13 Signs You’re In A Love-Hate Relationship

Have you ever been in a love-hate relationship?

If you're not sure, read on.

Let's say you're in an intense romantic relationship, and you love being with your significant other.

When things are good, they're extraordinary.

However, there are occasions you just can't stand being around this person, and you have such a strong dislike for him or her that you wonder why you're in the relationship at all.

Your loving, tender moments devolve into hurtful words and regrettable behaviors.

What Is A Love-Hate Relationship?

When you're in a love-hate relationship, you definitely have strong thoughts and emotions that sway from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other.

A love-hate relationship can be confusing and frustrating, and it can occur in any relationship — with a sibling, friend, or lover.

But in this post, we're referring to a romantic connection

Because a relationship can be an emotional rollercoaster in the best circumstances, some couples don't see these turbulent ups and downs as anything unusual or unhealthy.

They think everything is normal, even though they might feel constantly on edge or insecure about the future of the relationship.

However, this emotional dissonance also can be exciting and passionate. Reuniting with your lover after a period of hate and discord can be thrilling and powerful.

But is this drama the basis for a healthy, happy long-term connection?

Is A Love-Hate Relationship Healthy?

The line between love and hate can get blurry when emotional chaos reigns in your relationship. Swinging from one extreme to another grows tiresome and is slowly destructive to your mental health.

Over time, you develop patterns in the relationship that are emotionally abusive and destroy the joy and intimacy you once shared.

What Is An Example of a Love-Hate Relationship?

You've read about those celebrity couples who break up and make up more times than you can count.

One week they are all over each other, declaring undying love, and the next, they are tweeting about what a jerk the other person is.

angry couple, love hate relationship

Who knows what goes on behind closed doors, but you can only imagine the yelling and screaming followed by mind-blowing make-up sex. They seem to enjoy the intensity and drama. Until they don't.

Does any of this seem familiar to you? If so, you must pay attention before the rollercoaster skids off the tracks.

13 Signs of a Love-Hate Relationship

If you're in this relationship dynamic, it will be hard to extricate yourself. You love this person passionately, and even though they anger you frequently, you don't think you can break away.

We hope you'll use this information as a wake-up call that you and your partner need couple's therapy to find a better way to interact. These signs should tell you for sure.

1. Break-up and make-up relationship cycle.

When you argue with your significant other, you argue hard.

There are often threats of breaking up when you fight and calling it quits. In these moments, you truly can't stand your this person.

However, hours later you are back to hugging and loving each other, promising that you are committed.

You are able to make up quickly and forget about the heated argument that you had.

Unfortunately, this make-up session is as temporary as your fight. The cycle of arguing and making up repeats over and over.

2. Your partner is your prize.

While you do value your relationship, there are definitely certain parts of your lover that you just can't stand.

You may consider leaving, but you also know that you have put way too much of your energy and effort into this relationship to walk away from it.

You view maintaining the relationship as more of an accomplishment or ego boost. The relationship serves some other purpose for you.

The longer you stay in it, the greater chance you have of winning the “prize” of your boyfriend or girlfriend either committing to you permanently or submitting to your needs and desires.

3. No long-term purpose for your relationship.

You are sticking with this relationship just to be in it.

Perhaps you are desperate to have a relationship because you have been single for so long.

You are willing to put up with things you hate in this person just to be in a relationship.

No matter how much you dislike this person on occasion, it's worth it to you to stay in the relationship to have a companion readily available to you.

Sure, you know in your heart of hearts that the relationship is not likely to have a future, but you keep telling yourself it's okay because it's filling a void in your life.

For now, dealing with your lover is easier than handling the emptiness of not having one.

4. You don't have a deep connection.

You love some parts of this person and you hate others.

While these are two very strong emotions, there is not a true bond of intimacy between the two of you.

Maybe you love the superficial things, like his flashy car or her amazing body.

You may feel like you are in love with these surface traits, but you don't really have a deep and lasting connection with your boyfriend or girlfriend, which leads to feelings of disconnection and constant fighting.

5. You act different in public.

To the outside world, you probably seem like the ideal couple.

You make other couples jealous with your picture-perfect relationship. You come across as a match made in heaven.

However, there is a nagging truth you know that you're hiding from other people. You know on the inside that it's all a farce, and you periodically want to get out of the relationship.

Other people don't suspect that you end up in separate rooms once you get home and hardly interact with each other.

You know your lover is a different person on the inside than he or she shows to the public, and you are the only one to see this side.

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6. You have unresolved issues.

You have frequent conflicts — some big, some small, and some even irrelevant. But the bigger issue is that these conflicts have never been resolved.

couple sitting, love hate relationship

Maybe you never talk about the conflict, or you just sweep it under the rug and move on to the intense make-up period.

The problem occurs when these unresolved conflicts bubble to the surface after being bottled up for far too long.

Having unresolved conflicts can cause damage to any relationship, but a love-hate relationship, you don't have the emotional resources to eventually address them and connect on an even deeper level.

Leaving conflicts unresolved adds to your misery and confusion in the relationship. As they simmer beneath the surface, they spoil anything that is remotely peaceful or loving in the relationship.

7. You hate things about him or her.

While you do love some things about your flame, there are other things you just can't stand.

Whenever you want to recommit to your love for him or her, you have this nagging inner voice reminding you that there's a serious disconnect.

Maybe you have talked to your lover about these areas you dislike, but nothing seems to change.

He or she either passively or overtly continues with the same behaviors or choices.

As you eventually realize this person will never change, you feel increasingly frustrated and hopeless.

8. You talk behind your lover's back.

You have so much resentment toward this person that you are constantly talking about it with other people.

You need to share your frustrations and feelings with your friends for support and validation.

Maybe they see something you can't see. Maybe there's a trick to this relationship thing that you're missing. Maybe they know how you can jump off this crazy emotional treadmill.

You and your partner can't communicate openly about the problem. It's impossible for you to open up to him or her and talk through the issues you have without it devolving into all-out warfare.

Your only option is to release your anxieties by talking to others, even though you know it might hurt or anger him or her.

9. You keep your options open.

Is there a thought in the back of your head that if you can find a replacement, you're out?

Once you find someone who doesn't have those disagreeable qualities you hate in your partner, you plan to jump ship.

If you see your partner as being easily replaceable, you're not in the relationship for the right reasons. The thrill of reuniting after intense arguments is beginning to wane, and now you are left with the messy truth.

In fact, you may begin to focus more and more on the qualities you hate in your partner in order to compel yourself to leave — or to push your partner out the door.

10. You get off on the drama.

One or both of you perversely enjoys the over-the-top fights, the door-slamming, and yelling.

There's something so satisfying about telling your partner exactly what you think without filters — at least at the moment. You let it all hang out there, regardless of how hurtful your words are.

Both of you tend to go for the jugular and smile with bloody teeth when you hit just the right tender spot. You've pushed every possible button and feel exhausted.

11. You feel bad about yourself (and your partner) later.

After these intense arguments or passive digs, you feel like crap. You know you hit below the belt, and so did your partner.

You wish you could go back and erase the entire event because you know each one erodes the closeness and happiness you have together.

The worse you feel about yourself, the more you want to blame your partner. After all, they participated in the mud-slinging too. It's a no-win situation that chips away at love, respect, and intimacy.

12. Sex is your ticket back on the love train.

Rather than address the issues between you and the pain you've caused each other, you hop into bed for some intense make-up sex.

All your emotions tend to come out during sex — love, hate, anger, pain, and sadness. Weirdly, that makes the sex pretty great. It's the best either of you can do to communicate how much you want things to work despite your conflicted feelings.

After sex, you move on as though nothing has happened — until the next big blow-up.

13. You have a sense of relief when it's over.

Maybe you've been in a love-hate relationship in the past, and once it ended, you felt enormous relief.

At one point in the relationship, the thought of it being over would have devastated you — even when you had those extreme ups and downs.

The highs were so fierce that you were almost addicted to them.

But as weeks and months passed, the highs diminished. The reunions were tinged with bitterness and regret. The lack of a real, intimate connection left you both feeling depleted and empty.

In the end, it all just fizzled out.

How to Manage a Love-Hate Relationship

You may be in love and believe your relationship is perfectly normal even with all of the crazy.

But if you recognize these love-hate dynamics, it's time to be honest with yourself and acknowledge this isn't a healthy kind of love.

This type of relationship may seem wildly exciting and intensely real at first. But it's not the kind of relationship that's sustainable.

Here are some thoughts on managing a love-hate connection:

  • Once you know the signs of a love-hate relationship, try to get out of it early if you see them occurring. Protect yourself from future pain.
  • Insist on couple's therapy if you are already deep into the relationship. A good therapist can teach you new ways to interact that are healthier and help you resolve existing issues between you.
  • Have a safe word if you see things beginning to devolve into an argument. It means you must stop talking/arguing and calm down before resuming the conversation.
  • Recognize it takes five positive interactions to counteract one negative one. If you and your partner have far more negative interactions, it may be time to move on.
  • Ask yourself what you deserve and want in an intimate relationship. If you're not getting these things from your current partner, and they won't work on changing, move on and find someone else.

Don't wait around, hoping for change or thinking the wild ride is worth the pain. It isn't.

In the end, it will cause you heartache and grief, especially if you find yourself repeatedly attracted to this type of relationship.

Learn the qualities of happy, healthy relationships that stand the test of time and life challenges, and only invite potential love interests into your life who meet those standards.

There's no guarantee that any relationship will last but staying away from these types of connections will put the odds more in your favor.

9 thoughts on “13 Signs You’re In A Love-Hate Relationship”

  1. This is completely my story. I’ve been with my wife for thirteen years now, married almost twelve. I do love my wife, but yes, there are many occasions which I hate her. I’ve left her on a couple of occasions before we had kids. After eight years of seeing how she does the same thing to our kids as she does with me, I simply came to a breaking point. I left with the intention of never coming back. I knew it would be extremely hard on the kids, but I was going to focus on healing myself and then my children could see the real me. Long story short, I’m back with my wife and still experience the emotional death spiral.

    • Dear Shawn, I just stumbled upon this website and I can say that this also describes my relationship with my wife. But you know what? I’ve come to realize that I tend to criticize my wife for her flaws but she never does for mine. And I know I have flaws. Many of them. And I’m sure you do too. Everyone has them. My wife told me once that she just loves me more than I do and she’s ready to accept me and that stuck with me. And now, I know that the problem is me. I have to learn to control the negative attitude, learn to be like her. She became my model. No one is perfect. Real love and successful mariage is about learning to accept a person the way he or she is. That’s how I’m getting out of the spiral.

  2. Leave for your own well being, health and spirit. This will be a slow death. Life is short and you deserve to be happy. Your kids deserve to see you happy. It was the best decision I ever made.
    It’s better to be alone than in bad company.

  3. I been in this relationship for 14 years . been married for a year and 2 months. I have a son witch he calls him dad. He jas mo othwr kids.We fight all the time and its really sickning. He complains all the time. We have terrible communication skills. I feel like when we’re mad we don’t talk at the moment we wait days and then we fight about other things that we been holding it and it just gets worse. he puts me down constantly. I just don’t know what to do anymore. Plus its hard with my son.I love him but but not sure what to do anymore.any ideas ??

    • Jessica,

      I can identify with your situation. I was married 14 years and towards the end we fought all the time. Of course there were some real issues that were going on to cause a lot of that fighting, but there’s nothing worse than waking up and resuming an argument that that happened the night before. It’s draining mentally, emotionally, and physically. It affected my job performance and literally sucked all the happiness right out of me. I’m not sure who starts the arguments most of the time in your guys’s situation, but I found a wonderful tool that helped me immensely in my post marital relationships. It’s called active listening, and it allowed me to realize how much I often started and then further fueled an argument because of my poor communication skills. Even if you don’t start the argument, active listening can diffuse one.

    • Eckhart Tolle’s book: “New Earth” talks about why we fight and have emotional drama in our lives. Our (false) sense of self (the EGO) depends on it AND it’s “existence” ( the EGO) depends on us not being aware of (or understanding) it is going on, or “going off”, so to speak. This is the very definition of “unconsciousness” and the reason we have knee jerk reactions. Thing is to observe ourselves doing this on a regular basis, and learning to, self observe, and be conscious in the now, and not bring all our past associations and reactions (baggage) into the present, and our relationships. To do this we need to learn not to “think” so much,.. our society is addicted to thinking, judging, etc. A monks brain waves are VERY different from ours, …. instead of a storm of thinking,.. they have a smooth “beingness” of mind,…allowing observation and presence. Once practiced/learned,.. we see that this quiet minded “Presence” is our very nature. It is of course a lifes practice. Thus when we know & experience this (our true selves ) we will be inner based and not based on the “external” world of “form” , where the EGO is based. We are then FREE, and can accept/love people for who THEY really are. (Also not forms.) We see others dysfunctional behaviors as attempts to fill a false sense of self, (THEIR ego) since we can observe & accept it in ourselves. This,… not reacting is true freedom and allows true presence, and freeing our natural joy to flow through us. Namaste. Signed: Grass hopper. 😉

    • Hi, eatan, very interesting comment of yours, and true in my opinion. I also believe in living in the moment, and letting people ‘be’, with no judgement -just love and acceptance, also not ‘reacting ‘to situations and giving them ‘power ‘. Our reaction is paramount in a situation; we can inflame a situation by arguing back, or simply have calmness within and be calm and therefore at the same time, not giving rise to negative behaviours and emotions. Peace and love conquer ALL and we must spread this,as well as self awareness and insight. Namaste my friend. Emmaline .x

  4. Wow, so many of these signs are relative.

    We all have flaws. Kudo’s to my wife for putting up with me for all of these years.

    Seems like my relationship with my wife is stronger than ever after 28 years.
    Sometimes it takes that ling to actually figure each other out.

    Great post.

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