I don’t generally recommend the lyrics from rock songs as offering sound relationship advice. However, one of the lyrics in the Lumineers song “Stubborn Love” is spot on for a very common relationship issue. Here’s the line: “The opposite of love is indifference.” The opposite of love IS indifference. In so many relationships, behaving indifferently towards your partner is the opposite of acting as though you love them, as though you are excited to be spending time with them. Indifference is the opposite of being passionate or of having “both feet in” the relationship and being invested in it’s outcome. When a partner acts ambivalently, even in minor ways like failing to make eye contact, or not bothering to say “hello” when their significant other returns home at night, it can be tremendously hurtful. The opposite of love IS indifference. And the outcome of indifference is usually a sense of insecurity in the relationship, a sense of uncertainty as to whether or not the indifferent person actually cares what happens to the relationship. Indifference, or emotional disengagement, on the part of one partner usually causes anxiety for the other. After all, how can they know they’re loved, valued or cherished? Indifference is the opposite of validating the importance of keeping your partner in your life. By the time we begin couples therapy with any new couple, we often find at least one partner behaving indifferently about the relationship. This emotional disconnection isn’t the only challenge these couple’s face. But it’s definitely part of what’s interfering with their sense of harmony and closeness. Well said, Lumineers. Well said.
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