Resenting somebody is not as simple as disliking them or finding them annoying; rather, it’s a feeling that is related to the repetition of painful patterns relating to unaddressed difficulties. Yep, I know that may sound hideously complex, but it’s a relatively simple concept once you unpack it.
And you should take the time to unpack it – because the truth is that resenting your partner (even if you don’t realize that you’re doing it) is not great for your love life. But there is a bright side: Your relationship is not doomed if you realize that you’ve been feeling resentful; you can notice and resolve your resentment.
Make a list of all your resentments and communicate them to your partner. Also, come to the conversation with what solutions would look like. You must explore resentment because it impacts every area of your relationship and does not allow both of you to thrive. They must be revealed and discussed constructively with action steps. This show comes with many of the tools to do this.
So what is to be done if you’ve been in a relationship for some time, and hurts have built up and led to resentment and unresolved anger and pain? Is there hope for empathy to regain a foothold in your relationship, so that true intimacy can begin flourishing once again? What is the way forward when it feels like there is too much toxic water under the bridge, too much wreckage, to find your way back to a loving relationship? When the past is a minefield, can the present become peaceful?
If there’s hope for empathy to re-emerge in your relationship, even when resentment abounds, the answer is: probably. But if you asked me whether there are ways to try and rebuild the empathic bond in your relationship, I would answer with a resounding yes.
Yes, you can try. And yes, the only way you can know if what’s probable can become possible is to name it as a problem and give it your absolute best effort. One thing you can know for sure is that if you don’t try to address the resentment, it won’t go away by itself. Resentment is a cancer that metastasizes and eventually makes it impossible for a healthy relationship to survive.
I suggest that couples set an intention together to recreate empathy in their relationship because it helps to start with a conscious decision that’s named. Perhaps both of you want to deepen the intimacy or trust, or perhaps just ease the resentment.
The intention can be different for each of you, but what is important is that both of you have a desire and a willingness to bring attention to this issue. Sometimes one partner is not willing to set such an intention, often because of precisely the resentment that’s being addressed. Even if that’s the case, you can set an intention on your own; that’s not ideal, but it can still bring positive.
Tune in and learn how to cure the damage resentment in relationships brings to your life!
“Determined”, Courtesy of Christian Fregnan, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Fearless”, Courtesy of Tegan Mierle, Unsplash.com, CC0 License