Social Question

Esedess's avatar

What is the opposite of love?

Asked by Esedess (3439points) December 29th, 2011

Is it hate?

…or is it fear?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

43 Answers

PhiNotPi's avatar

If it was only fear, then that would imply that people that are not afraid of something have a small to moderate degree of love towards the object, which I do not think is necessarily. I think that the answer is closer to hate, but you can’t be in love with something that you fear, either.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I would say that the opposite of love is contempt.

smilingheart1's avatar

Indifference and especially selfishness

figbash's avatar

Ambivalence. Lack of respect.

janbb's avatar

T.S. Eliot says it is indifference.

jazmina88's avatar


Dutchess_III's avatar

I go with @CaptainHarley. Contempt.

cazzie's avatar

I don’t know. I think love can exist where there is contempt, but I don’t think love exists where there is indifference or apathy. Familiarity breeds contempt. Even if it is just contempt for the fact he doesn’t pick up his socks or doesn’t close the toothpaste cap…. you can still love him. But if you couldn’t care less about picking up his socks and throwing them in the washer so he has clean ones next week… that isn’t love. That is indifference.

FutureMemory's avatar


linguaphile's avatar

Indifference and disgust.

SavoirFaire's avatar

When you say “opposite,” do you mean contrary or contradictory?

X is contrary to Y when no Z can be both X and Y at the same time, but can be neither X nor Y at any given time. X is contradictory to Y when no Z can be both X and Y at the same time, and must be either X or Y at any given time.

Esedess's avatar

@SavoirFaire I mean the antitheses.

flutherother's avatar

@SavoirFaire Sometimes you are just too logical.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Apathy, indifference…. I think several of the answers above work. Feeling nothing.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

My automatic response has been “Hate” in the past, but “Indifference” makes sense as well.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

The absence of love, or indifference.

MilkyWay's avatar


linguaphile's avatar

I don’t disagree with the concept that hate is the opposite of love, but my reason for not picking hate is because it is still a strong emotion that is invested in that person. if you hate them, you’re still emotional about them in a different way than love. Indifference… that’s a scary place to be—for me indifference includes the emotion of not being in any way affected by that person’s existence.

There are very few people I reach a level of indifference for—but once I do, they could suffer from Alzheimers and I would not be emotionally affected at all- no glee, no disappointment, just nothing. It’s not an state I like to get into, but imo it’s almost like the opposite of love and hate—like a triangle could be drawn between love-hate-indifference.

Kardamom's avatar

I would say that it is disdain.

cazzie's avatar

Disdain… hmmm… That is like being constantly, mildly annoyed at someone? Deeming them unworthy of respect? I would say, ‘Disregard’ would be closer, maybe? Disdain sounds like a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket and I think the opposite of Love should be a stronger word.

But I like that you brought up the ‘lack of respect’ the opposite of love would hold. I think if you are apathetic about a person, you can’t hold any respect or regard for them, either.

Apathy is a funny word. We use it, mostly, as a passive word. If we are apathetic about something, it doesn’t mean that we are actively disregarding something, or making an effort to show uncaring. Apathy is most often used for things we simply passively disregard, rather than actively show distain or disregard for. Does that make sense? The way apathy works, though, is that, whether you meaningfully show apathy, or show apathy simply through thoughtlessness, the outcome is the same.

fizzbanger's avatar


flutherother's avatar


Neizvestnaya's avatar

I vote for apathy.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Esedess In the Hegelian sense?

@flutherother My programming does not allow me to believe that. ~

stardust's avatar

I think the opposite of love is fear.

fizzbanger's avatar

@stardust Makes me think of Donnie Darko.

Kardamom's avatar

How about loathing?

It’s extremely passionate but in all of the most negative ways, whereas love is extremely passionate in all of the most positive ways.

Ela's avatar

I was also thinking disdain, @Kardamom. Love is too strong of an emotion to have indifference be it’s opposite imo.

Kardamom's avatar

@EnchantingEla That’s what I thought too. Love is extremely powerful, so the opposite would have to be equally powerful.

Indifference could technically be the opposite of almost anything, but really shouldn’t be considered so.

You could say that indifference is the opposite of like or joy or lust or longing, but really it isn’t. It isn’t anything and that’s the whole point. Indifference conjers up no passionate feelings of anything. It’s like a void. Whereas disdain and loathing are extremely passionate, but are completely negative feelings.

Ela's avatar

I totally agree @Kardamom

Paradox25's avatar

I think it comes down to which type of situation that you would apply the term love to. Love can mean to either be passionate about something or to have a great deal of affection/care/concern towards others. Using the former definition of love I would say the opposite would be disdain.

When using the term love in trying to describe how we feel about others there is conditional love vs unconditional love. Unconditional love is in my opinion the only true form of love, the type of love that can’t be described in words so I will not attempt to here as Silver Birch has quoted, “words are a poor substitution for thoughts”.

You don’t have to agree with me or my spiritual leanings but I have to use them here for me to personally answer this question. We are spiritual beings of which light is our life force. The duller our light or aurora means the less love one has. The ‘opposite’ of true unconditional love would be negation, or the negation of inner light. The more negation a person has the more likely they are to be indifferent or to have disdain for others. There is no opposite of love since negation is a lack of something, not an opposite. It is just like black, black itself isn’t a color but a lack of color/light. It is the same thing with cold, cold is the lack of rather than the opposite of heat. Love is light and warmth while negation is darkness and coldness.

Esedess's avatar

@Paradox25 @EnchantingEla @Kardamom @fizzbanger @stardust @SavoirFaire @Neizvestnaya @flutherother @cazzie @filmfann

There seems to be a lot of confusion going around regarding, in what terms I mean “love”. That’s my fault, I apologize for the lack of detail; I’ll try to clarify. What I’m really asking here is a bigger question than “what is the opposite of loving someone or something.” This is more of a life-sized question. As in, all thoughts/feelings/emotions/actions/ideas/& words ultimately come from a place of love, or __________. As Freud would say, all our actions, thoughts, or otherwise are driven by the goal of sex. (not that I necessarily agree with that) But similarly here, I’m trying to break down the origins of thoughts/feelings/etc… to their most basic opposing point of origin.
For example, if you have a religious person who stands by the theory that all things are as science dictates they are, but they were merely set in motion by god. Then that religious person and an atheist would be able to agreeably argue on all things up until the point that they reached their most fundamental belief. At that point they would be left with only two root perspectives: “god” and “not god”.
If the classic “____ is to ____, as ____ is to ____” might further clarify here, I’ll pose this:
God is to love, as the absence of god is to ______.
(Don’t take that last point literally in your thought process. It’s just an attempt at posing a conceptual analogy suggestive of the universal opposition I’m looking for here)

p.s. – I’m not suggesting that’s not what any of you were answering to begin with, or that your answers will change at all, or that your answers are wrong in any way… I don’t know what the answer is; and I don’t know if “love” is even one end of that ultimate dichotomy I’m contemplating here. I just wanted to unanimously clarify regardless.

p.p.s – is there a way to just reply to all on here?

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