They say there’s a thin line between love and hate, right? Well, some couples straight-up play hopscotch over that line. Often painted in the media as a passionate love affair where loving someone so much ends up in arguments, a love-hate relationship isn’t what it’s chalked up to be.
You might be thinking, everyone thinks “I hate my boyfriend” from time to time, right? Wrong. The reality is that a love-hate relationship is unhealthy and can be really damaging in the long run. The intensity of a relationship dynamic when love turns to hate in the blink of an eye just isn’t a sustainable way to be with someone.
What is a love hate relationship?
Before we get into the signs of a love-hate relationship, first let’s define what this kind of relationship even is.
A love-hate relationship is pretty self-explanatory. One minute you’re in love and the next it’s all guns blazing. You feel extremely attracted to your partner, but at the same time, there are things about them that drive you up the wall. You might even actively dislike parts of them, indicating that your lack of compatibility could be driving a lot of your conflicts.
No relationship is perfect, and we’re all toxic sometimes. But we also need to know when things just aren’t working. Watch out for these signs to see if your “passionate” connection is actually an unhealthy dynamic that isn’t making either of you happy.
6 Signs You Are in a Love-Hate Relationship
1. You’re the definition of an on-off relationship
Couples in love-hate relationships will find themselves in a cycle of being on and off regularly. This is because arguments often end in taking a break or the relationship (temporarily) ending. Of course, you always end up coming back together once you’ve cooled off. But making up and breaking up really is overrated.
This constant back and forth between you and your partner has a detrimental effect in the long term. For starters, it’s exhausting, both mentally and emotionally, not knowing where you stand in your relationship. The on/off dynamic also leaves you both feeling insecure and distrustful of the other. And this is not what you’re aiming for in a healthy, supportive relationship.
2. You fight and make up a lot
Are you and your partner fighting one minute and having sex the next? Then you, my friend, may be in a love-hate relationship. Sure, sometimes the passion of an argument turns into some good old-fashioned make-up sex, but when every argument ends this way, it’s indicative of a bigger problem.
If you turn to sex in the heat of the moment every time you disagree, then you’re avoiding having to communicate and address the conflict. Doing so will mean that the mountain of unresolved resententment and pain will only grow between you.
Aside from fights ending up in sex, another sure fire sign of a love-hate relationship is the nature of your arguments.
Now, having a disagreement and getting into fights is natural for every couple, and even healthy if done in the right way. In fact, according to Psychology Today, “the process of conflict and arguing facilitates talk and awareness of another’s perspective”, and can be a healthy thing for couples. You’re never going to see eye-to-eye on everything, so conflicts are inevitable along the way, but when they’re a regular part of your routine, there’s a problem.
If you fight over tiny, insignificant things like who did the washing up last, or can’t even remember what you were fighting about after the, then you have a love/hate dynamic in your relationship.
3. When things are good you’re waiting for them to go bad
In a love-hate relationship, even when it’s smooth sailing, you’re preparing yourself for the next storm. This doesn’t allow you to truly enjoy your relationship or relax around your partner. In the long-term, this isn’t a sustainable way to love someone because you won’t be able to find safety and peace in the person closest to you.
If you both carry a lot of emotional baggage, then you may be taking out your own personal issues on each other, which could indicate that you both need time to work things out on your own. This will keep you trapped in the cycle of good and bad periods until you learn how to work through your emotional issues.
4. You’re always complaining about them
Do you always find yourself moaning about your S.O with your friends? That while they tell you about the latest surprise date they went on, you only have your latest screaming match to talk about? If this is the case, then you’re probably in a love-hate relationship. It’s probably safe to assume that your friends probably aren’t the biggest fan of your partner either. Especially if all they ever hear are negative comments and you lamenting “I hate my boyfriend” half the time.
This is a sign that you aren’t compatible with your partner. Because while our partners can drive us crazy sometimes, when it comes down to it, we have to accept them for who they are. If you can’t do that, and deep down want to change them, then you’re only going to hurt yourself.
5. They’re always on your mind, whether it’s for better or worse
A tell-tale sign of a love/hate dynamic in your relationship is if you can’t get them off your mind. And I don’t mean it in a cute rom-com movie way. In a love-hate relationship, your partner consumes your thoughts. You constantly rehash arguments you’ve had or spend your days angry at them. This obsessive behaviour that others may class as “passion” is extremely toxic.
On the other hand, when things are good you’re so grateful for the rest from arguing or feeling hurt that you’ll indulge in these small moments. You might even think that these are the reasons why you’re good together. And these same small moments are probably what keep you from ending the relationship for good, too.
Either way, having such intense feelings stops you from having any real perspective on your relationship, which will only prevent you from realising how unhealthy it is.
6. You think about ending things often
With the constant cycle of being on and off, most love-hate relationships are marked with thoughts of ending things, and often – temporary actions. When love turns to hate often, you may want to break up with your partner, or contemplate doing so. But this is just not a normal dilemma to have often in a healthy, loving relationship.
If you can relate to one or two of these signs, then don’t worry – it doesn’t mean you should break up with your partner. We all have emotional issues and toxic tendencies that we can choose to recognise, process and work on. However, if your relationship ticks all (or most) of these problematic boxes, your love-hate relationship is doing you more harm than good. This could be a sign that you need to find yourself again to work out what you want from love.