Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What's the opposite of love?

It's great that boyfriend T and ex-boyfriend S get along with each other. Although ex-boyfriend S and me stopped being boyfriends a couple of years ago, I'm still very fond of him, so it's good that he can be included in the circle of friends that me and boyfriend T are slowly building. However, a few days ago, the subject of my other ex-boyfriend came up.

"So when do I get to meet ex-boyfriend P," asks boyfriend T while we're having dinner at home one evening, "I'm ready :-)."

"I don't know," I answer, with a disgruntled tone in my voice, "I broke off all contact with him when we split up. If I ever see him again it'll be too soon :-(!"

"Hmmm," replies boyfriend T, "so you still have feelings for him!"

"What do you mean?" I snap back at him, "he seriously misled me, and although I don't actually hate him, any feelings I have for him are very negative."

"But you obviously still think about him sometimes."

I'm still thinking about the fact that ex-boyfriend P sometimes does come into my thoughts when boyfriend T has a question for me.

"Anyway," continues boyfriend T, "what do you think the opposite of Love is?"

"Hate, of course, why?"

"No it's not," answers boyfriend T sagely, "the opposite of Love is Ignore. Even if you hate someone, then they're still in though your thoughts, so there's something that they can probably do to alter your perception of them. However if you don't even think about them, then that's the furthest possible distance from Love. Love can turn to Hate quickly and vice versa, so if you think about it, you'll realise that they're quiet close!"

It's an interesting idea which had never occurred to me before, so later I do a bit of research on the internet. It turns out that boyfriend T isn't the only person who thinks that way, because I find the following quote from the American psychologist Rollo May:
Hate is not the opposite of love; apathy is.
Although I remain unconvinced, I can't help wondering whether any readers have any thoughts on this subject?


Phunk Factor said...

IMO apathy/indifference is the opposite of love!! In those states, you simply don't care...this never really occured to me TILL it actually happened!

So yea...i guess T is on the right path by suggesting that!

the immigayrant said...


I heard the phrase from Desperate Housewives. From a conversation between Bree Van De Kamp and her gay son, Andrew.

"The opposite of love isn't hate. It's indifference."

Anonymous said...

Surely (romantic) love and hatred are antonyms because they are inverse of each other. Apathy however is characterised by the absence of any sentiment and the logical inverse of that is passionate, which could either be love or hatred or something else.

Arguing that apathy means your perception is a unchangeable also does not make sense to me.

Your boyfriend needs to watch less Oprah and more National Geographic or something.

Anonymous said...

If I love someone, I do it for a good reason. The guy deserves to be loved.

At times, even the best relationships come to an end. More often than not, the endings are painful.

Yet, I have always chosen to firmly stay away from any hatred, indifference or even apathy. I grieve my loss for some time, and then move on. I still hold good memories of the things past and continue to wish all my Ex dudes all the best, regardless of how we parted, if we stayed in touch or not. Cultivating any kind of negativity towards my past is always counterproductive if not outwardly destructive. If he wronged me, I lived thru it and have become so much stronger for that. He on the other hand, will have to live with a serious shortcoming of his personality for all his life. No need for me to add anything to his heavy burden.


MY BIG ITCH said...

This is Steve, from I think hate is the opposite of love. reason being means is a positive feeling about how you feel about a person. Hate is a negative feeling about how you feel about a person. They are opposites and they are opposites of a single concept of how you feel about someone. The other words you speak about such as apathy might makes sense but has nothing to do with the opposite aspect of Love and how you feel about someone. By the way. I think you are apathetic about not adding yourself as a follower to my new blog which Ive invited you to see for quite some time. I wish you would, Don't be apathetic :-)

Anonymous said...

While I don't think hate is the opposite of love, it is the most negative feeling one can have.

But then one must think, what is the opposite of hate? I oddly automatically think love, and I certainly think that it isnt apathy....

Anonymous said...


um... Did I miss the point?

Anonymous said...

Oh GB!

For sure, hate is another form of intimacy. Its like flipping coins.

Sebastian Fox said...

I wonder if it's easy to hate someone you've loved because seeing them / thinking about them gives you a physiological reaction - raised heart rate, rushes of chemicals, etc.

In that situation, you have a choice: either accept some part of you will always have an emotional response to that person, or call it hate.

It's Eros and Thanatos, innit. Like Marmite.

Mind Of Mine said...

On one side, I can agree that the opposite of love is apathy. Which is going from one extreme to another.

But then in a literal sense the opposite of love is like the opposite of Optimism, hate is like negativity.


Anonymous said...

I guess there are more than one theory for that...once I read this book about relationships and it says the opposite of love is fear, cus everything you end up doing in your life when you lack of selfsteem is to over protect yourself from being hurt, rejected, humiliated...this put in simple words.
I'll keep following your blog from Brazil, I got mine too but in my own language, of course!