Life & Culture

It really is a thin line between love and hate

The surprise romantic comedy of 2023 ‘Anyone But You’ was on to something, you know


Unlikely romance: Glen Powell as Ben and Sydney Sweeney as Bea in 'Anyone But You' Credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment

Embarking on the journey to find love can often lead us down unexpected paths and push us to explore alternative romantic territories. While the age-old wisdom that there’s a fine line between love and hate is well-known, perhaps this year’s hottest dating advice is to consider that those who challenge us the most may actually be leading us down a road less obviously travelled. Hear me out. Most of us have someone in our life who is a frenemy, with whom you might have a love-hate relationship. They drive you mad, push your buttons and annoyingly occupy your thoughts far more than you’d like. Has it ever crossed your mind though, that this somewhat passionate perception is a subtle sign that there is something to explore there romantically? Dare I say, but could they be a potential love match in disguise?

The surprise romantic comedy movie of 2023 was Anyone But You. The premise? An amazing first date that turns sour pretty quickly. Viewers are taken on a rollercoaster ride as the love interests, Ben and Bea, grow to detest each other. But as the story plays out (spoiler alert), they eventually realise that theirs is the quintessential foe-to-friend love story that every rom-com needs. Their hatred for each other develops towards a predictable yet adorably happy-ever-after climax befitting a film belonging to the romance genre.

And believe it or not, I have my own Anyone But You haters-turned-lovers real-life story. In my early twenties, I worked at a Jewish summer camp. You know the chaos that goes down on a rogue campsite in Belgium filled with Jewish kids and leaders alike. Among the madrichim were, let’s call them, Daniel and Rachel. They absolutely despised each other from the moment they met. Clash of the Titans and then some.

They spent the summer fighting their way through camp. If Daniel would say the kids should be in shorts, Rachel would say they should be in trousers. Rachel would say yes, and Daniel would say no. Flash forward to today, and I am as surprised as you will be to confirm that they are very happily married with two children.

Ultimately, when looking for a match, we shouldn’t be ruling out anyone (unless they are taken), especially those who make us feel something, even if, initially, that feeling is hate. It is most likely those who test us and challenge how we perceive situations are the people who could make the best lovers/partners. Have a think about any first dates you’ve been on recently where the person opposite wound you up. You may have put this down to a personality clash and written them off. Does anyone come to mind? Something tells me this could be the plot twist that your dating life has been waiting for. It’s time to re-evaluate all your dates and relationships so you can suss out which ones could potentially pivot from enemy to ally. You never know, your next love story could be waiting just beyond the line of hate.

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