i love you therefore i must hate you

"Well, there's always one solution..." Graham sat up straighter in his chair. This was what he'd come for. Of course, Jack would know what to do, would know the right answer. That was why he'd come here; he knew he was right to come. "... You should love her less."
"What?"
"Love her less. May sound a bit old-fashioned, but it'd work. You don't have to hate or dislike her or anything - don't go over the edge. Just learn to detach yourself a little. Be her friend if you like. Love her less."
Graham hesitated. He didn't know where to begin. Eventually he said,
"I cry when the houseplants die."
"Come again, squire?"
"She had these African violets. I mean, I don't like African violets much, and neither does Ann. I think she was given them. She's got lots of other plants she likes a lot more. And they got sort of plant chicken pox or something, and they died. Ann didn't mind at all. I went up to my study and cried. Not about them - I just found myself thinking about her watering them, and putting the fertilizar stuff on them, and, you know, not her feelings about the sodding plants - she didn't really have any, as I said - but her time, her being there, her life...
"I'll tell you another thing. After she's gone to work, the first thing I do is take out my diary and write down everything she's got on. Shoes, thights, dress, bra, knickers, raincoat, hair-grip, rings. What colour. Everything. Often it's the same, of course, but I still write it down. And then occasionally, throughout the day, I take out my diary and look it up. I don't try and memorize what she's looking like - that'd be cheating. I take out my diary - sometimes when I'm teaching and pretend to be thinking about essay titles or something - and I sit there, sort of dressing her. It's very...nice."


Julian Barnes, Before She Met Me