Many people have asked me to clarify the difference between unconditional and romantic love. Ultimately, I believe that everyone inherently already knows the difference, even if the person asking merely needs a reminder.
One of the best ways to make this comparison and contrast is by listing all of the traits and aspects of each concept which either align or differ; however, I believe that it can be much simpler than that. I will give a brief definition of each which should ultimately suffice in demonstrating the differences.
One of the first ways of articulating this point is by pointing out the obvious. None of us feel the same way for our mothers as we do for our significant others. This should automatically show us that there is a stark contrast that exists between different types of "LOVE." The way that we love our families or our perceived "pet-like companions" indicates a love that is far more unconditionally love based than that we have for significant others or "love interests." That being said...go ahead and dig into the rest of this note.
Unconditional LOVE is a lasting, Eternal love that exists between people or souls. It is based upon a purity that comes complete, void of judgment and condition. Unconditional love is mostly seen within family relationships and long-lasting friendships that have been cultivated and developed over time. Due to the capacity to bring forth life, women probably have the strongest link to this connection; however, this does not mean that women exercise it with any greater frequency or aptitude than the average male on any normal given day. But, once the woman becomes pregnant, the motherly compassion is triggered, cultivated, and then from there...it grows exponentially. Even if only for the child developing within her system, typically the mother will feel the creative processes of life nurturing that irreplaceable bond and inter-connectivity that should exist between ALL SOULS. Unconditional love is entirely internal and is not dependent upon anything other than the knowledge that comes from truly loving another soul.
Romantic Love from the base often begins with some form of powerful physical attraction which is fostered by the reptilian mind of ego. This attraction will begin triggering any number of very powerful pheromones and chemical reactions within the body that can often be turbulent and confusing. This is a standard biological response from the mind to the body informing the person that they are in the vicinity of an ideal "mate," that has the ideal features and prerequisites of which to reproduce and perpetuate one's own genetics. The mere fact that women ovulate in "cycles" should inform all people that there is an inherently logical process to the reason for attraction...and, it is not simply to experience the joys of coitus. Often, while in the heat of a new romantic interest, human beings tend to forget that the body is a piece of technology which sends very powerful biological signals for very practical reasons. Additionally, the human being tends to ignore the logic that exists for the presence of those signals and then will tend to immerse themselves within the feeling of the signal itself. In other words, they immediately and willfully enslave themselves to the sensations rather than understanding the very tangible reasons why the sensations exist. Physiologically, the feelings that course through humans as they are experiencing the rush of infatuation are tremendous due to the powerful chemical concoctions that our bodies are manufacturing...psychologically, these sensations become confusing as people attempt to interpret these emotions and signals in a subjective manner suited with their own wants, perceived needs, and desires. This is where the differences of romantic love versus the unconditional aspects become very apparent. With the Unconditional form of LOVE, one's perceived wants, needs, and desires are not conditions that come into the equation.
Now, the mere fact that this particular country has a 50% divorce rate informs us that a good majority of human beings MISINTERPRET SIGNALS. Therefore, it is imperative that one understand the nature of how one's own body operates, learn the psychology of the mind, and learn a strong form of self discipline so one is not put in situations of perceived "victim-hood" of which they will later have to escape. Certainly one has to learn from life by making mistakes; however, if one is prepared and smart enough to see the possibilities of oncoming mistakes ahead of time, then they can save their learning through consequence for a later date with something that will actually test their knowledge.
There are other aspects of most romantic relationships that are not present within those of an unconditionally, love-based relationship. These qualities include the concepts of ownership, dependency, dominance, arrogance, pride, and envy. Sometimes this leads to control issues which foster conditions such as anger issues or even domestic violence. The monogamous aspect of the majority of relationships is imperative for the building of trust; but, often times people view this form of a relationship from the perspective of ownership rather than a mutually trust-based, and exclusive love-oriented, partnership. So, these are all things one must consider.
Romantic love can certainly evolve into Unconditional LOVE as the couple's relationship grows with time, especially if the participating couple are loving, caring, and patient with one another. Additionally, their love can easily flourish if each person is allowed their own space, their own interests, and a way to express their own creativity without control mechanisms placed upon them. The more quality time one spends nurturing the best qualities of their relationships, the more the couple will value and respect one another as equal and important parts. Most relationships begin to come unglued once a person within the relationship begins to feel lesser than the other, smothered, unappreciated, controlled, or taken for granted. If a person begins to feel any of these previously mentioned qualities, then you can bet that the relationship is not "Unconditional" by nature.
In conclusion, there are many differences that exist between romantic love versus the unconditional, but, with the proper nurturing...the romantic can evolve into the highest status of the Unconditional. It just takes time and effort...like anything else.
Hope that helps.