Love-Hate Relationships Are Fertile Ground For Learning & Growing

Bill Cottringer

“You know you are in deep trouble when you learn to either love to hate a person or hate to love them.” ~The author.

In looking back over the many relationships I have had at work and domestic situations, I think the most difficult ones involved some degree of love-hate feelings. These types of relationships are very difficult to grow through or even survive because of all the unhealthy expressions of contempt that inevitably erupt. Once too much contempt is openly expressed, especially in public, the point of no return in such a relationship has come and gone before it was noticed. Short of divine intervention or other “miracle,” these relationships are doomed.

Despite the doom and gloom of love-hate relationships, there really is much to learn from them that can spur tremendous growth in personal development, once you detach from the addictive feelings or get sound third party intervention. If you are in a love-hate relationship now and want to understand what may be going on that might still be correctable, or have gotten out of such a relationship and want to understand what went wrong, here are some penetrating questions you can ask to get some valuable insights:

1. What attracted you to the other person to want to be in a relationship at the beginning, or were you just thrown together by fate or circumstances without any conscious control?

2. Where you aware of the things that you love and hate about the other person at the beginning, or did you get involved before you really knew the person and they popped up later?

3. Why is it you hate certain things about the other person? What are they? Why exactly do they draw hate feelings out of you?

4. Are you sure you have good reason to feel such dislike about these things the other person does or represents, or is it possible that your information is slightly incorrect or incomplete? Are you perceiving the person accurately or are there some biases at work?

5. Do the things that the other person does make you hate them or is it more the fact that they can evoke both love and hate feelings in you?

6. Are you “keeping score” and do you feel worse and over-flavor your negative perceptions, expectations and interpretations, when you are losing?

7. What does the other person hate about you that may be legitimate and needing improvement?

8. Do you really understand the other person’s motivations for being who they are and doing what disturbs you most? Do you really understand your own motivations for the things you do and how you feel about the other person?

9. Are you really making your best effort to be as likeable and lovable as you can be yourself?

10. Are some things better thought and not said? Have you said too many wrong things?

11. What assumptions have you made about the other person, especially about the things that you hate about him or her?

12. How much are your expectations about what the other person should or shouldn’t do, getting in the way? Are your expectations fair? Are you meeting the other person’s expectations?

13. Are you possibly over-focusing on the differences you have with this other person or the things that bother you most, while under-focusing on what you have in common and what you love?

14. What can the other person teach you that could help you grow and be happier and more successful? What is the relationship itself trying to tell you? What are you not listening to or what are you outright denying?

15. Have you been honest and truthful enough in acknowledging what you love about the other person to encourage and increase good feelings?

16. If the love-hate relationship seems to have already gone past the point of no return, why are you hanging on so tightly? What are you afraid of?

17. What is most likely to happen if you either let go of your wants and expectations, or let go altogether?

18. What is going to happen if you keep going in the direction you are headed? If that direction is good, what do you need to continue doing to get ahead; if it is a bad direction, what do you have to do to avoid continuing in that wrong direction?

19. What is the basic purpose of any relationship? Why do they happen?

20. What are the most frequent thoughts you tell yourself about the relationship that keep it from being successful?

Asking and answering any of these twenty questions is sure to provide insights to making things better for you.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA and also a business and personal success coach, sport psychologist, photographer and writer living in the mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, The Prosperity Zone, Getting More By Doing Less, You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too, The Bow-Wow Secrets, Do What Matters Most, “P” Point Management, Reality Repair, and Reality Repair Rx coming shortly. He can be contacted with comments or questions at 425 454-5011 or