All couples have high hopes when they get married… but as time goes by, many relationships start to deteriorate, and where does it lead? If you’re feeling a lot of negative emotions and just hold them in, they’ll lead to resentment in marriage.
Unfortunately, that loving feeling from the beginning of the relationship fades away over time for many couples. Marriage is certainly not the same as dating and couples often start resenting each other.
When you’re just dating, everything is about enjoying the new experience. Once you’re married, months and then years go by and there aren’t many new things.
It’s just the two of you keeping quiet about the things that have been bothering you for all that time. This happens to many married couples, and sometimes even leads to divorce.
Yes, there are happily married couples… but those who have been married for a long time often start resenting each other.
If they don’t express their hurt feelings for a long time, those feelings just boil up inside them… and it creates a huge problem.
Once you realize that your spouse and you resent each other, it can seem like it’s all over.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be because you can learn how to deal with resentment in marriage.
Resentment doesn’t mean that your marriage has come to an end.
If you’re both willing to work on your problems, this could be just another rough patch that you survive.
Most of the time, this problem occurs when one spouse repeatedly takes advantage of the other or takes them for granted.
Regardless of whether they do it unknowingly or not, it causes resentment in marriage.
When bad behavior and unhealthy patterns turn into habits, it just makes the resentment grow.
You need to find out the cause of resentful feelings in your marriage.
Other things such as habitual selfish behavior or being focused solely on work can also cause it.
When the couple has children, one parent favoring one of them over the other can create a problem too.
If you do have children, you could resent your partner for not being entirely present with them.
It’s also not good to spend a lot more time with one spouse’s family than with the other spouse’s family.
Sometimes, even not being entirely present at home can be the cause of resentment.
As you can see, many things can lead to resentment. Often, it occurs because one spouse expects too much of the other.
I will tell you all about the issues that may cause resentment in your marriage, but you need to know something first…
Both spouses need to identify the problem, address it, and try to find the solution together.
Resentment in marriage is something you can surely overcome, but you need to work on it together.
Don’t let this problem ruin your marriage, and let me tell you everything about it and how to deal with it.
You’re about to learn everything you need to know about resentment… and how to prevent it from destroying your marriage.
What is resentment in marriage?
Resentment comes from negative emotions that have been piling up for some time. It could come from feeling angry, disappointed, or hurt.
These emotions don’t go away and instead accumulate and grow bigger over time.
As the resentment persists, the couple finds it harder to express empathy and love to each other.
This happens because of the neglected and unheard pain they’ve been carrying around.
Resentment in marriage is one of the most toxic emotions that can occur in a relationship.
With time, it can cause a lot of major problems so it’s best to address the issue as soon as possible.
What causes resentment in marriage?
A lot of reasons can cause resentment to build up. Most often, it occurs when one of the spouses feels that they’re more attentive and loving.
Unattended emotions like this can turn into contempt… and contempt can destroy your relationship.
No one wants to feel devalued, unappreciated, or taken for granted.
If your partner does certain things that make you feel that way, it can make you resent them.
Negative emotions must not be ignored. If your spouse takes you for granted (whether intentionally or unintentionally), you need to talk about it.
If you don’t feel cared for, you’ll also feel hurt, frustrated, and disappointed. Naturally, there’s no room for these negative feelings in a happy marriage.
We often know when our loved one upsets us, but we don’t realize how our feelings can affect the relationship.
Don’t ever forget that negative feelings lead to resentment so it’s best to address the issue as soon as it occurs.
To find out whether you’re at risk of resentment building up in your marriage, answer these questions:
Do you always need to be right and win every fight?
When one partner sees the other as a competitor instead of a teammate, it often builds up resentment.
If either of you always tries to be right and win every argument, it will cause resentment in your marriage.
Is the resentment in marriage caused by selfishness?
It’s pretty impossible for a marriage to be productive if one of the partners thinks only of their own needs.
Both spouses need to have in mind each other’s needs as equal to their own as possible.
Do you neglect each other?
Often, people who’ve been together for a while get lazy when they’re married.
They assume that they’ve already done everything they should and that their partner isn’t going anywhere.
Most of the time, spouses start to neglect each other and take the relationship for granted.
Naturally, this leads to resentment later on in the marriage.
Is abuse causing resentment in marriage in your case?
There should be no room for bad treatment in a marriage, but it still often happens.
Abuse can be emotional, mental, or physical. Where there is abuse there is resentment, but abuse should never be tolerated in the first place.
Do you ignore your spouse’s feelings?
Ignoring your spouse’s feelings indicates selfishness. Otherwise, you would pay a lot more attention to how your partner is feeling.
If they’re ignored whenever they talk to you about their feelings, it will definitely cause resentment.
Did betrayal or cheating cause resentment in your marriage?
When you’re married, you can’t cheat on your spouse. Whether it’s emotional or physical infidelity, it will make your spouse feel negatively about you.
The result of this later on in the relationship is resentment.
What happens to the relationship when there’s resentment?
If resentment keeps building up for months or years, it often leads to withdrawal.
When spouses withdraw, they become physically or/and emotionally distant from each other.
How can there be love and intimacy when instead of growing closer together, you’re drifting apart?
Resentment can also lead to fighting too often.
Naturally, occasional conflicts are normal but there’s no need to argue all the time when you’re in a healthy relationship.
Both partners need to be able to discuss their problems productively and calmly.
When there’s resentment though, fighting can get really ugly and involve serious insults.
In addition, resentment can even lead to neglect or abuse. Even if either of these weren’t the direct cause of resentment, they can be the result of it.
What are the surefire signs of resentment in marriage?
Every marriage is different, and when it comes to resentment, it manifests differently in different marriages.
There are some similarities though, and the common signs of resentment are not that hard to notice.
Here are the signs your marriage may be in trouble due to resentment:
1. Your partner is dismissive and doesn’t listen to you.
2. There’s no more intimacy in your marriage.
3. You often argue and the fights get intense even when something minor is the cause of them.
4. You, your spouse, or both of you are passive-aggressive.
5. You avoid spending time with your partner or talking about meaningful things with them.
6. You often mention divorce, even if it’s not in a serious manner but as a joke.
7. You feel sad, hopeless, helpless, or indifferent about your marriage.
8. You don’t feel like a married couple and you feel more like roommates.
9. You only talk about the things you must talk about, such as daily chores.
10. You don’t do fun things together or you don’t even talk anymore.
11. Your sentences are short and brief and you respond mostly with yes or no.
12. You avoid making eye contact with your spouse and often don’t even look at them.
13. You don’t show affection and you don’t hold hands, snuggle, or hug anymore.
14. You don’t use loving or romantic language any longer.
15. You hold grudges and you can’t forgive your spouse.
What if you’re the one who resents your spouse?
If you resent your spouse, you’ve probably been holding in unpleasant feelings for a while now.
The issue may be something as simple as your partner not taking out the trash and neglecting that daily chore.
Instead, it could be something more complicated like your partner spending too much time with their side of the family.
You can try writing down all of your feelings. Things just kept piling up and you need to pinpoint what exactly the problem is.
By writing it down, you’ll gain clarity and eventually get to the root of your problem.
While you’re writing, try to self-reflect and answer some questions.
Have you been carrying something around all this time even though it happened a long time ago?
Is there a pattern that repeats or something that never got resolved?
Try to find a positive perspective when looking at what the problem is.
Do you have some unrealistic expectations that you can let go of or at least lower?
Can you see things from a different point of view now that you’ve found the root of your resentment?
These things will help you, but at some point, your spouse will need to get involved in solving the problem.
Things are surely not going to change if you don’t tell them how you really feel.
They may be perfectly happy with the way things are while you’re hurting.
Try suggesting a compromise or a positive solution that you’re both okay with.
For instance, if your spouse wants to spend the weekend with their family, ask that they spend Saturday with them and Sunday with you.
It may be good to set some boundaries too.
If the problem is that your partner is a workaholic, you can ask them not to use their phone during date night or dinner.
As long you don’t make unreasonable demands, you’ll experience a positive change.
The two of you need to meet halfway to make your marriage work.
Think about what small adjustments they can make to their habits that can change your life for the better.
What if your spouse is the one who resents you?
You may not even notice that your spouse feels resentful. Eventually, it will become noticeable though, and things will get uncomfortable.
You may want to blame your partner’s mood changes on them, but it may not be their fault.
They may just be resentful toward a certain behavior or habit of yours.
If you think that your partner resents you, try to find out the cause of that resentment.
It may not be clear right away but try to be as objective as you can.
Most people find it hard to see their own flaws without someone pointing them out from their own perspective.
Approach your partner with care and vulnerability and ask them to tell you whether something about you is bothering them.
Ask whether you did something that hurt them.
The answer may not be pleasant to hear but hear them out and take them seriously.
Don’t be defensive and show your understanding when you listen to your spouse’s answer.
Once you find out what’s causing their resentful feelings toward you, you need to take action.
It’s not going to be easy and no change ever is, but it will be worth the trouble.
How to stop resentment?
If both of you are committed to getting your marriage back on track, it will work, even though it won’t be easy.
You can’t keep holding in resentful feelings; you need to address them and talk to your partner about them.
Talking about problems isn’t easy for those who’d like to avoid them instead but resentment won’t just disappear on its own.
Once you start having open conversations with your spouse about the cause of the resentment, things will start looking up.
Discuss things and offer suggestions that may resolve your problems.
Most of the time, when one spouse is feeling resentful, so is the other one.
If your partner denies feeling resentful or doesn’t want to change, you’ll have to take charge.
Try to apologize to each other and forgive one another for the mistakes from the past.
If you manage to start over and turn over a new leaf, you will both be happier.
From now on, you’ll need to recognize any situations that may cause resentment.
Make a conscious decision to become more aware of these situations and not let them affect your marriage.
Here are the simple steps you can take that will help you get rid of the resentment in your marriage:
1. Acknowledge your feelings and express them
You should never deny or hide your feelings, but sometimes people don’t even acknowledge them.
Maybe you grew up in surroundings where expressing emotions was discouraged.
Getting in touch with your true feelings will help you see things more clearly.
It’ll help you realize where you stand and how you can stop the resentment from building up.
2. Tell your partner about how you feel and be very direct and clear
Once you acknowledge your feelings, you need to let your spouse know about them.
No one can read your mind and people aren’t always that good at picking up on subtle cues.
To you, it may be obvious how you feel, but your spouse may not be aware of it.
You need to be very direct and clear about your feelings and let your partner know what you need.
3. Stop holding grudges to stop resentment in your marriage from building up
When people feel resentful, they often hold grudges. Holding a grudge has never been good in any type of relationship, let alone a marriage.
If you’re harboring your feelings, you need to let them out and stop holding grudges.
Try writing down all the reasons why holding grudges is in no way helpful.
4. Forgive your spouse
Even something relatively minor can create negative feelings which turn into resentment.
Maybe it doesn’t feel minor to you, but try to see it as objectively as you can.
What may help you forgive your spouse is writing down all the things you resent your spouse for.
Look at the list and decide what you can forgive them for and what you can let go of.
5. Talk to your spouse about it, not to others
It’s only natural to feel like you need to vent to someone about your resentment toward your spouse.
You may want to talk about it to your family, friends, or anyone willing to listen, but don’t.
Talking to others won’t help you, but talking to your spouse about it may.
6. Have empathy to stop the resentment in marriage from building up
Having empathy means trying to see things from someone else’s point of view.
It’s not that easy to do in any situation, and it gets even harder when you’re resentful.
You can still try anyway, and keep in mind that there are two sides to every story.
7. Focus on what’s good about your spouse
This is the person you chose to marry so they surely have at least some good qualities. Think about the things you really like about them.
Instead of focusing solely on the negative things you resent them for, try to focus on their good sides.
Okay, so there’s something wrong there, but what is good about your spouse?
This is just one of the rules for a happy marriage, and your marriage can be happy again.
8. Seek professional help to stop the resentment from building up
Maybe you’re seeing obvious signs you’re stuck in an unhappy marriage.
Sometimes, it’s impossible to get past resentment all on your own even if your spouse tries to help you.
In these cases, it’s a good idea to seek professional help.
Maybe you just need an objective third party to get your marriage back on track, so try counseling.
Can resentment cause your marriage to end?
Unfortunately, resentment can destroy your marriage and you may need to learn how to accept your marriage is over.
You don’t have to let resentment ruin everything you worked so hard on.
Sooner or later, you’ll have to take action and work on your marriage to get it back on track.
As long as you’re both willing to sort things out, talk about feelings, and change the way you behave, it will work out.
The sooner you start working on it, the more likely it is that you’ll save your marriage and be happy together like you used to be.
Resentment increases when either of the spouses feels neglected, uncared for, or unappreciated.
When people choose to simply ignore their resentful feelings, it gets even worse.
Your marriage still has a chance, as long as you identify the causes of resentment and work on them.
You need to take care of each other and your bond will grow stronger. Don’t let resentment ruin what can be your happily ever after.