What Is the Opposite of Love?
What is the opposite of love? Most people would automatically answer "hate." However, hate is NOT the opposite of love. Hate has powerful emotions attached to it. To hate someone means you have emotions attached to that person (albeit negative emotions). In reality, the opposite of love is indifference. Indifference is defined as the “lack of interest, concern, or sympathy.” To be indifferent to a person is truly the opposite of love. It is the absence of feelings for that person.
Understanding Hate vs. Indifference Helps Us Heal from Relationships
Why is this important to know? Understanding the difference between love, hate and indifference applies to people trying to heal from negative or toxic relationships. To stay in a place of hatred toward someone you have been in a relationship with is to stay connected to them emotionally. To truly heal, we often need to find peace within ourselves and let go of hatred toward that person. Letting go of hatred IS NOT the same as forgiving them. And it is not the same as condoning their behavior. It just means that you have decided to let go of holding on to anger and hatred toward them so that you can free yourself to detach. This is why the best way to detach from someone is to have absence of contact. Extended periods of distance allow for detachment and indifference. Whereas ongoing conflict actually fuels your feelings for that person.
What To Do If You Feel Indifferent to Your Partner
The other reason it is important to understand that indifference is the opposite of love is because sometimes people in long term relationships find themselves feeling indifferent to their partner. This is something that needs to be taken seriously. Feeling indifferent about certain issues (as in- you feel indifferent to the fact that your partner doesn't put the dishes away the way you like, or you feel indifferent to the little things that used to bug you) are normal and fine. However, if you notice that you are feeling indifferent to your partner and lack interest in sex or intimacy with them, then it is important to explore why. Often indifference comes from a gradual numbing of feelings over time. The biggest culprit of this numbing of feelings and indifference is harboring resentment. Researchers in the field of marriage have found multiple studies that show that resentment is one of the leading causes of divorce. And what is the antidote to resentment? Two things:
Communication is an antidote to resentment. Resentment is, essentially, the act of harboring feelings of irritation, anger, disappointment, etc. With healthy and frequent communication, resentment can be reduced and resolved. Realistic expectations are also an antidote to resentment. Having unrealistic expectations leads to disappointment. Sometimes our expectations of others are realistic and sometimes they are not. If you are experiencing chronic feelings of resentment, take a close look at your expectations and see if they need some adjusting.
Another Cure for Indifference in A Relationship
When we feel indifferent toward someone, we are less likely to engage in the physical intimacy that will build the bridge to connection and reduce the feelings of indifference. So, in a sense, the feelings of indifference can be reduced by increasing intimacy and physical connection, and yet when you feel indifferent toward someone, having sex or being intimate is often the last thing you want to do. Often having sex or being close and intimate is the cure to reconnecting. If things feel a little stale in the bedroom or you are feeling indifferent or uninterested, try finding ways to spice things up. You can use massage oils and give your partner a massage (and vice versa) or you can use something like Sweetums wipes to bring some play into the bedroom.