Fighting Resentment In Your Relationship

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resentment blog sex with emilyLike a Chia Pet you totally forgot about, resentment can grow without anyone really noticing. One day, over coffee and bagels, seemingly out of nowhere, you realize you can’t stand the way your partner chews. Not only that, you can’t stand how they never help with dishes. They take up so much space in your house and made you cancel plans to go to their work event. You love your partner and have no plans on calling it quits, and yet, you can’t help but notice that resentment is there in full force. 

Maybe you keep asking your partner to help around the house and you keep getting ignored. Maybe you can’t stop wondering if you would quit your job and move to another city to be with your boo. Even the best relationships have their bitter moments. 

Though inspirational memes and canvas tote bags worn by women at the farmers market may tell us to “Speak Our Truths”, the truth is, being honest with the people you love can be really frickin’ difficult. And when you’ve been dealing with the same problem over, you just noticed that you’re feeling kind of off about something, or you’re so far deep into a relationship conflict you’ve given up hope — it can feel impossible to know how to come clean about your feelings and move forward together. 

 

Identify the Signs of Resentment 

The first step to working through resentment is to notice when you’re feeling it. Are you starting to keep a mental tally of all the things your partner is doing wrong? Intentionally going out of your way to not do things for your partner to “teach them a lesson”? Are you feeling unfulfilled or unhappy about something and blaming it on them? It’s never easy to take a hard look at your unhappy emotions. But knowing when you’re starting to resent your partner can help you better work through the friction. 

Additionally, being more mindful about your partner’s feelings may help you see when they’re starting to feel bitter or uneasy. How do you know when your partner is hungry? Do they get crabby? Tired? Do they just start cooking something for themselves within checking in with you? Or what about when they’re angry or stressed or sad. While resentment is undoubtedly a harder emotion to spot in someone (perhaps because we’re often so good at hiding it), it still comes out in little ways. If you’re feeling like your partner is starting to resent you, (they’re being withholding or snippy, they’re flaking on plans, etc.) it’s time to talk. 

 

Identify The Causes of Resentment 

Once you know what you (or your boo) is feeling, it’s important to understand why you’re feeling that way and what the heck you need to do about it. Are you upset about your sex life? Do you feel like you’re missing out on something by being in a relationship? Do you need to re-divide the household chores or bills? 

Try to unpack what it is that’s causing you to feel bitter or unsatisfied, and go from there. While you don’t need to solve every single problem in one sitting, getting clear on the changes that need to be made can help you and your partner move past your negative feelings. 

 

Find Ways To Speak Your Truth 

Again, telling the truth isn’t always easy. You (probably) don’t want to hurt your partner’s feelings. You (probably)  don’t want to start a huge fight over something. Or maybe you’re feeling a little sheepish because your boo has asked you if you were upset about something and you said no, when you meant yes, and no you have no idea how to backtrack and tell them you actually were upset, and still are. 

If literally speaking is hard, find ways that you can express your emotions to your partner. Does it help to write your thoughts down? Would having a neutral third party like a counselor or therapist help? Do you want to each write letters to each other? Is it easier to talk when you’re at the grocery store or doing a project around the house and not just sitting and looking at each other? Find the ways that you and your partner best communicate and make time in your schedule for that to happen. When you talk openly about your feelings, you stop them from secretly growing in the background. 

 

Know That It’s OK To Be Petty (Sometimes) 

Listen, being jealous or angry or sad isn’t fun. It’s not enjoyable to walk around with a negative raincloud over your head. That being said, if you are feeling jealous or upset or angry or mad or petty about something — you don’t need to feel pressure not to feel your feelings. It’s OK to be a drama queen sometimes. It’s OK to overreact or to be childish about your partner having a hot coworker or hating taking out the garbage. 

Resentment can bred from feeling like you can’t express yourself or that you haven’t been heard or validated in your emotions. While it’s important to be mindful and considerate of others, expressing your emotions as they happen can nip potential resentment in the bud. It’s OK to tell your partner that you’re feeling jealous. It’s OK to tell them that you’re questioning quitting your job. When you let them in on your feelings from the get-go, they may be able to help you feel better about whatever it is you’re feeling. 

 

 

 


Griffin Wynne is a non-binary writer, artist, and plain seltzer drinker. When they’re not discussing sex in the ~digital era~ or crying to the Dixie Chicks, Griffin enjoys camping, reading, used clothes, and documentaries about cults. They’re a Capricorn King, a genderless cowgirl, and a ’70s mama who is always down for dollar oysters and road trips. Griffin uses they/them pronouns and has the same birthday as Kyle Richards.

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