10 Warning Signs of Conditional Love in a Relationship

You deserve to be loved, accepted, and supported exactly as you are. So if you’re feeling unloved or unappreciated in your relationship, you should know that you are worthy of something better. Today I’m sharing the top 10 warning signs of conditional love, and how you can start attracting the healthy partnership you deserve.

What Is Conditional Love?

Conditional love is a type of love that is based on certain conditions or expectations. It means that your partner’s love for you is dependent on certain factors, like your behavior, actions, or achievements. 

This can create a sense of insecurity and anxiety in the relationship, as you may feel like you have to constantly meet your partner’s expectations in order to receive their love and affection. If you’re sensing your partner’s love is conditional, then read on to learn the signs.

I created this list in hopes that it helps to validate your feelings, so you can feel empowered to make changes with clarity and confidence.

You deserve to be loved unconditionally! So if you’re experiencing any of the following in your relationship, then you should know that you’re allowed to set higher standards for yourself.

Sometimes toxic relationships can trigger the most personal growth. So instead of settling or feeling defeated, use this as an opportunity improve your self-worth and raise your standards.

10 warning signs your relationship is based on conditional love

Here are the most common signs of conditional love in a relationship:

1. Your Success Needs to Benefit Them

One of the warning signs that your relationship is based on conditional love is if your partner only shows interest in your success if it benefits them in some way. 

For example, they may only support your career goals if it reflects positively on them or if they’re taking advantage of the extra income.  This type of behavior shows that their love and support is not unconditional, but rather based on what they can gain from the relationship.

You are worthy of a partner who supports and encourages your personal growth, regardless of how it may benefit them.

What would you like to manifest for yourself, if you were completely supported? Can you find ways to prioritize your own goals and dreams?

2. Affection Needs to be Earned

One of the most common warning signs of conditional love is when your partner only shows affection or love when you meet their expectations. This can take many forms, such as:

  • meeting their physical needs
  • validating/agreeing with them
  • dealing with their negative emotions
  • taking on certain roles/responsibilities  

If you feel like your partner only loves you when you’re meeting their conditions, consider starting an open and honest conversation about your feelings and needs.

A healthy relationship will give you plenty of space to be who you are, and to be celebrated for it! You do not need to earn love, my friend.

unconditional love quote by Donald Miller: No love is conditional. If love is conditional, it's just some sort of manipulation masquerading as love.

3. Withholding Love as Punishment

If your partner uses love or affection as a tool to control your behavior or punish you for not meeting their expectations, it’s a clear sign of conditional love.

This behavior can be emotionally damaging and can make you feel insecure and unworthy. It’s important to set boundaries and communicate your needs to ensure that you are being treated with respect and love, unconditionally.

Speaking of setting boundaries, that comes in as #4 on our list.

4. Ignoring Your Boundaries

You’re allowed to say no. So if your partner isn’t respectful of your space and time, you have an opportunity to set stronger personal boundaries for yourself.

Setting boundaries can be hard to do, especially if someone isn’t used to you saying no. But you’re allowed to reclaim your power!

If you need support in this area, then you should focus on solar plexus chakra healing. This energy center is home to your sense of confidence, self-worth, and personal power. As you build more worthiness, you’ll naturally protect your boundaries as an act of self-love. This post will help: 10 Ways to Heal a Solar Plexus Chakra Blockage

5. One-on-One Time Feels Stressful

In a healthy relationship, spending time together should feel enjoyable and fulfilling. So if spending one-on-one time with your partner feels uncomfortable, that’s another red flag.

In addition, if your partner only shows affection towards you in public or around certain people, that’s another flag. This behavior suggests they’re more concerned with how they appear to others than with your actual relationship.

Your emotional guidance is a form of intuition.

So if you feel stress, anxious, or just ‘off’ when you’re alone with your partner, it’s safe to trust those feelings. You can do third eye exercises to connect more strongly with your intuitive guidance. It can really help to bring you clarity: How Do You Open Your Third Eye? 13 Best Ways

6. Using Love to Get Something

One of the most obvious warning signs of conditional love in a relationship is when your partner only expresses love or affection when they want something in return. This could be anything from a material possession to a specific behavior or action.

True love is not transactional!

You are worthy of love, simply because you exist! You don’t have to earn anyone’s affection or approval. The best thing you can do for yourself is to practice radical self-love, because the way people treat you is a reflection of how you treat yourself.

Louise Hay quote on unconditional love: I give myself the gift of unconditional love

This is one of my absolute favorite Louise Hay quotes.

7. Unforgiveness

If your partner holds a grudge, or brings up past issues to win an argument, this is another sign of an unhealthy, conditional relationship. The ability and desire to forgive is a sign of emotional maturity and an open heart. So, take a moment to consider how readily your partner forgives and forgets.

Also, make sure you’re treating yourself with loving kindness. Do you need to forgive yourself for not being perfect? These heart chakra affirmations will bring you healing.

This leads us to our next warning sign: using guilt and shame as a tactic to control your behavior.

8. Shaming

Another warning sign of conditional love in a relationship is when shaming or guilt-tripping is used as a condition for love. If your partner uses phrases like: “If you really loved me, you would…” or “I can’t believe you would do this to me after all I’ve done for you,” it’s a red flag that their love is not unconditional. 

You deserve a partner who supports and encourages you! When someone is quick to criticize and slow to praise, it’s a sign of their own fears and insecurities – it has nothing to do with you. It’s important to set boundaries for yourself, regarding the kind of treatment you’ll allow.

If you’re struggling with feelings of shame, you deserve healing. These quotes will help: Brene Brown Quotes to Overcome Shame

two woman drinking tea on a couch

Confide in someone you trust if you feel like your partner is using shame or guilt to control you. One of my favorite Brene Brown quotes says, “Shame cannot survive being spoken. It cannot survive empathy.”

9. Unjustified Distrust

Another warning sign of conditional love in a relationship is when your partner distrusts you for no reason. If they’re constantly questioning the other’s actions, motives, or loyalty without any evidence or reason, it may be a sign that their love is conditional and based on insecurity and fear.

This can lead to a toxic cycle of jealousy, accusations, and resentment that can damage the relationship. If your partner tries to create distance between you and the other people in your life, this is a warning sign, too. 

It’s important to work on your self-worth so you can address these trust issues with honest communication and confidence.

10. Imbalance of Power

Another warning sign of conditional love in a relationship is an imbalance of power. This can manifest in many ways, such as one partner always making the decisions, controlling the finances, or dictating the activities and social life of the other. 

In a healthy relationship, both partners should have equal say and respect for each other’s autonomy. So if your partner is constantly dominating the relationship, it’s likely a sign that their love is conditional and based on control rather than mutual respect and trust.  

Your voice, needs, and opinions are important and deserve to be heard. If you struggle to speak your truth, then you need some throat chakra healing.

Your throat chakra is an energy center in your subtle body, which holds all your beliefs, experiences, and feelings around authentic self-expression. These posts will help you: How To Open Your Throat Chakra + Live Your Truth

Healing From Conditional Love

You deserve a partnership that brings out the best in both of you. So if your intuition is telling you that you’re not receiving the unconditional love you deserve, then honor it by taking steps to heal your situation. 

This may take the form of working through issues with your partner, or cutting ties and moving forward – you get to decide what’s best for you. As long as you keep allowing your emotions to guide you toward what feels best, you’ll be on your best path. 

Healing from toxic relationships is sacred work. You can start by reconnecting with yourself through chakra balancing. Take a look at this list and explore the areas that call to you toward energy healing:  

Another tip I want to share comes from a very dear friend of mine, who recently left a toxic relationship.

She kept a private journal to keep track of her experiences/examples of conditional love. She said that sometimes she felt like she was going crazy, because of the manipulation going on in the relationship. 

Find your perfect manifestation journal! ✨

17 Best Manifesting Journals in 2023: Attract Your Dreams Now

Keeping a journal allows you to:

  • Go back and validate yourself when you’re feeling unsure or confused 
  • Safely express your thoughts and feelings
  • Explore ideas for creating change
  • Self soothe and heal
  • Manifest your upgrades more easily
woman journaling in the woods

Find a private place where you can write down your thoughts, feelings, and dreams. Journaling is a beautiful act of self-care that will help you heal.

What Does Conditional Love Feel Like?

Conditional love can feel like you are constantly walking on eggshells, trying to meet your partner’s expectations in order to receive their love and affection. You may feel like you are never good enough or that your partner’s love is always just out of reach. 

This can lead to feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and resentment in the relationship. It’s important to address these feelings and have open and honest communication with your partner about your needs and expectations in the relationship.

Healthy relationships make you feel loved, empowered, free, and safe! You deserve nothing less.

Conditional Vs Unconditional Love

Conditional love is based on certain conditions or expectations that must be met in order for love and affection to be given. This can include things like meeting certain standards of behavior, achieving certain goals, or fulfilling specific roles in the relationship. 

In contrast, unconditional love is given freely and without conditions, regardless of the other person’s actions or behaviors. It is important to recognize the difference between these two types of love in order to have a healthy and fulfilling relationship.

How Do You Fix Conditional Love?

If you recognize that your relationship is based on conditional love, then you should feel empowered to take action to improve the situation, as you see fit. 

You can start by having an open and honest conversation with your partner about your feelings and concerns. Have you expressed your desire for more unconditional love? 

It may also be helpful to seek the guidance of a therapist or counselor to work through any underlying issues and develop healthier communication and relationship habits. 

A healthy and fulfilling relationship is built on mutual love, respect, and support. So if your partner isn’t receptive to change, then give yourself permission to cut ties and move forward. I know this can be heartbreaking and scary. But it’s your job to create a life for yourself that is filled with the love you deserve.

You can’t make someone change.

My best tip for attracting unconditional love into your life, is to practice more self-love. The law of attraction will match you up with people who treat you the way you treat yourself. If you’re unsure where to start, read this: How To Practice Self-Love: 11 Life Changing Tips

list of 10 warning signs of conditional love


I hope these signs of conditional love helps you to feel validated, seen, and empowered to create positive change in your life. This is your time to focus on healing your heart and self-image.

As you upgrade your beliefs about yourself, the world around you will magically begin to change. This is how the law of attraction works: you attract the type of relationship you believe you deserve. So, take loving care of yourself and know that you deserve the very best in all things.

You are loveable!

XO, Andrea

Andrea Scalisi headshot

Andrea Scalisi

Andrea has been practicing Astrology, Numerology, and Tarot for many years. She is a certified Aromatherapist and Reiki Master in Central NY, and also holds a Masters Degree from Syracuse University. Andrea loves helping her readers bring more spiritual self-care into their lives.

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