my mechanic for my Toyota Plug-in Hybrid Prius), and he said to me, “Dr. Matt, is there such a thing as bad love? Can there be love from someone that you just shouldn’t accept?”

I found the question interesting, and not just because we had previously been talking about car stereo enhancements.

“Well, Mike,” I said (and I’ll call him “Mike” rather than use his real name… which is Steve), “the short answer is that no, there is no such thing as bad love. However, where you might get a concept like that is from childhood, when you might receive conditional love, or love as a result of doing something ‘right’ or love that comes with expectations of behavior. But the love is not bad, it’s the projections that are coming with it.”

I paused, taking a sip of my eggnog latte, then continued: “You see, Mike, us human beings are limited in their ability to give unconditional love, unfortunately. I wouldn’t say it’s impossible, but… I think the day our love comes with zero expectations or projections is the day we’re no longer human.” At this point I stopped, imagining a scenario where non-humans gave unconditional love. I pondered that the most likely event would be the dawn of robots, but not the traditional conquering robots that we like to imagine, but maybe a race of unconditional loving robots, perhaps created by the same wizards that made my Toyota Plug-in Hybrid Prius. Maybe it would even be a Prius, but would have some kind of lips…

Mike interrupted my thoughts at this moment. “But, Dr. Matt, if we often attach expectations and projections to love,” Mike said, “then doesn’t that amount to the same thing? Isn’t it dangerous to accept?”

“Not really,” I said. “As an adult, what this means is that you can receive love and reject the projections. It doesn’t matter if someone thinks that by agreeing to receive their love you agree to some other undefined terms (but defined in that individual’s mind). It’s simply not so. You can be open to letting in love on your terms. You can let it flow in and out, freely. Let other people’s expectations and hang-ups be their problem.”

Mike’s face turned pensive, and he closed the hood of the car. He turned to me. “I love you, Dr. Matt,” he said.

And then we stood there awkwardly. Seriously, it kind of freaked me out.

On the other hand, he’s a really good mechanic.

Just My Thoughts,
Dr. Matt*

*Dr. Matt is not a real doctor.

Dr. Matt

Dr. Matt* gives advice on relationships, life, death, half-life, pet ownership, sexuality, asexuality, proto-sexuality, and mustache growing. * Dr. Matt is not a real doctor.

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