Have you ever had the thought “my spouse hates me?”
Sometimes you assume they do by their behavior. Sometimes they’ve actually said those words. I hate you. Well, if that’s the case, is there anything that you can do? Can that hate be changed to something else? Can you change the way your spouse looks at the relationship? Here’s what to do when you think “my spouse hates me.”
Love And Hate Have The Same Roots
Hate is not the opposite of love. The opposite of love is indifference. As a matter of fact, hate and love parallel each other because they have the same three roots. That is the reason why a person can feel that they love and hate a person at the same time.
Dr. Robert Sternberg defined the three parts that make up love as passion, intimacy, and commitment.
Intimacy doesn’t always mean in the bedroom; it deals with openness, transparency, and vulnerability in all parts of your life. Being able to open up about your life with your spouse develops trust and a strong emotional bond because you feel understood.
Passion can often be associated with the intense emotions you feel toward a person at the beginning of a relationship. Still, it can also be the desire to share your life with your partner.
And lastly, commitment is the decision we make to do what it takes to keep the marriage alive and healthy.
While these feelings are most associated with positive emotions, they can also become negative feelings that lead to hate. For example, you might have once been very intimate with your spouse, sharing everything that happened in your day. But now work, kids, and many other things may interfere and prevent the close bond you once shared. The same goes for passion and commitment.
The Many Kinds Of Hate
Hate can come in many forms, ranging from cold hate to hot hate. Most people correlate hate to being a passionate, burning loathing for a person, or what we’d call hot hate. But cold hate exists as well. When cold hate exists, you have more of a desire to avoid the person altogether, to not interact with them all, to think of each other “my spouse hates me.” But how does hate develop between two people who were in love?
Hate comes from the interactions that a husband and wife have with each other. These experiences may be perceived differently for each spouse, though. For example, a husband having a short temper and yelling at his wife because he’s had a hard day at work might not affect the husband, but the wife is building a negative experience in her mind. So, over time, those experiences together build-up to create the love or hate that we feel. As the relationship continues, if those negative experiences grow to replace the positive ones in your spouse’s mind, then hate can grow.
Those stories and memories your spouse has of you are from your actions to some extent. But, the perceived reality isn’t always the truth. Your spouse may over exaggerate the negative stories as they start to lose their intimacy, passion, and commitment with you. They will begin to forget the positive stories to justify whatever thoughts or actions they might be planning. Is there a way to turn those negative stories into more positive ones and move hate back to love?
Building Back Love Involves Intimacy, Passion, And Commitment
As our relationships grow and our lives get busier, it’s unquestionably harder to keep up the same intimacy and passion levels you had initially. That doesn’t mean that hate always develops or that you grow apart. When you get to the point where you don’t want intimacy anymore, you’re creating hate. And you can’t answer the question of what to do when “my spouse hates me” without understanding why the hate exists.
There could be different reasons for that, such as having an affair. Once you’re developing an intimate relationship with someone else, you don’t want the intimacy you once had with your spouse. In fact, any advances from your spouse may make you angry because you then see them as an obstacle between you and your new love interest. There are often feelings of guilt as well, which leads them to distance themselves further to justify the bad story they’ve written of you in their head.
The first key to building back the intimacy, passion, and commitment you’re missing is not to do anything desperate. Whining, begging, pleading, or seeking out acts of vengeance against your spouse will only continue to justify the thoughts of you in their head and drive them further away. Instead, become a safe place for your spouse by genuinely offering intimacy by listening and accepting. While initially, the response to this might be even more negative, in the long run, these actions are what will begin to change the story of you in their mind back to being positive.
Marriage Helper Has Tools That Can Help
Often, hate developing in a relationship is not about them hating you for what you’ve done, but about them hating themselves for what they are doing. You can’t make your spouse change their feelings, nor should you try. But understand that you can very much influence those feelings by what you do to help rewrite those positive stories in your spouse’s head with time and consistency.
At Marriage Helper, we have a wide range of tools to help you through this process and to know what to do when you may think “my spouse hates me.” We believe that one of the most effective things you can do is have your spouse agree to come to one of our intensive workshops. However, we understand that might not always be possible, so we’ve designed solo workshops for those instances that will teach you how to save your marriage.
Click on the Courses & Coaching tab at the top, and you’ll find courses such as the Why Does My Spouse Hate Me Toolkit. This toolkit takes the initial research done by Dr. Robert Sternberg and extrapolates it to fit your marriage. We can also help you understand the different kinds of hate and how you may or may not have contributed to it.
Contact us today to learn how to save your marriage through intimacy, passion, and commitment.