I think that a lot of people see things the way you describe, Bryan, and I understand where you’re coming from. Here’s how I see it: I consider unconditional love to be more of a spiritual force. Yes, human experience and relationships naturally require conditions, lest they become unhealthy. But if you can still feel basic human concern and goodwill for someone who, for example (and I hope not!), has cheated on, lied to, or hit you — whether or not you ever even speak to them again — then that lack of animosity and that underlying wish for their healing and wellness are ultimately a spark of unconditional love.
Love has many forms, and romantic love is not the only one. Take, for instance, light: light appears in many colors, but to say, “This blue light is not truly light because the only light that really counts is orange” would not be accurate or make sense. Maybe we prefer orange, and we want orange… but it doesn’t mean that blue light doesn’t legitimately count as light. I like something Lao Tzu says in the Tao Te Ching: “the greatest love seems indifferent.” In other words, it doesn’t cling, fight, or ask for anything at all. It lives in a place of total acceptance — without being buffeted by its beloved either. In that respect, the “greatest” love can even, indeed, walk away… but it would still be yours. Just not romantically.
It’s up to us to cultivate love in the forms we wish to experience. But the raw material is always there. ;)