7 Signs You're Caught in a Love-Hate Relationship

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Heather K Adams
Heather K Adams733
Content + Copy Writer
Can you love someone and hate them at the same time? Yes! Stormy relationships are all about that push-me, pull-you element. Your entire relationship consists of nothing but burning highs and freezing lows. There's no even keel when it comes to this kind of relationship, and the potential for toxicity is high. Here's what you need to know, signs to watch for and what to do if you should find yourself caught up in a love-hate stale mate.

What is a love-hate relationship?

Love-hate relationships are emotionally intense, above all else. Romantic or platonic, you're pulled to be with this individual — and yet half the time (or more!) you end up in some kind of fight. You love being with her, but you hate the way she acts, or you hate the way you act when you're with her. You love him but hate the arguments you can't help but get drawn into. Whatever the specific details of your own personal love-hate situation, the hallmarks are always the same: intense love paired with a lot of anger and under that an intense desire for something to change. You feel powerless against your love and helpless under your hate.

6 signs to watch out for

.1. You're a classic on again, off again couple.

Some couples enjoy bickering, arguing and even all-out fighting. But most couples don't break up every three weeks. If you and you're significant other are in a constant state of either breaking up or making up, it's time to take a serious look at what this relationship is even doing for you — not to mention what it might be doing to you.

2. Even when you're "up," you're always watching for the next "down."

Your relationship is tempestuous. You love them so much and yet hate something about them with equal intensity. Even when you experience a period where things are going well, you know deep down that you're going to hit a wall again. You love but can't accept your partner and who they are. You always wish something was different. So the relationship is unstable, and you feel insecure, unable to relax into the good times. That's part of why you're either clinging and in "love" or pushing them away with the "hate."

3. You're almost always complaining about your significant other to friends.

No relationship is perfect, and we all need to bend a friend's ear and vent every once and a while. But if you carry so much anger or resentment toward your SO that you're almost always complaining, this is a sign that you know something isn't working and also that you can't bring yourself to either figure out how to fix it or just leave. You're caught in the love-hate cycle, unable to break free. All you can do is complain.

4. You honestly know this isn't a healthy situation.

When someone becomes a guilty pleasure, the relationship is on the verge of entering a danger zone. You know all the reasons you guys shouldn't be together, but somehow those very reasons become part of the thrill. You also may hate that you love them the way you do, and this hate can begin to erode your sense of confidence and self worth. Which will make leaving even harder to do.

5. Your friends start speaking up.

"You're going over there again?"
"You're giving him another chance?"
"Why do you stay with her if you fight so much?"
When the people who love you and are able to see your situation from a distance start pointing out red flags, the truth is hard to deny. And yet you may try your best to do just that. Denying that the relationship isn't working or is even becoming toxic isolates you from those loved ones who may be able to help. Isolation is dangerous and one of the risks of a love-hate relationship.

6. You can't stand them. You can't stop thinking about them.

There's a high degree of obsession inherent in most love-hate relationships. When you're in a love phase, all you can think about it how much you adore your SO. When you're in a hate phase, you're constantly thinking about how much they drive you crazy. Either way, they're on your mind almost all of the time, and that kind of preoccupation makes getting a healthy dose of perspective on what your relationship really is all the more difficult.

7. You're mostly just confused.

Unstable relationships always leave us wondering what exactly is going on here. A healthy, balanced relationship doesn't leave room for insecurity or a lack of confidence. With a love-hate relationship, you won't be able to decide if you want to be with this person forever or if you want them to contract some sort of rare deadly virus. Remember "frenemies?" Yeah, it's a lot like that. The lines blur, and that is straight-up confusing.

What to do about your love-hate relationship.

• Pay attention to when you're seeing things the most clearly. 

Is it when you're on again and drunk in love? Or when you're off and back to hating every single thing about them? Pay attention to which situation feels truest — when you can say, "This is what we really are, underneath." Your gut feeling is something to pay attention to, especially if you've fallen into the habit of questioning your instinct. Regain the confidence you need to either work this relationship into a healthier place or finally just cut your losses.

• Fight better. 

Are you always fighting outright, screaming and throwing shoes across the room? Or is it more a kind of constant bickering that drives you up the wall? Figuring out how you fight, what you fight about and what you're really trying to say isn't easy. It is, however, exactly what you need to do to resolve those issues.

• Get your SO off your brain for a little bit. 

Relationship OCD is a serious thing to find yourself dealing with. You fixate on your SO and the state or your relationship to the point that this may well become the only thing in your life that you feel is worth focusing on. Which makes it all the harder to leave a relationship when that relationship has reached a natural impasse. Distracting yourself with something you love to do can rebuild your confidence and remind you that you have a life worth living — one that doesn't necessarily need to involve this SO in any way.

• Cultivate healthier relationships. 

This doesn't mean you need to jump on Tinder and start chatting away — although that wouldn't necessarily hurt. After all, if you and your SO are in a hate/off-again phase, you're technically single. And, technically speaking, exposing yourself to other people who probably have healthier ways of interacting is just what you need to see this particular relationship clearly.

• Stop antagonizing your SO. 

If you find yourself guilty of picking fights just to get a rise out of your partner, always bringing up topics and issues that should perhaps rightly be put to bed, take a big old step back and ask yourself why. Why do you feel the need to get that reaction — and what does it say about the relationship if you really do need to poke them to get attention? Here's a hint: it doesn't say anything good.

• Have the big talks, with a mediator if necessary. 

Along with working to get a clearer picture of your situation and your feelings, communicating effectively is the best way to get clear about what's really going on. Is this love-hate situation new to your relationship, or has it been there from the start? You need to talk with each other, with help if needed, to figure out how to make this work and work better or if it's time to just call it quits.

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