7 Subtle Signs You're In A Love-Hate Relationship

How can you love and hate someone at the same time?

couple in a love hate relationship arguing bbernard / shutterstock

You probably have a love-hate relationship with a few things in your life, like your siblings that infuriate you regularly but you can’t live without, or Amazon, whose convenience you love but your bank account hates.

But can you really love a person and hate them at the same time?

What is a love-hate relationship?

In a romantic relationship, things aren’t always perfect. You may love your partner with all of your being, but it’s completely natural to disagree, argue, and even dislike each other sometimes. 


However, a love-hate relationship is more extreme.

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A love-hate relationship is one in which the strong emotions you have for your partner erratically alternate from a deep love for that person to intense hate.


Is hate a sign of love? Romantic comedies and romance novels might be able to convince you that it is. 

Even science suggests that love and hate are intrinsically linked, as evidenced by a 2017 study claiming that the more you love someone, the more likely you are to hate them as well.

But a love-hate relationship can’t work in the long run.

Swinging between such extreme emotions is exhausting and is not conducive to a healthy relationship. 

What might feel like a strong, passionate relationship is actually likely a trauma bond, which Relationship Therapist and Psychotherapist Nancy Carbone describes as an “attachment formed through trying to feel in unhealed emotional wounds.”


Strong negative emotions like hate can wear you down and even cause you physical harm. But when the person you’re in a love-hate relationship with subsequently does something to soothe that hate, your body follows with the love response that makes you feel good again.

What are the signs of a love/hate relationship?

You don’t have to like your partner every second of every day — we all do things that get on each other’s nerves from time to time.

But if you recognize these signs of a love-hate relationship, it may be time to rethink your partnership.

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Here are 7 subtle signs you're in a love-hate relationship:

1. You regularly go from loving your partner with all of your heart to hating the person immensely

It’s normal for your partner to annoy you, especially when you spend a lot of time together. Once you get out of the honeymoon phase of your relationship, the little quirks that once endeared them to you might start making your eye twitch. 


What’s not normal is feeling intense hate for your partner. Whether it’s born out of disgust or resentment, this makes having a healthy relationship next to impossible.

2. You have unresolved issues in your relationship

Even healthy relationships occasionally suffer from disagreements and hard times. It’s how you deal with these issues that determine just how strong your relationship really is.

It’s one thing to get into an argument with your partner, talk it over, and then move on. But if you find that you and your partner are constantly bickering and nothing is getting resolved, it could be a bad sign.

3. It’s an on-and-off relationship

One of the more obvious signs that you’re in a love-hate relationship is the inconsistency of it. 


If you’re one of those couples that constantly makes people question whether or not you’re together (maybe you’re not even sure), it’s probably due to the instability of your polarized emotions. 

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4. You idealize your partner

Sometimes people make the mistake of falling for the idea of someone instead of falling for who that person actually is. 

If that person then doesn’t measure up to who you think they should be, you may find yourself hating and resenting them. 

5. Your love is conditional

While not easy to achieve, couples should aim for unconditional love. Couples who love unconditionally give their partner space to be themselves and make mistakes (barring abuse, of course) without fear of no longer being loved. 


People in a love-hate relationship find it difficult to accept their partner’s flaws and base their love and affection on perfection.

6. You’re not compatible 

While there may be aspects of your partner and your relationship that you love, you may not actually be compatible. However, it can be hard to step back and see that when you’re so caught up in the back-and-forth between love and hate. 

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7. You’re always talking about your relationship

While it’s good to keep tabs on where each of you is in your relationship, it can’t be the only thing you have in common. 

After going through a hate phase, you may want to discuss your relationship and why you now love each other again. But after that conversation is over, do you have anything to talk about? What do you actually have in common?


How do you fix a love-hate relationship?

Before you can go about fixing a love-hate relationship, it’s imperative that you decide whether or not you should actually be together. 

While you may have love for your partner, you can’t have a healthy relationship when it’s plagued by negative emotions like hate, resentment, and contempt. 


Maybe you and your partner are better suited as friends, where your love can thrive platonically as it’s not threatened by any romantic expectations. 

If you decide — together — that you do want to make a romantic relationship work, you need to first work to resolve any underlying issues and emotional baggage present in your relationship. 

This may require seeing a couples counselor or even seeing therapists separately to address your own issues. 

If you want to be truly happy in a relationship, it shouldn’t be love-hate. 

While you may not always like your partner, in a healthy relationship, love will always win out. 

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Micki Spollen is a YourTango ​editor and entertainment news writer. She also runs the travel blog Where In The World Is My Drink.