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Can you love someone you don’t admire?

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I feel that a large part of love is finding that person that you admire. A partner that can constantly energize you to do better just by the mere fact that you want to aspire to emulate them.

I guess I could say that I’ve admired my girlfriend at one point, obviously in the beginning, but overtime I’ve surpassed it. I’ve already gleaned these characteristics and I feel that it is time for me to move on because the grass is greener on the other side. I feel like I am being pulled behind now and my gut instinct is telling me to let go of the dead weight. If someone asks me, what do you admire about your partner, they would be all completely banal. She’s smart, beautiful, outgoing….okay great, she sounds like the perfect woman right? No. The negatives that I would come up would out number the positives 6 to 1. I could think of 24 of them off the top of my head. Immature, needy, irrational, liar, loose cannon, small minded, narcissistic, controlling, co-dependent, unreliable, lazy, manipulative, overbearing, dead weight, double standards, weak, negative thinking, repetitive, constantly needs reassurance, whiny, unreasonable, own parents have described by saying she has “has an attitude”, has no problem involuntarily involving others in our relationship problems, and can be a real you know what.

Of course, there has been a slew of relationship problems that we’ve had as well. But can you really love someone that occupies more negatives in your head than positives? Can you love someone that you think so negatively of? I think not.

I should also add, that a few days before I planned on breaking up with her, she told me that she was pregnant (I’ve confirmed this by going to a doctor with her). I told myself that I would “give it another fair shot”. Four months later I keep thinking to myself “Why am I preventing the inevitable?”. How can a break it off with the least collateral damage?

Can you love someone you don’t admire?

Answered by on -


The simple answer to your question is that it’s very difficult to love someone you don’t respect. But it’s also fair in this case to ask if your lack of “admiration” is a way to rationalize leaving a situation that is scary for you. At only 23, you may not be prepared to be a father. But, ready or not, there’s a baby on the way.

As stated on ParentMap’s website, “What can you do to help maintain your relationship? The first step is to learn to build the friendship with your partner. Without a strong friendship in your relationship, not only will you see a decline in your satisfaction, but your relationship will likely have difficulty weathering the storms that may lie ahead. Having a new baby is a busy time. The changes in your life can bring temporary conflict and chaos to your relationship, but by using your friendship as your strong foundation, you will find that your relationship may in fact become stronger as you make the transition from two to three.”

If you two haven’t started couples therapy, you haven’t given this relationship a “fair shot.” (Four months of hanging in while focusing on the negative doesn’t count.) I think you owe it to your partner, your baby, and, ultimately, to yourself to see if you can make this relationship work. Even if you can’t make a marriage out of it, you and your girlfriend are going to have to learn to be mutually supportive and effective co-parents. You are going to be dealing with each other forever because of your child. For that reason alone, you need to work on making the best relationship with each other you can.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Can you love someone you don’t admire?

This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on December 6, 2009.

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2019). Can you love someone you don’t admire?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 3, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 1 Jun 2019 (Originally: 6 Dec 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 1 Jun 2019
Published on Psych All rights reserved.