A love/hate relationship is a common idea but when you stop to consider it, it seems like a contradiction in terms.
Is it really possible to love and hate the same person at the same time?
Surely if you feel so negatively about a person that you can actually bring yourself to say, “I hate you,” you couldn’t possibly also love them … or could you?
While it seems so implausible, it is actually quite possible
Yes, love and hate are both very powerful emotions but they are not, as many assume, on opposite sides of the spectrum. If they were, then when both occur simultaneously, they would simply cancel each other out.
Instead, they both have a tendency to stick with us, sounding together, yet inharmoniously, striking a dissonant chord.
The actual opposite of love is apathy, not hate
It’s this seeming contradiction that makes people believe that they can’t be levelled at one person at the same time.
The truth is that the actual opposite of love is not hate, but rather apathy or disinterest. These polar opposites mean you either love someone or you don’t care about them at all.
Take this a step further, then, and consider that hate, much like love, is a powerful emotion. Therefore, how could you possibly muster enough emotion actually to hate someone if you didn’t care about them in the first place?
Usually, you hate someone when they have done something to hurt you badly, but their actions wouldn’t really hurt if you didn’t care about them.
The entire reason that you are hurt is because you expect better from the person in question. You want them to return your feelings and treat you as well as you do them. When they fail to do so, you become hurt and angry and this can devolve into hatred.
But even as you feel this strong hatred, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have stopped loving them. In fact, if you stopped loving them, you wouldn’t feel anything at all.
It's because of your strong emotional ties to someone that you can hate them
Think about it this way: if someone you love took drugs, you might hate them for engaging in such risky behaviour, but if you saw a perfect stranger on the street doing drugs you might register disapproval, but you wouldn’t actually say you hate them.
Why is that? Because, being a stranger, they have no emotional connection to you so there is no reason for them to spark an emotional response.
As human beings we have a wide range of emotions and in most cases they are closely linked to one another. Anything which sparks one can’t help but also stir the others. The more deeply you love someone, the more likely you are to have other deep, passionate feelings towards them.
Love and hate, far from opposing each other, actually tend to work hand in hand. So if you find yourself saying, “I love you, but I hate you,” you are not alone, nor are you wrong.
When you open the door to one emotion, you are opening it to all the others as well. The melody may not always sound very pleasant when the emotions sound together, but that’s all part of the complex nature of being human!