“My partner resents me!” It never feels good to be in that position. The good news is that you’re not alone, and help and understanding are out there.
It’s easy to spot resentment. You can feel its power and its force. Resentment is like a wall of dislike coming at you and you have no way of getting around it.
You know it is there, you wish it would not be, but everything you have done has not made it crumble and it is a mystery to you as to how to dismantle it.
Holding Resentment Hurts Everyone Involved
I have worked with many couples that experience this. My heart breaks when I try to talk with the partner who has resentment and try to understand what is making them keep it in place.
Sometimes I hear about trust. If the heart has been wounded then the best way to keep it safe is to build a wall around it. That’s what resentment is. But it’s not just a concrete wall, there is scorn and hatred and “I don’t want anything to do with you” mixed in.
This resentment wall can hurt. It first of all hurts the one holding it. This person has to use a lot of energy to keep out the one they love. And the other partner can feel their disappointment and dislike and then they feel small and scorned.
Resentment Takes Time and Effort to Work Through
Both people suffer and both often don’t know what to do about it. I know that to take a wall down the person holding it must feel trust and security and be able to open the heart again. Overcoming resentment is a process, not something that happens in an instant.
But if you have been hurt by the one you trusted and you feel wounded in your heart, learning to trust again is a very big ask. There must be a lot of contrition from the partner who hurt you and you must be able to see their new behaviors that are not hurting you, and learn to trust them again.
But you also have to be able to try the relationship again. I know you love your mate. I also know you were wounded. These are two facts. Now, what are you going to do about it?
Do you want to stay in the relationship because you love your mate? Do you want to leave because you can’t forgive them? These are decisions you must make on your own. This is your life. I want you to be happy. It will be a hard step no matter which decision you make, but at least you will make a decision and not stay stuck.
Make a Decision to Get Unstuck and Move Forward
Often times people stay stuck in their resentment and they can’t move. I have seen this too. I always feel so sorry for the person who is stuck. But this is an individual decision. Your partner can’t make everything all better inside of you.
You might need to decide that you love them and you will forgive them. Forgiveness doesn’t occur in one shot, no it might take several mentions of your difficulty and many, many apologies to make it better, even a little.
But I have seen couples overcome hurt hearts. And when they do their relationship is stronger than ever. Build something new. Build it together. Surprise yourself. It could help you feel better.
Get Help with Letting Go of Resentment in Your Marriage or Relationship
Read a Book About Relationships
Learn how you and your partner can reduce existing resentment in your relationship and help prevent new resentments from forming, by reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It might just help you communicate about your feelings, helping the two of you feel less blamed, more connected, and happier. 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.