“Unselfish love that is poured out upon a selfish object does not bring perfect happiness: not because love requires a return or a reward for loving, but because it rests in the happiness of the beloved. And if the loved one receives love selfishly, the lover is not satisfied. He sees that his love has failed to make the beloved happy. It has not awakened his/her capacity for unselfish love.
Hence the paradox that unselfish love cannot rest perfectly except in a love that is perfectly reciprocated: because it knows that the only true peace is found in selfless love. Selfless love consents to be loved selflessly for the sake of the beloved. In so doing, it perfects itself.
The gift of love is the gift of power and the capacity to love, and therefore, to give love with full effect is also to receive it. So, love can only be given perfectly when it is also received.” Thomas Merton No Man Is an Island
Somehow I have intuitively known or felt this “truth” as Thomas Merton describes. I continually “fall on my sword” in relationship and expend good love after bad. I am helplessly attracted to women who are emotionally or physically unavailable. It is safer I guess.