I Don’t Hate You but I Don’t Love You

A Thin Line Between Love and Hate

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Dear Heartache,

There is this moment in a break up when we feel as if we are caught between two polar opposites. I don’t love you anymore but I don’t hate you, despite how many times I may have said this to you over the course of our long good-bye.

Love is a Choice brought an amazing comment from one of my readers that has me thinking and something he said really struck a chord with me because it’s true that there are so many things you ponder when you’re going through a break up and even after the break up is finalized and you’re just thinking back on the relationship and all the things that went wrong. This Hawkeye said that in his own pondering he has often wondered:

“Does someone who claims to love you really want you to feel pain?  If they are in pain I can imagine that the answer is yes.  To say I love you but I’m not in love with you is really to say that I can’t turn my love off, it is not a choice and I am going to find a way out from it…but there are the
moments every day where the heart break, the emptiness and the pain create a great weight on my shoulders.”.

It takes me back to the moment of my first breakup when I realized it’s more than a thin line between love and hate, it is at times the most blurred line imaginable.

“You remember what time it is right?” The Storm asked into the phone.

“Yes.” I shut my eyes against his condescending tone, “I’m parking and walking in right now.”

The Storm hung up without another word.  I walked through the doors of the therapy office.  To my left was the desk with several office assistants busily filing papers, answering phones and checking people in as they arrived for their appointment.  Straight ahead and to my right were chairs, some empty and some filled with patients awaiting their scheduled appointment times.  I was surprised not to see The Storm in any of the chairs but stepped up to the counter.

“Hi, I have an appointment to see… actually I’m not sure who we’re seeing.” I leaned further over the counter towards the woman behind the counter, lowering my voice before continuing “It’s for couple’s therapy.”

“Okay, that’s with Dr. Hamlet.  Is your partner here? I scanned the crowd once again and didn’t see his face hiding in the midst of the few people who were sitting with an assorted variety of looks on their face.

“No, but he will be by the time you call us back, I’m sure.”

She nodded, “Well, why don’t you have a seat and I’ll finish your paperwork and get you settled into the computer and then we’ll call you, okay?” She looked up from where her fingers were furiously fluttering over he keyboard and gave me a bright smile filled with assurance.

I nodded and made my way to an empty plastic chair facing the entrance.  I grabbed a magazine and began flipping through it.

My eyes cast downward I started as a box full of my items dropped at my feet. I continued flipping through my magazine without seeing the pages, watching as The Storm’s brown loafers moved from standing directly in front of me and went to the desk to check in.  Before he even returned to me they were calling our name and I awkwardly picked up the box of my items and followed him back into the office of a strange woman I’d never met before but was allegedly supposed to pour my heart out to about the reason I’d gone from planning on marrying the most amazing man to being deathly afraid of even being in his presence.

I sat in the chair with the box settled on my lap and began looking through it as the therapist introduced herself and asked us where we’d like to begin.

I pulled out my curling iron, unraveled the cord from around the handle and began twisting the cord together the way I liked it to be, using the excess to bind the cord together.

“Okay, I’ll start,” The Storm sighed and I knew they’d both been watching me, “We were engaged. We dated for a little less than a year, got engaged and were planning to be married in July until I found out she’d previously been with her best friend.  So, I broke off the engagement and now we’ve been fighting non-stop ever since.”

“Sunny?”

I looked up from the soap dish I was holding in my hand, “Yeah?”

“What are you hoping to accomplish by coming through therapy?”

I shrugged, “Well he pretty much covered it. We liked each other, we loved each other and now we hate each other.  I think he wanted to come here so we could maybe come to some kind of agreeableness and not hate each other as much but in all honesty it makes no difference to me because I am leaving for California in,” I paused to look at my watch which didn’t actually have a date stamp on it, “four weeks.”

The doctor nodded, “So, let’s talk about this best friend. It may help if you put the box on the floor Sunny.”

“No thanks.”

She nodded again, “What’s in the box?”

I looked up at her with fire in my eyes as I explained, “These are the only items still left at his house, our house.  I’ve packed up most of my stuff and moved it into the garage so it’ll be ready the day my parents come with the truck to help me move home but apparently he’s given me the last of my necessity items and this box, hoping I’ll make a good home out of both.”

I glared at The Storm, “You didn’t have to embarrass me by dropping this in my lap in public.”

The therapist volleyed between the two of us before finally settling on The Storm to direct her next question toward, “Do you hate Sunny, the way she claims you do?”

I looked up at The Storm who turned his head towards the door instead of answering.

“Yes,” I turned my attention back to Dr. Hamlet, “Yes, he does hate me.”

I looked at The Storm facing the door and grabbed my purse which was sitting on the floor beside my chair, struggling with the box as I heaved myself out of the chair, “Thank you for your time Doctor, I think I’ll let you two enjoy the rest of this hour without me.”

As I walked past The Storm toward the door I noticed he was crying silently, tears dripping down his cheeks, his body tensed against them as his frame suddenly seemed to fill the entire chair. Instinctively I dropped the box I was carrying and knelt down beside him, placing my hands over his which were winding around themselves in his lap.

“Oh Baby,” I touched his cheek as he began to speak,

“I loved you. I still do love you. I don’t want you to leave but I know you’re going to leave and knowing this I want you to leave okay. I have never been so hurt by a woman and I hate that we have this awful feeling between us. I’m hurting Sunny. I can’t tell you that all the time but I really am hurting.”

I looked into his face as he spoke even though he was looking straight ahead as he spoke.

Surprising me the doctor spoke to me first, “Sunny, do you want to go on hating The Storm?”

I looked at her, “I never hated him.”

“You hurt me.” He looked into my eyes, “But I should have never hurt you back the way I did.”

I started crying, “I wasn’t trying to hurt you. I keep trying to tell you that’s why I didn’t tell you. I was trying to do everything I could not to hurt you.”

He looked at me for a long time and I let go of his hands and went back and sat back in my empty chair, leaving the box still sitting by the door.

“What do we have to do?” I asked Dr. Hamlet, “Can you help us or not?”

It was at this moment that I knew it was too confusing to take on by myself. I loved him and I hated him. He loved me but he’d hurt me and was determined to make sure I felt just as much pain as that I’d inflicted upon him.

Hawkeye’s comment made me look beyond the choice of falling in love and really identify what happens once you’re there. Do you really have a choice to stop being in love or are you left in that weird in-between place where I don’t hate you but I don’t love you?

Love Always,

Sunny

Author Harlan Ellison wrote “The minute people fall in love, they become liars.”

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