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Is agape love possible with a step-child/parent?

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  • If you suddenly found yourself a widow would you consider getting married again?



    I think I can say NO . . not that I don't love my husand or married life, but more because of my son. I am someone who believes that a person can never truly love another person's child as their own if an "original parent" is in the picture.

    Obviously there ARE exceptions - and I can say that I DO love my 2 exchange daughters and consider them MY kids.

    But being a child of that scenario I still don't see how a "stranger" could ever have loved me, nr me him, as with my dad.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Pammy on 12th February 2008
  • I would like to say "yes" but my answer is: No-I don't think so. I believe that Agape (unconditional and selfless) love has a genetic component to it.



    Unfortunately, most types of love are conditional.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Uhura on 12th February 2008
  • I think it is possible. My parents divorced when i was 2ish and really - i felt like i had 4 parents that loved me SO MUCH and as their own. when i was little i didnt know that other people didnt experience this... now i know how really lucky i am!!



    i also believe that unconditional love is not always gentic, though it does seem to make it more 'automatic'! Ii love many people in my life uncontitionally but differently. my son takes it to a whole new level though, i will admit that i have never loved anyone the way i love my son. kinda blows me away when i think about it too much
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Kate on 12th February 2008
  • I think you can love your stepchild the same way you love your birth children.



    If Agape love has to have a genetic component to it, does that mean adoptive parents can't possibly love their adopted children unconditionally or selflessly? And, on the flip side, what about all those birth parents who abuse or neglect their biological kids... why doesn't the genetic component prevent that?



    My three oldest kids are my stepkids, and I don't feel any differently toward them now that I've birthed two more children into our family. Though I do think that, no matter the relationship, love isn't instantaneous. It has to grow.



    I can't speak for the love a stepchild has for their stepparent, since I've never had a stepparent, but for a long time our now-9-year-old told people he had two mothers, one named Mommy and the other named Lylah (I came into his life when he was 1, so he's never known anything else). I think people thought we had a very non-traditional family, but his mom and I never corrected him, because that's how he views us...
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse on 12th February 2008
  • I'm with you Lylah. The capacity for love is there no matter what. Perhaps for whatever reason (upbringing, personality) not everyone feels that way. We have one birth child, but we've often talked about adopting, too, sometime in the future. I've always believed very strongly that if we do adopt, I would love that child 100% and every bit as much as I love the daughter we now have. I'm equally certain my husband feels the same way. When a child is yours to care for, raise and protect, I don't understand how you could not love them with all your heart.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Diane on 13th February 2008
  • Unconditional love only "genetic" or really authentic in biological situations? Ridiculous!! If you've ever loved anyone unrelated to you unconditionally you know this firsthand. On a real world note, I was raised by my stepfather and mother; I grew up thinking of him as "Dad" which he was in every sense of the word. He sacrificed much to provide for us, and gave constant love and affection, and still does. He is the living embodiment of agape love. I am so amazed people think this is not possible.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Amber on 13th February 2008
  • Amber: How did we jump from me saying



    I believe Agape (unconditional and selfless) love has a biological component



    to



    "Unconditional love only genetic"



    ??







    Of course the second statement is ridiculous.



    Here's what I stated: I believe that Agape (unconditional and selfless) love has a genetic component to it.



    This does not erase pathologies and problems that cause parents to be less than loving to their own birth children. This does not erase the possibility of people who are able to truly love unconditionally without being a blood relative to the person they love. This does not mean that real Agape love only exists with biological ties.



    In all honesty - it has been my observation that Agape love is rare and even rarer still in situations where the people are not blood relations. I am very aware that when step parents and step children are involved there are often speacial issues related to what Pammy asked in her opening question. I also know that mathematically speaking, it's impossible for all of us to be exceptions to the rule.



    It's just my opinion and not meant to offend anyone with a blended family.



    BTW: My answers to the opening questions are still: possible, but not probable and Yes-I would consider getting married again if I were to find myself a widow; however, it would probably be after my son was 18 and my screening process would be super stringent...
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Uhura on 13th February 2008
  • This is an interesting post Uhura.

    I am a dictionary hound so I had to look up agape in the wikipedia

    In this respect, I have come to observe in my own life and the interaction with others that agape love is very rare among anyone, blood relative or other. There is generally many conditions placed on loving each other. Many expectations placed on children from their parents to be certain ways, display certain behaviors, etc...

    I think as we grow through trial and tribulations, and heartbreaks and all that life throws at us, we become more open, we become more like the flower that is blossoming, we either become more open or not...to loving what is. Which brings us closer to "agape" love. Some humans open and some do not as they grow older, this can be observed among the elderly, some grow bitter and angry and others are smiling and laughing and enjoying life even as they are strolled around unable to walk on their own any longer!

    I think what we experience with our children is something else, some hormonal effect to care for and nurture our cubs, which either occurs during birth, or occurs as we realize that this innocent child is unable to get their own needs met alone and thus we something, possibly hormonal kicks in and we step into that role and instinctively we are able to become bonded or become parent like to another child. I have noticed there were times when I felt that kick in even towards an adult, where I perhaps over stepped into thinking they needed this or that as though I were their parent. LOL!

    To me, unconditional love is simply loving what is...no matter what. Not longing for more or for something to be different, just simply loving the way it is in the present moment, no matter what that is. I totally believe we are all capable of that, but I also think that our society at least in America does not support this notion very well if at all, so we have been conditioned to judgments about practically everything. There is always a right and a wrong way or type of behavior, noticed and expounded upon so we become judger's and condemners-which in my understanding and my own judgment doesn't equal agape or unconditional love.

    Thank you for bringing this up, I am going to begin my day thinking about and having an awareness of the present moment and loving what is today!

    ~Cheryl
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by RecoveryCoach on 23rd February 2008

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