“Cupboard love” is an English phrase referring to affection that is given purely to gain a reward.

The term derives from the way in which a cat will give a cupboard containing its food superficial “love” (which is not normally exhibited) when it wants to be fed.  The phrase is most often applied to human activity, for example when a child will say “I love you so much” before or after requesting a treat, for example an ice cream.

Cupboard love is a milder version of conditional love, where love is given solely in response to certain behaviour. Some local authorities class conditional love as a form of emotional abuse.

Info gleaned from Wikipedia

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