Have you ever heard someone say they love their partner dearly but they don’t like them? How could you love a person and not like them? Don’t do the two go hand-in-hand? The answer is no.

So, how do we tell the difference? Let’s first look at the key difference between love and like. Generally speaking, “love” is a much stronger emotion than “like.” So, if you’re in a romantic relationship with someone whom you cannot imagine not sharing your life with, it would be safe to say that you love them. On the other hand, if you find them pleasant and just enjoy their company but you don’t necessarily feel like they will be your life partner, chances are things are still at the “like” stage.

But relationships are complicated. We have a partner and we may love them—we can’t imagine our lives without them, we think we would do anything for them—but we don’t like certain things about them. We don’t like certain aspects of their behaviour or the things that they do. If this is you, don’t worry. Millions of couples around the world can relate to feeling this way.

Let’s take the example of Sandy, a wife, whose story is this: “I love my husband. He’s my best friend. But lately I don’t like the way he’s behaving… it seems he’s changed….” James, a husband, says: “I would do anything in the world for my wife but lately she’s been doing some things that have me questioning the way I feel about her.” So what can we deduce from these examples? That the love that we feel for our other half is unconditional but that their actions or behaviour might cause us to dislike them.

Now that we have established that dislike for one’s significant other can be attributed to undesirable behaviours, here are some examples of such behaviours that can cause a person to dislike their partner:

●             Abuse: You may have a partner who is physically, psychologically or
               emotionally abusive.

●             Non-supportive: Having a partner who does not help, whether it be with
               chores around the house or emotional support, can cause great annoyance.

●             Unhealthy habits: A bad habit, such as excessive drinking, or gambling, can
               cause serious rifts in any relationship.

●             Not making an effort: People tend to grow overly comfortable when they
               are  in long-term relationships and that can manifest in losing interest in
               maintaining the attributes that brought them together in the first place, such
               as physical attractiveness.

We should strive to have our partners both love and like us. Make a start by doing things that are less annoying and by being loving, respectful and considerate.

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