Now comes commitment... At first, if the sociopath is truly interested in love, commitment should be a no-brainer. How can one expect to love another without the intention of staying with them? Like I mentioned before, a sociopath may have a reason for ending a relationship because of some flaw that they cannot get past. But this doesn't mean he/she should go into a relationship looking for flaws or expecting to find one. Rather the sociopath should begin the relationship with the intention of staying with that person. When some sort of failure presents itself, it is up to that person to decide whether or not it is something they can live with (or even embrace). Remember: flaws are what make us who we are, we all have them. It's just a matter of deciding "does this flaw affect me?" or "do I even care?" Recall what I said before about how a sociopath may come to the realization that they don't care about the power struggle anymore, so not caring about something is perfectly within their limits. So what happens when that time you have spent together with your significant other turns into weeks, months, years? The more time passes, the more the sociopath will become complacent and accepting of this new lifestyle. Now does complacence detract from the true feeling of love? Well for a sociopath who previously had other motivations for being with someone and would find any plausible excuse to leave, this is certainly a big change for them. They may realize that this is a much more pleasurable and worth-while life. Did the sociopath do this for their own self-interest? That's actually a hard one to answer being a sociopath myself. My idea is that at first the sociopath is simply interested in experiencing this feeling of love, something they should not be capable of, which (in my mind) would make one only want it more. This clearly points to self-interest as the motivating factor. However once they find themselves in a well-functioning relationship, things start to change. The sociopath may come to the realization that this new-found way of life is totally dependent on their partner and his/her happiness. This causes the sociopath to do uncharacteristic things that purely serve the interest of their partner. This makes their significant other happy, pleased, content, etc., which in turn translates to happiness for the sociopath. The sociopath achieves this happiness by a sense of knowing they affected another's emotions, which is something sociopaths are well known for doing, yet in a positive way. Is this self-interest?... maybe. Who doesn't like the feeling of helping someone else feel happy? Why do we (all humans) tend to band together in the wake of a disaster to donate enormous amounts of money and goods and services? We don't do it because we like giving away our crap, nor do we do it out of a sense of civic duty. We do it because we know we are making the lives of another better (no matter how marginal it may be). This makes us feel important because we made a difference, and it gives us a sense of self-worth. So we keep our partner happy so that we may be happy, simple enough. And to really know how to keep your partner happy and ultimately the relationship genuine, one must form an honest bond with the other. Mutual happiness is a good thing.
In the long term the goals and plans of both partners begin to seriously overlap. The sociopath must keep his/her goals grounded and realistic and make sure they don't jeopardize the relationship as a whole. He/she should keep in mind that the plans they make should benefit their partner whenever possible. This goes back to keeping your partner happy, but it does so much more. These shared plans whenever developed under the influence of a sociopath have the potential to be hugely beneficial to both partners. This is because the sociopath knows what to do to get ahead, and this means that not only will the sociopath profit but so will their partner as well as the relationship as a whole. Commitment is indeed very much within the realm of possibility for a sociopath given they understand what is required of them and what they may have to sacrifice.
So what does this all mean? If a sociopath finds themselves in a relationship that meets the criteria I have laid out, does that mean they have achieved love? First of all I don't consider myself to be an expert on love or relationships by any means, this is just my way of thinking. But what if there is some truth to what I have said? Is this really love, or is it something mechanically similar or even equivalent? Well according to Robert Sternberg's Triangular theory of love, if the individuals involved in an interpersonal relationship exhibit three components: Intimacy, Passion, and Commitment simultaneously then it is described as "Consummate love." This is also known as the complete form of love, an ideal relationship, the "perfect couple." Whether this is genuine love or just a carbon copy remains up for debate. But what's the point of debating when both people are perfectly happy being a couple? What should also be noted is that consummate love is not permanent, and can easily degenerate into one of the lesser "forms of love." My belief though, is that a sociopath will realize this ideal type of love as highly preferential. Consequently, the sociopath will use all of his/her abilities to preserve this status. So it stands to reason that a relationship involving a sociopath will be more adept at facing and overcoming otherwise daunting hardships that always tend to pop up in any relationship.
I will reference Maslow's hieracrchy of needs in which self-actualization is at the peak. A typical definition of self-actualization according to Maslow is “the full realization of one's potential and one's true self.” If a sociopath realizes what he/she is and understands all of the benefits and consequences associated with sociopathy, then they can be recognized as having achieved self-actualization. Maslow maintains that those who have reached self-actualization are capable of love. My personal conclusion: Love is attainable for any sociopath, myself included. All it takes is a little willpower and some self-sacrifice, something that is within a sociopath's capacity. All we have to remember is "give a little, get a lot."