Resentment In Marriage: Causes, Consequences & How To Deal With It
One of the most challenging issues a couple can face in a marriage is resentment. Resentment can arise in a loving relationship when a couple either unknowingly or knowingly hurts each other or take each other for granted.
When resentment festers, it can lead a relationship to its untimely demise. However, resentment doesn’t mean the end of your relationship. Working together and addressing your feelings can help you deal with resentment in marriage.
This article covers signs of resentment in marriage, causes and consequences resentment can have, and dealing with resentment to save the marriage.
What Is Resentment In Marriage?
Resentment by definition means “bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly”. When we talk about resentment in marriage, it means the accumulation of negative feelings toward your partner stemming from unresolved conflicts, arguments, and disagreements. Resentment, if left unaddressed, can get worse and bitter leading a relationship to fail.
Resentment, however, can be common in a relationship such as marriage and can have two outcomes; one, you can address them and move on, or two, you can let them fester and watch your relationship drown. There are some ways on how to overcome resentment in marriage but first, you need to look out for the subtle signs of resentment.
Signs Of Resentment In Marriage
Here are some of the signs of resentment in marriage you need to look out for:
- Your partner is ignoring you and what you’re saying
- You and your partner argue about the same things over and over
- You and your partner keep finding more faults in each other than merits
- Your or your partner’s communication style is passive-aggressive
- You or your partner are keeping secrets and withholding intimacy
- You feel hopeless and see no future in the relationship
- You feel detached from your partner and relationship
Causes Of Resentment In Your Marriage
Why does resentment occur in a relationship? Here are some common causes you need to be aware of:
1. One-sided relationships: You like taking care of your partner but if your partner fails to reciprocate, it can make you feel disappointed, and eventually, that disappointment can lead you to resent your partner.
2. Adjustment: Compromise and adjustment are a part of any relationship. If either of you fails to adjust to the other, it can also lead to resentment.
3. Unfulfilled expectations: Not everything is roses and sunshine in a relationship. If either partner fails in fulfilling each other’s expectations, it can cause resentment too.
4. Holding grudges: Forgiving someone for their mistakes can be difficult but not impossible but if you or your partner hold grudges against each other for those mistakes, it can cause resentment to fester and grow.
5. Lack of appreciation: All of us need to feel appreciated once in a while. A lack of appreciation from your partner can also cause negative feelings and resentment.
Consequences Of Resentment In Marriage
Resentment can have the following consequences in a marriage:
1. Distance between partners – emotional and physical. Misunderstandings and accusations can all cause distance between the partner to grow.
2. Emotional trauma and pain. Festering negative emotions and feelings can cause a lack of positivity, productivity, and energy, leading to emotional and mental trauma.
3. Trust issues. Resentment and other negative feelings can cause partners to lose trust in each other following a lack of commitment and loyalty as well.
4. Estrangement or divorce. When you feel like there is no emotional connection, trust, or communication between each other, it can eventually lead to estrangement or divorce.
The longer you let resentment fester, the more pain you and your partner will feel in the relationship. It is also important to note that either spouse, regardless of sex, gender, or religion can contribute to situations that can cause resentment in marriage.
Dealing With Resentment in Marriage
Anger and resentment in marriage can have drastic effects on a relationship and the overall health and wellness of the partners. The following ways can help you learn how to overcome resentment in marriage:
1. Acknowledge The Feeling
The first step when it comes to dealing with resentment in marriage is to understand where the resentment is coming from. Are there external factors involved or are there internal factors that you should consider?
Once you’ve understood that, the next step is to acknowledge that there is resentment in your relationship. Address and acknowledge the negative feelings to yourself and with your partner.
2. Be Open & Honest
Being rude and condescending will not help to resolve your resentment towards your partner. It’ll make it even worse. When you’ve acknowledged your resentment, talk to your partner. Be open and honest with your feelings but don’t be rude and confront them head-on. Sometimes directly confronting your partner is not healthy nor helpful. Be firm but polite.
3. Apologize Where Needed
Saying sorry when you’re in the wrong is the right thing to do. If you feel like you’re being wrongly accusing your partner, apologize. Own up to your mistakes and don’t shy away from taking accountability for your actions.
4. Leave The Past Behind
Past should be left behind where it belongs – in the past. Bringing up past unresolved conflicts and arguments will not help you deal with resentment. It will also make it rather difficult to deal with present conflicts and disagreements if you keep bringing up past hurts.
5. Learn To Empathize
Put yourself in your partner’s place and try to understand their point of view. Take some time to think about how your negative feelings and actions are affecting them and their health. Be empathetic when talking with your partner. You know your side, now it’s time to understand their side as well.
7. Set Boundaries & Realistic Expectations
Boundaries are important when it comes to healthy relationships. Talk with your partner and set realistic, healthy boundaries and expectations. Sometimes our unrealistic expectations that we thrust upon our partners can also be a cause of resentment. Make sure your partner understands what your expectations and boundaries are.
8. Let Go Of Grudges
Making mistakes is okay. We’re all humans and make mistakes occasionally. Learn to let go of your grudges and forgive your partner. Letting go doesn’t mean that you ignore their mistakes when they overstep in the future. It just means that you resolve the conflict then and there and not let the grudge fester.
9. Stay True To Your Words
If you’ve promised your partner something, honor your word. No matter how inconsequential, staying true to your words is important in a relationship. It defines loyalty and commitment. Remember, disappointment is one of the causes why resentment develops in a relationship. Keep your promises and honor your words even if it is the promise of doing the dishes after dinner.
10. Talk To A Professional
Feeling resentful towards your partner and don’t know how to deal with it? Talk to a professional relationship counselor. If you or your partner is struggling to let go of resentment, talking to a couples counselor can help you.
In relationship counseling, you get an unbiased opinion, advice on how to move forward, how to effectively resolve conflicts, and more. With the help of an experienced and trained relationship counselor, you can learn to have a healthy, resent-free marriage.
I hope this article helped you learn about resentment in marriage and how you can go about dealing with resentment in marriage. If you feel you need help connecting with a counselor, you can write to us at email@example.com and we can help you with your search.
Lots of love to you!
Take care and stay safe!