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What is a Love Hate Relationship? Everything You Need To Know

What is a Love Hate Relationship? Everything You Need To Know

Updated on May 28, 2022

Reviewed by Julianne Cantarella, MSW, LSW , Certified Relationship Coach

Love Hate Relationship - Meaning, Signs, Causes, and How To Embrace It

Wondering what’s a love-hate relationship? Or, do you think you or a loved one is in one?

What do you feel while you look at their relationships? Do you think there is intense love between them? Or do you think they don’t love each other at all?

Though the love-hate relationship is a controversial topic, this think-piece is here to clear all your doubts.

For some, it’s a natural way to express love. However, for others, it’s a toxic dynamic or a major deal-breaker. It entirely depends on the ones involved in it.

Confusing, right? Let’s quickly clear the air with…

Love-hate relationship meaning

Love-hate relationships have both love and hate in the same relationship. Sometimes, you want to get rid of them, and other times, you can’t live without them.

I am sure as kids you all enjoyed watching Tom and Jerry fight… yet they got worried for each other the very next moment.

Well, that is the classic example of a love-hate relationship.

In a love-hate relationship, couples love and hate one another equally. It’s when you love your partner from the very core of your heart… yet aren’t able to express it in the right time and manner.

Possibly, you and your partner fight quite often. This is where it begins.

Arguments and small fights are the daily routines in a love-hate relationship.

You are sure about the love you have for your partner but yet you sometimes behave rudely. Although you never mean it, it still hurts their feelings.

Sometimes, you can’t stand each other and feel like breaking up. But they somehow thrive and continue.

Wondering why do couples fight if they really love one another? Well, it all lies in the…

Love-hate relationship psychology

Love and hate both can exist together in a relationship. Even when there is love between the couple, sometimes you feel frustrated and question their love for you.

Did your angry teacher ever punish you only to hug you later? Well, that is how emotions work in a love-hate relationship.

Though love and hate are two extreme emotions… you can feel both for the same person at different times.

In this type of relationship, we love the person a lot… but some habits or actions make you hate them at times.

The most common reason behind love-hate relationships is when the love is not reciprocated.

When your partner doesn’t reciprocate your love… you magnify the other person’s flaws and completely ignore the circumstances.

Love and hate can co-exist… you can love the person you hate and hate the person you love.

Infact, there are no relationships that are always full of love. Even in intense love, sometimes we’re impatient and frustrated and don’t behave accordingly.

Wondering if yours is a love-hate one? Let’s check these…

Signs you’re in a love-hate relationship.

If you’re in a love-hate relationship, sometimes it’s difficult to identify the signs or red flags.

You convince yourself that ups and downs are normal and a part of life. But someday, you may find yourself in a pit with no way out.

So why not identify the cracks ahead?

1. You break up and makeup continuously

A love-hate relationship is like a phoenix. It burns into ashes and rises up again. So, did you notice a vicious cycle in your relationship?

Are you unable to escape the breakup and makeup phases? Then it’s the very reason for escaping it.

You keep convincing yourself that everything’s alright… even though it’s not.  So, it is time to discard the relationship altogether.

2. You feel extreme emotions

Extremities of emotions are signs of a toxic relationship. Perfection is unreal, and everything comes with its own beauty and flaws… whether it’s your partner or relationship.

But when you hate your partner for their shortcomings… and still love them with no bounds, it is the beginning of the end.

Love has the power to help you cover your partner’s flaws while you both work on it. But if that’s not the case, let the relationship go.

3. Unresolved conflicts stresses you

In love-hate relationships, your wrath grows if you suppress your negative emotions.

You keep your mouth shut because you fear the consequences of revealing your negative emotions.

It leads to a pile of unresolved conflicts, which grows into poison.

So, express yourself to your partner… even if you are not in the same boat and resolve the conflicts together.

4. The relationship lacks connection

Do only materialistic and temporary things attract you in the relationship? That’s another big sign of a love-hate relationship.

Passion, romance, and emotional intensity are the leading drivers of a healthy relationship.

If you stay together just for high economic status or physical pleasure… but if you don’t feel a real, meaningful connection, know that something is fishy.

A real connection is beyond temporary attractions. You feel it while gazing into their eyes without a single whisper. So, try to build a real connection, and if you can’t, get past it, dear!

5. You pretend to be happy

The world’s a stage, but no need to be an actor all the time.

Sometimes, you might pretend to be lovey-dovey publicly… because you’re concerned about your public image… and that’s normal

But if you are not actually as you show it on your social media posts… something’s off.

So instead of pretending, spend real time together and build a connection.

6. It feels like a blessing at times

Didn’t you start dating because your partner felt like all your dreams have come true?

You believed they are perfect and they’re the best you may ever get. Their good traits make you fall for them time and again, and it feels like a blessing. But how long does it last?

Eventually, if you can’t stand their flaws even for a moment… That is when you know you are in a love-hate relationship.

So figure out if it is a blessing or a curse… rather than stepping on two boats simultaneously.

7. The relationship is a challenge to you

In a healthy relationship, love is in the air… but does the air choke you? Then you must breathe elsewhere.

Accepting your partner’s flaws is easy in the first stages of love. But it becomes challenging if you feel the need to fix it. Possibly, because you think they’re too good to let go.

8. You’re unsure about the relationship’s future

Life is uncertain and so is your relationship. But if you are together in this, then the future must not scare you.

However, if it is not true in your case… or you find the future hazy, then that’s your biggest sign of a love-hate relationship.

So either communicate to find a solution together or go separate ways.

9. Their behavior bothers you

Your partner’s bad side bothers you, yet you stick to them. You hope they’ll change soon and accept you entirely at the right time.

Unfortunately, they hardly change and continue treating you like trash.

If this sounds familiar, escape from your relationship. Don’t wait any longer because it’ll keep you intoxicated till the end.

10. You talk about each other

Relationships flourish when you talk to each other. But if you often talk about each other… rather than listening to the other side, you are stuck in a love-hate relationship.

You hope for advice while nagging about their flaws to your family. But that doesn’t work because it develops doubts.

Instead, talk to your partner and clarify things.

11. You’re always exhausted

You feel tired and want to give up more often. Your relationship includes more fights and arguments than love episodes, and that exhausts you.

It’s a red flag so identify the loose ends.

So, take relationship therapy as it might save your relationship. However, if you feel hopeless, let it go.

12. You’re playing safe

You know things are wrong, yet you let it be and play safe. Instead of letting your partner go, you fear the rejection and hurt that comes after it.

So you grow protective of yourself and hope everything will fix itself soon.

It’s time to notice the other side… don’t let fears confine you in a toxic relationship.

13. You let ego make decisions

Is one of you too egoistic to communicate? If ego enters your relationship, it’ll destroy it or turn it into a love-hate relationship.

Does your ego dictate your words and allegations? Then the ego took charge of your relationship.  Feel you can put your ego aside for them? Then that’s good news for you.

14. Someone cheated in the relationship

Often partners cheat in a love-hate relationship.

Even if your partner didn’t cheat yet and only considered the idea, that’s another red flag. You think your partner finds solace elsewhere and does not love you anymore.

Such assumptions worsen the relationship. Also, staying in a relationship even after being cheated on multiple times is itself a big sign.

15. There are dramatic vibes

Does your relationship feel more like a daily soap? Do you often feel you’re in a drama? Then you need no other sign.

Come on; even your viewers can spot the cracks in your relationship or so-called love-hate relationship.

Didn’t your partner humiliate you enough in an open crowd? How many times did you yell back? So either take the drama to a good climax or end it altogether.

Found some similarities in your relationship? But that’s not all… so, let’s learn the…

Two kinds of love-hate relationships

A love-hate relationship itself is bad news in your life. But there are two kinds of this relationship. None of them are any better than the other.

So, to not fall into such traps, let’s be aware of them…

1. Love the relationship, not the lover

It means that you want to be in a relationship but don’t love your partner. You hold onto the relationship out of a fear… that you may not get a suitable match for you again.

You might also fear the thought of your partner moving on. Their new relationship right after the breakup might traumatize you.

2. Love the lover, not the relationship

This is when you love your partner head-over-heels… but have nothing to share with each other.

You cannot imagine your life without them, but your relationship has regular conflicts and disagreements. At times, it gets difficult for you to stand in the same room.

Wondering where the chaos begins? Let’s find out from the…

Causes of Love-Hate Relationship

Ever wondered about the reasons behind your relationship dynamics? What led you to this situation in the first place?

You build an ocean drop by drop; the same stands true for a love-hate relationship. So let’s understand where it went wrong…

1. Your personalities don’t match

You and your partner may have mismatching personalities. You two don’t need to have the same perspective towards everything. This doesn’t make you a bad match.

But to lead a successful life ahead, you need to accept the differences and respect it.

So if you and your partner often have conflicting opinions and do not respect them… you might fall into a love-hate relationship.

2. You have clashing egos

Nosy egos always make people blind. They don’t notice things clearly and it always overshadows love, care, and all other positive emotions. Egoistic people can’t easily accept their mistakes.

If you both are egoistic… neither of you will ever accept your faults in the relationship.

The moment your partner points it out, you will blow up and end it all. It will eventually pile up and lead to a love-hate relationship.

3. You have dominating personalities

Feel that bending before your partner will behead you? Couples with strong notions about themselves always want to dominate their partner.

They want things a certain way and are not flexible to accept anything other than that. They do not easily give in to what their partner desires.

Such kinda couples do not realize how “my way, or highway” is damaging the relationship.

4. You feel insecure

Insecurities often arise in a relationship between sensitive partners. They always feel something might go wrong when their partner behaves flirty.

The harsh words or negative emotions instill insecurities in a relationship and lead to jealousy.

These negative feelings often pile up with time and build a love-hate relationship.

5. Their eyes wander

Peeking into others’ business rather than minding your own is detrimental. If your partner is more interested in others, it may create misunderstandings in your relationship.

You will eventually lose connection and feel less valued compared to the others. At some point in time, hatred might kick in that pool of love.

6. You have mismatching expectations

You expect your partner to return the same love and care you shower on them.

But what if you both expect a different kind of love and attention in the relationship?

Maybe you expect them to communicate more often… but they believe in rare but meaningful confrontations.

These differences become the roots for negativities in a love-hate relationship.

7. You don’t voice frustrations

Unvoiced frustrations and anger pile up inside your head… and may burst later causing greater damage.

You ignore your partner’s flaws just to keep the situation calm. But how long until it starts piercing you? So if you do not let it all out at the moment, you are only putting all the years of relationship at stake.

8. You’re not willing to change

In healthy relationships, you know your fault and try to make things right. But in a love-hate relationship, you might play the rock… you deny improving yourself even for the sake of your relationship.

You do not give a shit about how your negative side bothers your partner. It might also be the same with your partner.

This unwillingness to change might eventually lead you to the vicious cycle of love-hate.

9. Someone is controlling

You do realize they are your partner and not your pet… you can’t control them as you wish. That’s the same for your partner.

If you focus on controlling each other’s moves… choose their look for a party or what they must eat, you are stretching it too far. Let them live their own life.

Otherwise, your partner will feel trapped and want to escape instantly.

10. Someone is a cheater

Cheating on your partner or being cheated on are the major causes of a love-hate relationship.

Couples lose faith in each other and eventually fall out of love.

Wondering why don’t they exit the relationship in such situations? Well, doesn’t a love-hate relationship also have love in it?

The traces of love that make couples stay in a love-hate relationship even if they cheat.

11. There’s a lack of communication

Communication is the key to solving any conflict or issue in the world. If you and your partner lack healthy communication, then toxicity eventually grows.

Doubts and misunderstandings enter the relationship. Not letting your partner know about your feelings makes them feel undesired.

If you do not communicate about your feelings, they’ll never know. And one day you’ll find yourself in a pile of arguments.

12. There’s immature behavior in the relationship

Though you know about your relationship issues, you make no attempts to fix them. You let things go on with the flow.

But this immature behavior will only disturb the flow of your relationship. If you do nothing about it, it might turn into a love-hate relationship.

13. You feel you’re unworthy of love

Habit drives people. If you were once in a toxic relationship, you might believe that all relationships are the same.

In turn, you feel unworthy of love and fear things going wrong, even if it’s not the truth.

Such feelings create insecurities in relationships and make you believe that things will never change for you…. and in turn, you lay the foundation of a love-hate relationship.

14. You want others to be perfect

You ignore your flaws and expect them to be perfect. Do you think it’s fair?

You are no God, and neither is your partner and for your information, perfection is not even real. It never existed.

So naturally, you both will have faults just like a normal human being.

Identify your flaws and try to correct them. Don’t expect the other person to do it. If you expect perfection from your partner, they might expect it back.

15. You have continuous conflicts

You argue more often with conflicting perspectives, and there is no end to it. You do not even bother resolving the conflicts. It leads to a domino effect.

However, the only difference is that the dominos fall one at a time… while continuous conflicts add up into a bigger issue known as a love-hate relationship.

Wondering how a love-hate relationship works? Well, let’s find your answer here…

The cycle of a love-hate romance

A love-hate relationship is full of emotional ups and downs. It’s full of drama… and with time, it might become addictive. You break up, hurt, patch up, and feel it’s because of true love.

Let’s understand this vicious cycle better…

1. Breaking up

There are hurtful fights in love-hate relationships. Calling it toxic is an understatement. With every fight, you both also impact other areas of your life.

However, you both know that this conflict is temporary. Soon, you’ll return to one another’s side.

2. Making up for your mistakes

The next time you make up, you believe that’s the power of your love. You feel passionate for one another. Plus, you have makeup sex… which you obviously love the most.

The truth behind love-hate relationships

There are so many emotions, including frustration, anger, commitment, and love, that it becomes difficult to deal with them. Both the partners must compromise and understand the circumstances well.

Honestly, this is the stage where you get to know your partner truly. This is how your partner will react when you face real-time problems.

Even after spending so much time with your partner, you might miss out on crucial deets.

Ensure that your relationship involves love. If there is only abuse and fights, then distance yourself sooner.

Why do you love them?

Love is a process, and it develops over time. You cannot love someone at first sight… That is pure attraction. When you spend time with your partner, you start knowing them.

You will crave more time with them and just being by their side will feel comforting.

So, when your relationship goes through a tough stage, always think about why you love them.

You will remember all the good things, the way they look into your eyes, how they play with your hair and so many more things in which you find love.

These are the things that make it worth it.

Why do you hate them?

Even if you and your partner are head over heels for each other, there are still some unappreciative points about them. After spending some time with your partner, some things might annoy you.

It might be a habit you absolutely hate. Possibly, even after discussing them openly, your partner still doesn’t change. This arouses hatred even further. Sometimes they might not treat you right either.

Judge it yourself if these reasons are more valid than the reasons for loving them.

Emerging out of the phase of love-hate relationship

Identify the negatives if you decide to stay together. The lack of patience or anger issues might be the reasons behind the outburst. Eliminate them as soon as possible.

Emphasize the positive sides because any relationship is not just filled with negative things.

Recall how they fell in love in the first place and how much you loved spending time with each other. Continue doing activities together and cherish their company.

Also, learn to let go. Sometimes it is better not to hold on to avoidable things. It will reduce disagreements and conflicts.

Wondering how to thrive in a love-hate relationship? Let’s know from here…

How to navigate a love-hate relationship?

Do you want to change your relationship dynamics? Great! If you are looking forward to moving out of a love-hate relationship, here are a few ways that you can adopt in your daily life.

1. Be aware of your negative emotions.

Do not passively accept whatever happens. Be active and identify the cause of toxicity in your relationship. See what triggers you and how your partner reacts to it.

If needed, write your emotions and feelings. All of this will help you process your negative emotions, and you will see your relationship from a better perspective.

2. Define boundaries

Clearly define what you cannot tolerate and take actions against it. Only then will you be able to build a healthy relationship. Define what hurts and how much you can tolerate.

If needed, write it down, it makes your boundaries more solid – both in your head and your partner’s.

3. Seek help

Many people think that seeking help from others in your relationship is not the right way to tend to problems. But when nothing works, why not seek some support from people who validate your opinions?

Reach out to your friends or family who know your feelings and gain a clear perspective.

4. Decide your proceedings

Proceedings do not mean breaking up and moving on from a relationship. But take some actions against the problems in your relationship.

Try to bring in small changes and variations every now and then to resolve conflicts. Observe how your partner responds to these changes.

5. Aim for clarity

Love-hate relationships usually occur because of indecisiveness. You and your partner have no idea where you stand. At times, you may also question your position in your relationship.

To get out of this frustrating phase, clear your thoughts and speak to your partner if you want to continue or end the relationship.

6. Focus on the positives

Your partner will not be perfect and you aren’t either. So, accept this fact as soon as you can to live a liberating and healthy relationship.

Once you put an end to the negative thoughts, you will notice the positive sides. In turn, it will help you gain more trust.

7. Spend more time

Many couples face conflicts because of a lack of time for each other. To make your relationship work, spend time with each other without fights.

Even during difficult times, know how to become a reason to smile for your partner. Take persistent efforts, and you will surely move out of the love-hate relationship phase.

8. Know what to let go of

Why are you in a relationship if you hate your partner? Find out the reason behind this and analyze which is more important… the reason or your love for them.

If the reason like ego, dominating behavior, or anything gains priority over your love, quit the relationship without giving much thought. 

9. Understand that no relationship is perfect

If you’re blinded by the social media “ideal” couple posts, then let me help you burst the bubble for you – it’s only a façade.

Real life is a lot different than social media. Remember, no relationship is perfect, nor is yours… the joy is in accepting the imperfections and still loving each other just the same.

10. Learn to forgive… and forget

Yes, the “hate” can be eliminated if you let a few matters slide by. No, I am not asking you to keep suppressing your feelings, but remember that your partner is only a human and it’s okay to make a few mistakes.

You may have a few arguments on it, but don’t keep bringing it back in all the future conflicts or it will become like a sour wound.

However, if you’re fine with the current dynamic… and want to continue it just like this, here’s how you can do that.

How to embrace a love-hate relationship?

The only way to stay happy in a relationship is to embrace it. You will have to change your behavior and focus on the best parts of your relationships to constantly be in love with your partner.

Here’s how you can do that in a love-hate relationship… through a 5-step feedback process.

1. Get feedback from your loving critics.

It is always a good idea to obtain feedback from your loved ones. Their opinions will help you grow productively.

Ask for constructive criticism from people who you think will give you an unbiased view.

2. Try to respond short

When you receive negative feedback, don’t justify your behavior. It will only lead to arguments, and the person will not give you honest feedback next time.

Instead, ask them for deeper details, For instance, what are your mistakes usually about? Later, work on those points.

3. Choose and move on

Sometimes you might receive unexpected and unwanted feedback from distant people. In such cases, you don’t need to accept them at all.

Filter the feedback you receive before you process them.

Also, if many people give the same feedback, process the feedback theme and analyze situations. Ensure you do not behave in the same manner when such a situation arises.

4. Don’t deflect praise.

Don’t neglect compliments, that’s a mistake. No, these compliments are not because you are lucky about something. Someone complimented you because they appreciate your actions, and you deserve it.

As negative feedback helps you know the areas to grow, the positive ones motivate you in life.

5. Give gold stars

Develop a habit of motivating others too. Whenever your partner does something good for you, give them gold stars.

Just like you feel motivated when someone compliments you, these gold stars will motivate your partner too.

It will encourage them to continue with good actions and build a stronger relationship.

All that said and done, it is time to answer some common questions that are still lingering in your mind…

FAQs about love-hate relationships

I am sure you still have more questions about love-hate relationships… possibly you don’t have anyone to ask either.

Some questions might eat you inside, so it is best to seek answers to them as soon as possible before you start hating your partner.

1. Are love-hate relationships healthy?

Well, some of you may not like to hear, but it’s a clear ‘NO.’ A love-hate relationship is completely unhealthy because of its inconsistency.

Couples feel exhausted and the relationship becomes toxic. After some time, you hold lots of emotional baggage. Further, it consumes your energy and motivation to do anything fruitful.

2. Can you hate and love someone at the same time?

Oh definitely, it is possible to love and hate someone at the same time.

Researchers also proved this fact through scientific studies. Obviously, we cannot love someone blindly all the time. It is common to feel frustrated and jealous towards your partner.

3. Is hate a form of love? 

Well, poets will answer YES to this question. Love and hatred are nearly romantically linked to each other. At times, romantic jealousy can take the form of hatred.

Even if you love your partner passionately, you may hate them with the same intensity. This hatred may destroy your relationship.

4. Can love and hate relationships last long?

Yes, love and hate relationships can last long because a person gets used to the toxicity. They think emotionally and lose their rationality. This keeps them hooked on the relationship.

Such people consider being happy at the moment instead of thinking about life happiness.

5. Should you continue being in a love-hate relationship?

If you and your partner are happy in it, then you might as well continue. If you both have spent a long time together, you know each other very well and there are chances this phase will make your love even stronger.

But of course, if the relationship lacks love, then you must rethink your decision.

A word from ThePleasantRelationship

If you’re in a love-hate relationship, stop before you reach the point of no return.

You may truly love your partner, but if you notice any similar signs, don’t keep shut. Communicate openly and honestly with your partner before it gets too late.

Prioritize your partner and a healthy relationship. A love-hate relationship may keep you together… but with a lot of baggage, so much so that the relationship might not last long enough.

So, if the realization has finally struck you… remember, it is better late than never. Talk to your partner and climb the ladder of success together.