It might be difficult to realize that you have vindictive and malicious feelings toward your partner, the one you’re supposed to love the most. Hatred isn’t the dark side, but denying its existence is. The answer to “How to save my relationship?” is: Be aware how the love/hate dilemma plays out in your marriage. It exists in all long-term relationships and is normal.
We are taught that hate and other negative emotions such as jealousy, anger, and resentment aren’t something we should feel, yet we do. Actually, people who can’t acknowledge that they feel negative emotions are often the ones who perpetuate them the most. How can you reconcile this paradoxical tension of simultaneously hating and loving your partner and learn how to save a relationship when you have these conflicting feelings?
Managing an emotion isn’t possible if there’s no admission that it even exists. Passive-aggressives often find it difficult to detect their behavior since it is covert. For example: Maybe you’ve witnessed or have been the one to commit acts of tardiness. What does it mean to leave your partner waiting for you, time after time? If you believe in the Golden Rule— “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”—could you really call that love? Or, do you fake orgasms ostensibly to make your partner feel better? Or do you have an orgasm and hide the fact that you do?
You don’t always want the best for others (unless you can have it, too) and that includes your partner. This realization is painful, yet it’s what manifests in the lives of all couples. No one does everything in the name of love.
You won’t find the answer to how to save your relationship unless you can acknowledge that love and hate co-exist.
Fold a piece of paper in half lengthwise. On the top of the left side write down I LOVE. On the right side, write I HATE. Write down what you love and hate about yourself. Since you love and hate yourself, wouldn’t it be natural that you’d feel love and hate for your partner? This exercise will help you connect to this uncomfortable yet normal love/hate feeling.
Feeling love and hate simultaneously doesn’t make you a bad person. Usually all I have to do is admit that I feel that way and the feeling dissipates. It’s when I deny this human feeling about my husband that it begins to eat me up.
Cathy Thorne’s marriage cartoon beautifully depicts the crazy-making thoughts of love and hate. What would you add?