Dealing with Hurt Feelings in a Relationship

Hurt Feelings in a Relationship: How to Deal With Them Productively

Hurt feelings in a relationship, or even out of one, are no fun. They’re bad enough, on their own, but they can complicate our lives even further when we don’t deal with them well. Here are some ideas for processing those feelings more productively.

All of us get our feelings hurt. It happens to everyone who interacts with other human beings. Someone will say something and we will feel a sting inside us. We all respond to this sting and some of us actually try and take the person’s head off because of it.

Some of us just steam inside and aren’t even able to let someone know we are suffering. Yes, all of us get our feelings hurt. But when we are in a relationship with another person and we want the relationship to last we have to find a way to get our hurt feelings across without making the other person the bad guy.

Hurt Feelings in a Relationship Can Crop Up in Unexpected Places

Hurt feelings in a relationship can show up in unpredictable places and with unexpected causes.

And this is very tough, even for trained professionals like myself. Here’s what happened to me. My husband and I were visiting one of his former colleagues. She lives alone and really savors talking and conversing with my husband. I know this and I welcome this. It is good for both of them.

But while we were there and a song came on the radio I had a very different reaction. My husband said something flattering to his friend about the musical group that was playing. I noticed it because I have, in our life together, commented on a song by this group and he was dismissive about their ability.

Yet here he was praising them and I felt myself wondering, “Hmph! Why does she get the praise and I get his scorn?” I got madder and madder and madder. I then started to add other things to this issue too. It went something like this: “I am tired of just listening to them talk. I am not involved in their conversation. I don’t like being here either.”

Rashly Dealing with Hurt Feelings in a Relationship Can Hurt Our Partners, Leaving Us Both Worse Off

The friend went out to walk her dogs and then I laid into my partner. I told him exactly how I felt slighted by his comment. And then I unloaded on him. I couldn’t stop myself. I just kept piling it on.

She comes back and I help her take out the garbage. On the way back to her house she stops and puts her arm about me and says, “It is so wonderful that you are here and that you come to visit me. It’s so wonderful.”

And then I feel so small. Like there must be something wrong with me. I went into the house and went right up to my husband and said how sorry I was. I apologized several times and then kissed him and told him again how sorry I was.

We Often Encounter Things That Make Us Unhappy, But the Key Is letting Go of Those Negative Feelings ASAP

When feeling stuck in a relationship or otherwise upset, take time to check in with your body and dissolve the tension or discomfort you're experiencing.

Looking back on this I think I came around pretty fast. And for that I am grateful. In my past I might have held on to my anger for hours. This time it probably lasted about 20 minutes.

All of us can feel something that puts us out of sorts. That is human and predictable. Find your way back to the person who loves you and does not do things with the intention to hurt you. Like my husband. He is just like that. He loves me, only sometimes I forget that.

Need Some Help Dealing with Hurt Feelings in a Relationship?

Read a Book About Relationships

'Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship.' A book by Linda Nusbaum.

Learn how to communicate your feelings less confrontationally, more sincerely, and more productively by reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It just might help you tell your partner how you feel and help the two of you reduce the incidence of your feelings being hurt. Give it a read.

Get Couples Counseling

Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.

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