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Moving Past Relationship Resentments

Is your relationship not where you want it to be?  You are not alone.

One of the things that keeps couples disconnected emotionally and physically is resentment.

Resentment is like acid to a romantic relationship.

It is the harboring of ill-will or anger against someone who feel wronged or hurt you.

It builds up over time.

Many things can start it, even something small but once it gets going it can just grow and grow.

Resentment can occur in any of these ways and others:

  • Birth of a child
  • The mother may feel that she is doing too much and feels overwhelmed, overtired and even lonely.  She may think this way if he has not changed any of his daily routines such as working out, watching sports, goes golfing, lets you still cook and clean.
  • Perceived inequality
  • Do you feel your partner spends too much time with friends, on hobbies or always works late?  Are they not putting the relationship as a top priority?  Loneliness starts in set in.  Maybe you have thoughts such as… “she doesn’t treat me with respect”, “he never does the dishes”, “you never want to spend time with me” or “I always do the shopping/cooking/cleaning and tons more.”
  • Sexual difficulties
  • One of the most common things I hear in couples marriage counseling is the lack of initiative or desire to be intimate.  Whether is it not enough time in the day or the partner would rather do something else, resentment can build up quickly.  Usually the partner that is interested in and has been asking eventually stops asking because of so much rejection.  Being affectionate and intimate with your partner is very important in a relationship.
  • You feel your partner is not listening to you
  • Do they repeatedly do things even after you asked them to change?  Do you believe it is intentional?  Does it seem like you are just invisible?  The hurt and anger will keep building.
  • You have a one-sided relationship
  • Does it seem like you are the one that is always tending to his needs?  Are you always taking care of your partner, whatever it may be?  You would love to receive that in return but it just never happens.
  • Not appreciating each other’s efforts
  • Feel like your partner takes you for granted?  Are you the only one that makes an effort? This can lead to an accumulation of negative emotions.

No doubt working through resentments will take communication, time, effort and patience.

What specifically can you do to move past relationship resentment?

Be direct and clear about your needs.  Make clear-cut requests, whether that is to watch the kids during a certain time or to plan a romantic date.  Couples could also create a weekly calendar system planning time for each other, individual and family time.  More consistent meetings could lessen resentment.

Focus on feelings.  Express them more than thoughts.  Once vocalized, it can be processed and talked through.  Stay away from negative talk.  Express “I” and not “you” statements.

Focus on the positives.  When asked during high resentment times, partners would automatically think of negatives about their partners.  Take more time to think and really look at what they bring to the relationship.  Once you think of at least 3 things, let them know and acknowledge what those actions mean to the relationship.