My high school boyfriend and first love was a guy that I supposedly “hated” before we started dating. I’d come home from school and tell my mom all about the “annoying” things he’d done that day. “Ugh!” I remember exclaiming. “He totally thinks he’s smarter than me and he’s not!” (For 13-year-old Emma, that was definitely the biggest offense that a boy could commit.) I was obsessed with him the way that some young girls are obsessed with boys: he was simultaneously repellant and oh so fascinating. And while you’d think that would go away with age, the same way fear of cooties does, I’ve found myself following a similar pattern in my adult romantic relationship. Initially I was really not into men who I later came to love, deeply.
Maybe it’s because love and “hate” (and I mean “hate” more in the middle school “I hate you!” way than the actual, deep, destructive way) are both strong emotions. Maybe they live somewhere near each other in our brains and trigger some of the same neurons. Or maybe I’m just hella bad at reading my own emotions — who knows! Regardless, if you’re showing any of these six signs that you actually love someone you claim to “hate,” you may want to rethink what you think you’re feeling.
1. You Can’t Stop Talking About Them
If you find you’re starting a whole lot of stories with something like, “Ugh! You’re not going to believe what they did!” then chances are you’re secretly loving whatever it is that you claim to be hating. If this was a person you really aren’t into, why are you talking about them so much?
2. You Don’t Avoid Seeing Them
We avoid the people we don’t like, right? We go out of our way to avoid the annoying coworker or hit up a different coffee shop if the barista rubs us the wrong way. So if you find that you’re drawn to your “enemy” like a a border collie to sheep and you keep making up reasons to see them, then what you’re feeling probably isn’t hate.
3. You Think About Them More Than Anyone Else
You’ve got thoughts of them circling in your mind, 24/7. Even if those thoughts are about how annoying you think they are, if you’re spending a lot of time thinking about the person you “hate,” I’m gonna go out on a limb and say you don’t really hate them.
4. You’re Stalking The Sh*t Out Of Them On Social Media
You know you’re doing it. Stop trying to pretend you aren’t creeping on their Instagram beach shots like whoa.
5. You Get Unreasonably Annoyed With Them
The tiniest little things they do drive you mad. Even the way they sip their beer — ugh! What you’re saying is they’re driving you crazy with their littlest gesture… Sounds like love to me.
6. Your Heart Races When You Think About Them
Remember how I said sometimes love and hate feel an awful lot alike? Well, that heart racing could be either, boo. Think about it.
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