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What Does a Love-hate Relationship Really Mean?

What Does a Love-hate Relationship Mean?
We have come across the term "love-hate" quite a lot of times, haven't we? In magazines, gossip columns, perhaps romantic teen novels too! What does a love-hate relationship mean? Is it applicable only in romantic relationships, or has this pattern been observed in other relationships as well?
Shalu Bhatti
Last Updated: Dec 09, 2017
Did You Know?
According to a research done by Yale University, poor self-esteem has been suggested as a contributing factor in the development of love-hate relationships.
Do you remember the words spoken by the wizard Gandalf to Frodo in the movie The Lord of the Rings in reference to Gollum? They went like, "He hates and loves the Ring, as he hates and loves himself." If you've seen the movie, or read the book, you would know of what we speak. Gollum was different before the ring came into his life. The ring gave him nothing except pain and agony, but he loved it so much that he bore it all. However, there were times when he hated the ring for what it had done to him. This is the perfect example to understand what a severe degree of love-hate relationship is.

A love-hate relationship can be developed between any two people in any kind of relationship, be it among two-lovers, a parent and child, two siblings, and even between a human and an object. It is a union that rules your life and its decisions for most parts. You can't live without the other one and you can't live with the other one, as well. As confusing and disorienting as it may sound, the following section will throw some light on the meaning of this intense bond.
How Do You Define a Love-hate Relationship
The Oxford Dictionaries state that a love-hate relationship is "characterized by ambivalent feelings of love and hate felt by one or each of two or more parties." In this case, the person involved is usually confused about which course to take in terms of deciding his/her true feelings towards the other. The person involved shares a deep connection with the other, therefore, it is not quite easy to pick one of the two sides, bringing about a feeling that is similar to that of standing at a fence, unable to take a side. A lot of people wonder, "How is it possible that you can both love and hate a person, for if you hate a person you love, then perhaps you never loved the person at all?" While they may seem right in their way of thinking, in truth, the human psyche can get way more complicated than our perception!

It is a noted fact that closeness, intimacy, and attachment towards a person is what paves way for both love and hatred, for we would never care so much as to be so intensely sensitive towards someone who didn't really matter at all. So, it wouldn't be wrong to say that love and hate are perhaps two sides of the same coin. In a love-hate relationship, there is intense love and passion towards each other because of the time spent, moments shared of understanding and love, and the admiration (for certain aspects) towards each other. However, there are also things that arise the sense of acute hatred, dislike, and rage towards the very same person. The reasons could vary from ego clashes, too much expectation, or the failure to sort of make the person live up to your expectations due to a certain facet of his/her personality.
Signs That You're in a Love-hate Relationship
You just know in your heart if you're involved in such a relationship with any person. You love the person from the bottom of your heart, but you can't imagine to live your life with this important person at times. During the good days, you feel a blast of love, admiration, passion, and warmth for this person, while on the bad days, you just curse yourself to be putting up with his/her "nonsense" all the while. You know that the place of this person in your life is absolutely irreplaceable, but still you wish he/she never had a place in the first place. The following signs will help you identify if you actually are involved in a love-hate relationship, or not.
1: The Feelings Fluctuate Constantly
There are intense emotions brewing within you and this person. On one hand where you hate him/her, there is screaming, yelling, cursing. And when you love each other, it's passionate, seeming irrevocable at the time, and is highly intense. In fact, we could say that both the love and hate part of this union is highly intense.
2: You Seem to be Stuck in a Rut
The relationship doesn't seem to be going ahead, but taking circles of darkness and light. Now, we all would agree that every relationship goes through a roller-coaster ride, but here, the ride never seems to end. You love, connect, smile, share in the passion, and then the coin flips where you loathe whole decision to be in the same vicinity with the person. Just like a vicious cycle.
3: You're Putting Up with It because ...
You don't want to let go because you have put in way too much, and you also want to let go because all that you've put in seems no more than a bad investment. Love-hate relationships usually hold value. More than anything else, it is the emotional attachment and worth that keeps these two together, and the very same emotional repugnance keeps them annoyed. The bottom line is that there is nothing productive and fruitful in the relationship. Perhaps the person is just there in your life because there is the fear of social repercussions that may arise post split up, or because he/she is an investment, a prize that your ego won't let you part with.
How to Fix a Love-hate Relationship
Love-hate relationships can be fixed by the willingness to make it work. Most of the people involved in such relationships are aware of each other's psyche quite well. If they really want to make it work, they can. The following points will help you with the necessary advice.
1: Keep Calm and Communicate
Communication is the first and foremost first-aid to fix any relationship, including this one. Understand the fact that all is not either black or white, and it is normal for people to have gray shades in their personalities too. If the two of you really want it to work, then you two must be willing to "calmly" communicate the issues with each other.
2: Accept, Forgive, Work, Move Ahead
After putting up with so much of nuisance in the relationship, it is inevitable that you must have realized that that's just how he/she is, and because love dominates your decision of sticking together, you need to accept this person just as he/she is. Communication will help, but it wouldn't have a magical transformational effect on the person. It would take acceptance, forgiveness, adjustments, and patience to work on it and move ahead on the smooth road, thereby skipping the potholes.
3: Seek the Guidance of a Reputed Counselor
It is always good to seek an opinion or counseling from someone who knows how to actually help, and who would have an unbiased point of view regarding this relationship. This is because it is natural for the two of you to fail to see the other's point, no matter how hard you try to. A professional counseling will definitely help take this union towards a love-love relationship.

In conclusion, we would add this advice: Keep a polite code to warn each other when things seem to be going off-track. If you always end up going back to this person with whom you share a love-hate relationship with, it is always better to work it out with an hopeful attitude, to have a smooth sail during the rest of the journey. If the ambivalence continues and you feel that you two are not able to take your boat to the same side of the shore, then it would be best to evaluate the pros and cons of being together and take a call. All the best!