Another version of "being cruel to be kind". To show somebody some tough love today will save them heartache in the future but may cause a small amount of upset for the reciever immediately after the "Tough Love" has been dispensed. They would suffer more if you let them get on with their life with no interference from third parties.
Leo-"I'm gonna ask that girl out on a date"
Chris-"You'd be wasting your time, you are ugly, overweight and suffer severely from B.O. and thats just your good points, take it from me, she will reject you, maybe not straight away, perhaps she will rinse your bank account first, but you have no future with that girl, I'm sorry mate the writing is on the wall"
Leo-"Harsh words, but priceless advice, I guess thats what they call tough love"
Chris-"It sure is, look it up on the Urban dictionary, on second thoughts, you better not"
by Chris VG May 9, 2007
Get the Tough Love mug.
This phrase was coined by Bill Milliken when he published the book of the same name in 1968 and revised it with Char Meredith in 1971.

It has become widely used and copied with numerous authors writing books of the same title or employing the phrase in their title. It occurs frequently in the news as well.

The phrase refers to the practice of setting boundries for children.
Mom: She is staying out all night and her friends are drinking heavily. I am worried about her.

Dad: You just have to use tough love and ground her until she has time to see how ill advised her choices really are.
by Malangthon October 8, 2010
Get the Tough Love mug.
A bullshit excuse to mistreat and severely scar your loved one's
He calls it tough love, but all he's doing is treating her like dirt.
by justsaying0007 October 4, 2010
Get the Tough Love mug.
to care for someone while remaining unsympathetic and being strict
Children need tough love today in order to become productive members of society.
by Gerard Irick December 24, 2009
Get the tough love mug.
Tough love is not going around trying show people how heavy handed you are, people who do that are bullshit. Tough love comes from the same thing compassion comes from, the difference is tough love doesn't take it easy on anybody.
There's a difference between showing tough love to somebody and trying to silence or kill anybody who doesn't see things your way because you dont like the way they think, that's not tough love, its bullshit.
by Solid Mantis April 10, 2020
Get the Tough love mug.
an excuse domineering people use to rationalize abusing others.
He said he was only practicing tough love on her, but her intuition said he's really trying to control her when he refuses to let her go out with her friends.
by STP2 June 3, 2007
Get the tough love mug.
Compassion might make somebody feel better, but without tough love nothing will actually get done.
Tough love is as effective as compassion.
by Solid Mantis May 19, 2021
Get the Tough love mug.