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Love Endures Changes – Liking is Affected by Daily Dynamics

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Love and like: two small words that pack a powerful punch when it comes to relationships. At face value, they seem inseparable. However, as many can attest, it’s possible – perhaps even common – to love someone deeply and yet, at times, not like them very much at all. Why is this dichotomy so prevalent in our relationships?

Love is more permanent; like is conditional

Love often takes root in deeper connections. It’s an amalgamation of shared history, mutual trust, and an intricate tapestry of shared emotions. On the contrary, “liking” someone is often rooted in the present. We like people based on their current behaviours, conversations, and the emotions they provoke in us in the moment. If a loved one behaves in a way that irks us, it’s natural for our liking for them to wane, even if our underlying love remains steadfast.

Growth and change challenge our liking

It’s a universally accepted truth: people change. As individuals evolve, so do their habits, interests, and behaviours. The person you fell in love with years ago might now have traits you don’t quite appreciate. While love can weather these changes, our immediate liking for the person might be tested.

Emotional intensity can blur the lines

The deeper the emotional connection, the higher the stakes. This means that while the highs with a loved one are extremely rewarding, the lows can be exceptionally challenging. Small disagreements might escalate to significant arguments simply because of the depth of emotion involved. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to feel strong dislike for someone you intrinsically love.

Expectations set the stage

With love comes expectations. We anticipate understanding, compassion, and consistent support from those we love. Unfortunately, no one is perfect. When a loved one falls short of these expectations, even if momentarily, it can lead to feelings of disappointment and a temporary dip in our affection for them.

The intimacy paradox

Being close to someone offers a transparent view into their strengths and, more pertinently, their flaws. When you love someone, you’re privy to their vulnerabilities and idiosyncrasies. Sometimes, it’s these very imperfections, seen up-close and personal, that can make you ‘dislike’ them occasionally, even if you cherish the bond you share.


Navigating the fine line between love and like is a nuanced journey. It’s essential to recognise that feelings of fleeting dislike towards a loved one don’t negate the profound love you share. Instead, they’re a testament to the complexities of human emotion and relationships.

In a world where relationships are often romanticised and seen through rose-tinted glasses, it’s important to foster a more realistic understanding. Acknowledging the ebb and flow of affection can offer a more grounded perspective, enabling us to tackle the challenges that arise with empathy and patience.

After all, love isn’t just about eternal adoration; it’s also about understanding, accepting, and navigating the occasional patches of discord and dislike. Embracing this reality can lead to more profound, resilient, and long-lasting connections.

James Elsworth, a;n Essex-based relationship therapist, combines his love for literature and psychology to explore the intricacies of human connections.

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