Love is a deep, intense feeling. Being in love is stronger than liking someone, so it is associated with wanting to be with them. The main difference between love and like is that the latter is connected to the way you feel about a person’s behavior.
That is precisely why it’s possible to love someone but not like them. In fact, this is a very common experience. You may love someone, but if you have an issue with their behavior, it may be very difficult for you to like them.
How can you not like someone you love?
The issue with that is that, contrary to popular belief, love doesn’t always conquer all. If you don’t like the person you’re in love with because the things they do are hurtful or deeply annoying, the relationship will slowly but surely disintegrate.
Teaching an old dog new tricks is nearly impossible and we can’t force people to change. So, if you can’t live with the parts of your partner you don’t like, it will eventually become an insurmountable problem in the relationship. That leads to the question: is there something that can be done? Yes, there is!
Here’s what to do about it:
1- It won’t go away on its own:
The very first thing you need to understand is that the issue won’t go away on its own. It’s perfectly possible to love someone you don’t like. If you have siblings, you know that’s true. We don’t always like our siblings or get along with them, but we love them all the same.
That can also happen with a partner, but the difference is you don’t have to stay with them if you feel like you can’t handle it anymore. Keep in mind you don’t choose who your parents or siblings are but you definitely get to pick your partner.
So, the last thing you want to do is act as if the issue will fix itself. It won’t, so talk to your partner. Otherwise, this unspoken thing will make you both miserable.
2- Talk it out:
Telling your partner you don’t really like them can be a difficult conversation. However, you must do it if you want to give the relationship a chance. Being gentle is the best way to go about it. You don’t want to hurt their feelings, you just want to be honest.
We recommend you prepare it carefully in your head and choose the right words and the right moment to talk. It’s better to name the things that they do and that you don’t like rather than just say you don’t like a thing about them.
You should both be in a good headspace so you can be open. You never know, perhaps they have the same issue and just haven’t been able to tell you. Either way, you’ll have a productive conversation if you approach the issue with tact.
3- Prepare for their reaction:
There are many different ways your partner can react to this information and it’s important to be ready for it. You can get an idea based on what you already know about them as a person. In the best case scenario, they will be hurt but open and down for a conversation and exploring possible solutions.
In the worst-case scenario, they will get angry and try to hurt you. If you believe that your partner may react this way, have the conversation in a public place so you can easily leave and get to safety.
You can check our article about how some people need constant reassurance when in relationships, and be careful as being brutal about this or making it the direct reason for a breakup can damage your partner in that way forever. They may become insecure and need a lot of reassurance from their future partners in future relationships, that’s why you have to be kind about it and choose your words carefully.
It’s also possible for your partner to get too emotional, to the point where you fear for their safety. In that case, reach out to someone in their support system to be there for them. And, make sure that they understand that you’re not asking for a break-up, or at least not yet. This way, they don’t overreact and cause a big scene.
4- Talk to a professional:
If you feel like this is not something you can handle on your own, you can talk to a relationship therapist or counselor to discuss what you’re feeling and thinking. They will help you determine the best way to approach this and make sense of what you want.
Additionally, you could go to couple’s therapy together, if you’re both open to it and give the relationship one last chance. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, at least you did everything in your power and you’ll both have the healthy closure you deserve.
When you love someone but don’t like them, there are at least two things you can do. One, you can come clean about it and try to figure it out together. Two, you can learn to accept the things you don’t like about your partner because you don’t want to lose them.
The problem with the second option is that it’s not always sustainable. Can you really do that forever? And, more importantly, should you? Loving someone but not liking them doesn’t always work out in the end.
However, it’s important to remember that some things aren’t always meant to be. Maybe this love was precious while it lasted and it taught you a lot about yourself and what you want, but you weren’t the right person for each other. At least not for the long-term, and that’s okay.
Every experience has value and it prepares you for the next one. If you were really meant to be but you happened to find each other at the wrong time, you will find each other again in the future. If not, you will be free to find someone who you find more happiness with.