💕 Ambivalent Definition & Ambivalence Meaning ✅ Synonyms Antonyms & More


👉 Ambivalent Definition (adjective)

What does Ambivalent mean?

Ambivalent means that a person feels conflicting emotions about something. This can mean that a person has feelings of love and hate at the same time. It can also mean that a person is neutral about an issue because they have not chosen a side.

Being ambivalent is a state of being undecided. It most commonly means that there are conflicting emotions within a person, and they have not chosen which emotions to pursue.

Ambivalent is an adjective, and it describes nouns in greater detail. It is most commonly used to describe people and their feelings.

  • I don’t think I like Fred, he just seems so ambivalent about things.
  • He showed an ambivalent attitude towards his dog when it began to vomit.

Explanation: The man wants to know what is wrong with his dog and to check on him, but feels sickened by the sight of the dog vomiting and keeps his distance.

  • The workers are ambivalent about their new jobs, they enjoy the work, but hate the hours they must work.

👉 Ambivalent synonyms

Because ambivalent means having mixed or opposite feelings about something or someone, there are multiple synonyms and other ways to describe this feeling.

Ambivalent as an adjective describes these possible mixed or opposite feeling with one word, while other synonyms may require further explanation.

Some of the most commonly used synonyms are

  • uncertain
  • unsure
  • doubtful
  • indecisive
  • undecided
  • unresolved 

While ambivalent requires little explanation, these synonyms more often than not need to have further explanations about the concrete feelings or issues.

For instance, you can be ambivalent about a person, which means that you neither love them nor hate them. But you are unsure if you feel more love or hate for that person. Ambivalent can be neutral, while many of the synonyms are used to describe a type of conflict between the opposing feelings.

  • E.g. He is always ambivalent about either going to the mountains or the seaside for the holidays. 

This means that the person could choose either the mountains or the seaside. They have no clear preference and we know they are neutral because of that.

  • He was unsure about whether he wanted to go to the mountains or the seaside for the holidays.

This means that the person is trying to choose which place to go to. They are trying to find which they prefer more.

👉 Ambivalent in a Sentence

  • This is an issue you can’t be ambivalent about! 

This means that the issue is an important or controversial one, and being neutral about it does not seem good enough.

  • I don’t care where we go to eat, I’m only ambivalent about KFC. I mean I like the food, but it’s so unhealthy. 

In this case, the person talking wishes to draw attention that they have conflicting emotions about KFC. They are undecided about where to go, but KFC is a place which they feel conflicted about.

  • While Jackie was certain she wanted kids, Joan was ambivalent. 

This means that one person knows that they want children, while the other is undecided and neutral. They have yet to decide if they want children or not.

  • Good stories often have ambivalent characters, to make for a more suspenseful plot.

This means that a good story has characters the readers can both love and hate. These characters are also unpredictable, because they can either do something the readers hate or love, and this builds suspense.

  • I can be easy to feel ambivalent about issues these days, because it can be hard to fully identify with one side. 

This means that it can be easier to remain neutral about an issue because it is hard to understand and feel strongly for either side of the argument. A person can be torn between sides, and therefore decides to stay neutral.

👉Ambivalent Antonyms

When we take into consideration that ambivalent means to have conflicting emotions, or simply being uncertain/neutral, then antonyms are used to describe a level of security and certainty.

Certain is one of the most common antonyms to ambivalent, followed by

  • certain
  • clear
  • decided
  • sure
  • settled
  • secure.

Each of these adjectives describes how there are no conflicting emotions. While ambivalent describes having conflicting feelings, antonyms such as certain and sure are used to show that there is one strong emotion the person is following.

If a person is ambivalent they did not choose exactly how to perform an action. If a person is certain, then they have chosen exactly how to perform the action.

  • Having taken everything into consideration I can finally say that I am certain the company will not proceed with the deal.

This means that the person has thought about the possibilities. They could have been ambivalent for a while. However, in the end, they have chosen which way to go, and are completing the action according to that choice.

👉 Ambivalent Anxious Attachment

These three types of attachment in this case:

1. ambivalent attachment
2. anxious attachment
3. ambivalent anxious attachment

In order to understand one of them, it is important to understand them all.

1. An ambivalent attachment means that the person does not really care about the other person they are in a relationship with. This is most common with mothers and their children. Sometimes, the mother does not truly care, or is undecided, about her emotions towards the child.

2. An anxious attachment is one where a person is in constant fear what the other thinks, and that they might leave them. This is simply a relationships where one person is constantly anxious. They need to be told that everything is all right, and that they will not be left alone in this world.

3. An ambivalent anxious attachment. This form of attachment is a combination of both anxious and ambivalent. It is rare, but when it happens it can be hard to manage. It means that the person, or persons, affected has phases when they are either anxious or ambivalent.

At one point the person might anxious, and needs to be told they are loved. Then at another point, they may become ambivalent and not care about the person they are in a relationship with.

This form of attachment is often linked to an ambivalent childhood, and attachment trauma. It is a possible sign of bipolar disorder or other forms of attachment disorders. Unlike the singular forms of anxious or ambivalent, these wild emotional swings between the two are indicative of deeper trauma.

👉 Ambivalent Relationship

An ambivalent relationship is one where a person has ambivalent emotions towards the other. It is rare that both people in a relationship are ambivalent, or undecided because those relationships would not last long.

In an ambivalent relationship one person has not decided, or come to terms with, their emotions.

The person who is ambivalent in a relationship has to decide how much they love their partner, or if they do not love their partner. If they don’t they are keeping their partner in a relationship that will not last. Ambivalent partners have a hard time coming to terms with their feelings, and rather leave things as they are.

Ambivalent partners are often considered selfish because they string their partner along. They are undecided because they would rather be in a relationship, be safe and with someone than to fully comprehend how they actually feel about their partner.

It is a “hot and cold” type of affair where one person is being drained while the ambivalent partner does not wish to reflect on their feelings.

👉 Ambivalent Insecure Attachment

An ambivalent-insecure attachment is a relationship where one partner feels insecure and thinks that the other will leave them. The insecure partner only feels safe when their partner is with them. They must constantly be told that they will stay in the relationship.

The reason why this is called an ambivalent-insecure attachment is because the ambivalence of the mother caused the insecurity. The mother is the most important person during childhood. If the mother is ambivalent towards the child, they can become insecure later in life.

Because of these insecurities caused by ambivalence the person believes their partner will leave them. They ask that their partner never leave their side. They also ask to spend a lot more time together than other couples.

While other types of ambivalent attachment, such as ambivalent/anxious, are a combination of ambivalence and other emotional trauma, ambivalent-insecure is more cause and effect oriented.

The person who suffered the trauma due to ambivalence and neglect during childhood becomes insecure later in life. Due to the fact that the mother is the most prominent caregiver, an ambivalent mother can cause severe emotional trauma during childhood.

In order to get the caregiver’s attention the child will do anything, and if they receive that attention they will continue to fret that it might disappear again. Because of this the insecurity of being neglected, being alone, or being heartbroken, makes the person ask for outlandish confirmation of their emotional value from the partner.

These can range from simple requests to spend more time together, to more drastic measures such as asking their partner to quit their job, break contact with friends, and so on.

👉 Ambivalent Sexism

Ambivalent sexism is a theory which states that sexism has two components. One of these components is a positive form of sexism. The other component is a negative form of sexism.

The positive form of sexism is an objective comment based on the person’s gender. This comment can help improve a person’s life.

The negative form of sexism is a harsh comment based on the person’s gender. This comment is meant to make the person feel less valued due to their gender.

Ambivalent sexism suggests that even something as objectively bad as sexism can have two sides.

Ambivalent sexism is a theoretical framework that suggests sexism has two sub-components: hostile, and benevolent sexism.

Hostile sexism is overt sexism aimed at degrading people based on their gender. It is discriminatory and serves to segregate people based on gender.

Benevolent sexism is composed of objective remarks based on the person’s gender. These objective remarks fall under scrutiny because they require objectivity in the framework of discrimination.

Therefore, benevolent sexism is considered, or better yet relegated, to subjective remarks based on gender that are supposed to aid the person in improving themselves, or their life.

👉 Ambivalent Psychology Definition

Being, or feeling, ambivalent is a state of mind where a person has to deal with opposite emotions. These opposite emotions cause a psychological reaction where the person can feel lost. Because it is hard to choose between the emotions the person finds it hard to go through life.

Feeling ambivalent is oftentimes not a choice, but more of a reaction to the emotions the person is feeling. Being ambivalent can sometimes just be a state of having to choose between smaller issues. But in psychology, a strong feeling of being ambivalent is caused by strong emotions.

Feeling ambivalent can lead to depression, or the person can feel like they are not accomplishing anything in life. People are often aware that they are ambivalent, and that feeling can cause emotional pain.

👉 Ambivalent Personality

If a person has an ambivalent personality that means that they find it hard to decide between opposite emotions or issues.

A person with an ambivalent personality is uncertain about what they feel, and which option to choose from when they can. Saying that someone has an ambivalent personality means that they are more often ambivalent about things, and are not able to choose.

To say that someone has an ambivalent personality means that they are more often ambivalent than they are not. That is fairly rare because people have to choose between things in life.

A person can be ambivalent about certain issues more often than not because they want to stay neutral. Being ambivalent about their emotions, and about their choices in life, is not that common.

🇪🇸 Ambivalent in Spanish

  • ambivalente

👉 Ambivalently meaning

Ambivalently is the adverb form of the adjective ambivalent, and it means to have mixed feeling about something or someone.

These mixed feelings are often opposites, like having both positive and negative feelings for someone, and you can’t choose which is the stronger feeling.

Ambivalently is used to describe a level of insecurity, or that someone is uncertain about their feelings while performing an action.

Ambivalently as an adverb, and adverbs are used to describe a verb in more detail, or modify the verb within a sentence. While ambivalent as an adjective describes nouns, ambivalently as an adverb describes verbs.

👉 Ambivalence Definition (noun)

Is one word you want to remember because it has the unique meaning of feeling two opposite emotions at the same time!

Have you ever watched a movie and seen one of your favorite characters do something terrible? How did it make you feel?

We could describe the feeling as being torn in two, split between our attraction for that person but repulsed, disgusted or pushed away by their actions. That is ambivalence.

👉 Ambivalence Synonym and Antonym

A synonym for ambivalence would be uncertainty for example.

  • The man was uncertain of his relationship with the woman.

Therefore the antonym for ambivalence is, certain or unequivocal.

  • The man was certain of his relationship with the woman.

👉 Ambivalence in a Sentence

The feelings of ambivalence can arise from any number of situations, and we can feel it about people, things, and actions. Here are some cases.

  • The girl felt ambivalence toward her manipulative mother.

Explanation: The girl has a natural love or affection for her mother but is saddened and hurt by the way her mother manipulates her.

We would call this an ambivalent attachment because the person is attached in some way to the subject but feels ambivalence towards it.

👉 Ambivalent Attachment

is also a medical term that describes the feelings of a child who is insecure because their parent or caregiver is not consistent in the way that they care for them and their needs.

👉 Ambivalence in Motivational Interviewing

In a motivational interview, it is most important to present our ambitions and goals.

To be ambivalent in a motivational interview would mean that the person does not present any goals or ambitions. It is hard to be motivated when a person is ambivalent about their goals and ambitions.

During a motivational interview, a person has to show how they want to work, and what they want to work on. Being ambivalent in general means that the person does not care, or cannot choose what they want to do.

Motivational interviews are often used for job interviews. Showing during that type of interview that a person is ambivalent is not good for employment.

👉 Epistemic Ambivalence

Don’t worry if you have problems pronouncing these words; native speakers also struggle to say them.

Epistemic is an adjective that describes our knowing something, in other words, having knowledge of the matter. It is almost the opposite idea of what ambivalence means because to be epistemic means you know, you are sure.

Epistemic ambivalence is when you may know the truth of a situation but cannot say which truth it is, because there is more than one option.

Here is an example. Imagine you are a child and you have a pet dog. One day after coming home from school you could not find your dog. Your parents then gave you the following explanations for his disappearance.

  • He ran away.
  • He got sick and died.
  • He went to live on a farm
  • He has one on a very long holiday.

One of the answers is the truth, but since you are not sure which one, you find yourself in a state of epistemic ambivalence, knowing but not knowing what happened to your pet dog.

Another way to describe it is that feeling of when you are sure of something within yourself but uncertain of it until it happens or you observe it.

Epistemic Ambivalence is a complex idea and not at all common to speak about unless you are a scientist perhaps, so don’t worry if it is hard to understand, you may even feel ambivalence about this explanation – I get it, but I don’t get it!

Check your Grammar ››

Interesting Fact

Interestingly, ambivalence as a noun is more common than in its adjective form, ambivalent. But don’t let that prevent you from using this exceedingly descriptive and unique word.

🇪🇸 Ambivalence in Spanish

  • ambivalencia
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