The helplessness and frustration of loving someone you hate (or who hates you) can ruin your life – unless you learn how to stop the relationship from overpowering you. A reader inspired me to write this article; she is feeling trapped and helpless in a love-hate relationship.
While you’re reading my tips on how to stop an unhealthy or bad relationship from ruining your life, keep these questions in the back of your mind: How is your love-hate relationship affecting your self-image? What is the “love” part of the relationship? What is the “hate” part of the relationship? How do those two feelings combine to turn this into a love-hate relationship? And finally…how will you stop this relationship from running your life?
I’ll sprinkle bits of my reader’s comment throughout this article, because it’s long and complicated. It’s also an almost perfect example of a “love-hate relationship” because she’s really struggling with helplessness, frustration, self-disgust, and confusion. I also changed her name and a few details, to protect her privacy.
5 Tips for Coping With a Love-Hate Relationship
“My boyfriend of 12 years says hateful things to me and it feels like a stab in my heart every time,” says Wendy on When Your Husband Says He Hates You. “He’s been an alcoholic and drug addict for 12 years. We have a 3 year old daughter together, and I have a 16 year old daughter and 19 year old son from another father. I’m always depressed and sad. I am stuck, I can’t leave him because I feel like I will die without him. I know how foolish it sounds. I have three amazing children and they see me choosing to live this way.”
Love is powerful — and hate isn’t the opposite of love, is it? Hate is another extremely powerful emotion that keeps us in bondage. That’s why it’s not easy to just stop a love-hate relationship from ruining your life…and it’s why it is crucial that you start learning how to break free right now!
1. Take care of your emotional health first
Before you start thinking about how to cope with this relationship, you need to get emotionally, spiritually, and physically strong. Unless you’re in an abusive relationship, regaining your emotional and spiritual health is the most important thing you can do right now!
You won’t be able to cope with a love-hate relationship if you feel depressed, sad, helpless, and alone. I can give you all the tips in the world — and you can read all the books on Amazon about love-hate relationships — but you won’t get far if you can’t get out of bed! I’ll share a few links to books and articles about getting emotionally healthy at the end of this article.
2. Name the emotions that are stealing your energy
Wendy said she’s struggling with depression and sadness. She also mentioned that she’s worried and anxious, and said she’s making herself crazy. Look how honest she is, how in tune with her own feelings! That’s an awesome first step towards getting emotionally healthy. If you can’t identify how you feel, then you’ll just keep trudging down the same old path. And that isn’t how to stop a love-hate relationship from ruining your life, is it?
So, what negative or debilitating emotions are you struggling with? Write them down. I encourage you to write in a private journal, but I welcome your thoughts below. You may find that the simple act of writing your feelings down will help you see the solution. At the very least, you’ll gain a little clarity and insight. When you figure out where your emotional weak spots are, then you’re one step closer to getting emotionally and spiritually healthy.
3. Get help
“I am so tired of living this way,” says Wendy. “I’m so scared to lose this idiot to another woman and I will be alone. I want to make it work out. I know I can’t change him.”
What really struck me is that she doesn’t want to lose her boyfriend to another woman, because she’s scared to be alone. So she’d rather be in a love-hate relationship with a guy who is ruining her life than risk being a single woman. I totally get it! It is really hard and frightening to be alone, especially if you’re raising children together, you’re worried nobody will ever love you, you don’t have the energy to uproot your life. There are understandable reasons couples stay in desperately unhappy love-hate relationships.
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If you’re scared, read How to End a Relationship When You Don’t Want to Be Alone.
And now it’s time to get help. One of my new favorite sayings is, “You can’t read the label when you’re inside the bottle.”
This means that when you’re struggling with your emotions – and when you’re coping with a love-hate relationship – you can’t see yourself objectively. You’re trapped, in handcuffs. This relationship is ruining your life because you’re not reaching out for support, not calling for help, not talking to the right people.
It was courageous of Wendy to share about her love-hate relationship on my blog, but she didn’t ask for help, advice, or support. It’s a little because she’s emotionally exhausted…but the main reason she isn’t asking for advice is because she knows she doesn’t need it!
Wendy knows what she needs to do to stop this love-hate relationship from ruining her life, but she chooses not to do it. And so do you.
4. Decide what your next step is
You don’t have to make a decision about this love-hate relationship. You already know you want to stop it before it ruins the rest of your life. You’ve decided to get emotionally and spiritually healthy. You’re prepared to start dealing with the things that are keeping you trapped.
“I pray to God, then get impatient and try my way,” says Wendy. “Of course that never works. I feel like I have a evil spell on me and can’t let go. I try so hard to make him happy and not cause any fights. I walk on eggshells in this relationship; everything I say and do is always wrong. It feels like I’m addicted to a drug and I know it’s bad for me. He is so jealous and always thinks I’m cheating on him. He never believes what I say, and always thinks I’m lying.”
Praying isn’t how Wendy will stop this love-hate relationship from ruining her life. She doesn’t need a miracle; she needs to get emotionally and spiritually healthy so she can make a good decision about her life. She need to stop being a slave to her emotions and fears, and start using her brains to make good choices for herself and her family.
What about you? What is one thing you can do to get healthy and strong now? This cope with this love-hate relationship in smart ways?
5. Learn what you need to let go of
In The Emotionally Healthy Woman: Eight Things You Have to Quit to Change Your Life, Geri Scazzero says that the journey to emotional health begins by quitting.
Geri quit being afraid of what others think. She quit lying. She quit denying her anger and sadness. She quit living someone else’s life. When you quit those things that are damaging to your soul or the souls of others, you are freed up to choose other ways of being and relating that are rooted in love and lead to life.
When you quit for the right reasons, at the right time, and in the right way, you’re on the path not only to emotional health, but also to the true purpose of your life.
And, if you quit the wrong things for the right reasons, you will learn how to stop a love-hate relationship from ruining your life.
May you find hope, healing, and help as you move forward in your life. May strength and courage be yours, and may you hear God’s still small voice leading you onward and upward.
Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.