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Love–hate relationship

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Title: Love–hate relationship  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Cognitive dissonance, Gene Hunt, Love the Way You Lie, List of Oggy and the Cockroaches characters, Love Hate
Collection: Cognitive Dissonance, Dichotomies, Emotional Issues, Figures of Speech, Hatred, Interpersonal Relationships, Love
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Love–hate relationship

A love–hate relationship is an interpersonal relationship involving simultaneous or alternating emotions of love and hate—something particularly common when emotions are intense.[1]

The term is used frequently in psychology, popular writing, and journalism. It can be applied to relationships with inanimate objects, or even concepts,[2][3] as well as those of a romantic nature or between siblings and parents/children.[4]


  • Psychological roots 1
  • Celebrities 2
  • Development 3
  • Friendship 4
  • Culture 5
  • En dash 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9

Psychological roots

A love–hate relationship has been linked to the occurrence of emotional ambivalence in early childhood;[5] to conflicting responses by different ego states within the same person;[6] or to the inevitable co-existence of egoistic conflicts with the object of love.[7]

Narcissists have been seen as particularly prone to aggressive reactions towards love objects,[8] not least when issues of self-identity are involved:[9] in extreme instances, hate at the very existence of the other may be the only emotion felt, until love breaks through behind it.[10]

Research from Yale University suggests love–hate relationships may be the result of poor self-esteem.[11]


The term is sometimes employed by writers to refer to relationships between celebrity couples who have been divorced, then who reunite (notably Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, or Eminem and Kimberly Scott), as well as to their relationship with fame itself.[12]


A love–hate relationship may develop when people have completely lost the intimacy within a loving relationship, yet still retain some passion for, or perhaps some commitment to, each other, before degenerating into a hate–love relationship leading to divorce.[13]


Tony Blair and Gordon Brown's political friendship took on at times all the characteristics of a love–hate relationship, if one between friends and allies.[14] Sigmund Freud said of himself that “an intimate friend and a hated enemy have always been indispensable to my emotional life...not infrequently…friend and enemy have coincided in the same person”.[15]

Aristotle warned of the conflicts that can arise from conflicting claims within friendships.[16]


  • The Japanese word "tsundere" comes from two words- tsuntsun (aloof, irritable, cold) and deredere (lovestruck). A tsundere character is one who frequently switches between insulting their love interest and acting lovestruck or kind toward them. Tsundere characters usually belittle their love interest at first but eventually become kinder to them over time. Although the tsundere theme is prevalent in anime and manga, other forms of media typically contain tsunderes, including Harry Potter, where Hermione Granger constantly belittles Ron although she loves him.
  • Catullus introduced the love–hate theme into Western culture with his famous lines: “I hate and yet love. You may wonder how I manage it. I don't know, but feel it happen, and am in torment”.[17]
  • The concept of a love–hate relationship is frequently used in teen romance novels where two characters are shown to "hate" each other, but show some sort of affection or attraction towards each other at certain points of the story.

En dash

The term love–hate relationship has been used in several books on writing as an example of the use of the en dash.[18][19]

See also


  1. ^ Eric Berne, A Layman's Guide to Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis (1976) p. 86
  2. ^ "A love-hate relationship". The Economist. 19 January 2008. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ M. A. Skura, Shakespeare the Actor (1993) pp. 286–7
  5. ^ Sigmund Freud, On Metapsychology (PFL 11) p. 137
  6. ^ Eric Berne, Sex in Human Loving (1970) p. 222
  7. ^ Freud, p. 137
  8. ^ Jacques Lacan, Écrits (1997) pp. 24–5
  9. ^ R. D. Laing, Self and Others (1969) p. 110
  10. ^ Neville Symington, Narcissism (2003) pp. 85–6
  11. ^
  12. ^ Skura, p. 193
  13. ^ A. Pam and J. Pearson, Splitting Up (1998) p. 24
  14. ^ Anthony Seldon, Blair Unbound (2007) p. 546 and 574
  15. ^ Quoted in Ernest Jones, The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud (1964) p. 37
  16. ^ Aristotle, Ethics (1976) p. 281-8
  17. ^ J. Boardman et al eds, The Oxford History of the Classical World (1991) p. 489
  18. ^ Lyn Dupré (1998). BUGS in writing: a guide to debugging your prose (2nd ed.). Addison-Wesley. p. 221.  
  19. ^ Bryan A. Garner (2001). Legal writing in plain English: a text with exercises. University of Chicago Press. p. 155.  

Further reading

  • John Gottman, Why Marriages Succeed and Fail (1994)
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