How to Get Past Feelings of Resentment in Relationships

Feelings of resentment can be toxic to the health of your relationship.
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You’re feeling hurt, bitter and angry toward your significant other. He may have forgotten a special occasion, such as your birthday, or didn’t invite you when he went out with friends. Regardless, you can get past feelings of resentment in your relationship by understanding the source of your resentment, discussing it with your partner and coming to a resolution.

1 Identify Feelings of Resentment

It's important to recognize that resentment stems from not having your needs met, says Charlie Glickman, who holds a doctorate in adult sexuality education, and is the author of “Resentment: The Biggest Relationship Killer.” Think about the underlying reason for your feelings of resentment. For instance, you may feel that your significant other does not make you a priority in his life, or is not meeting your expectations, resulting in feelings of resentment.

2 Communication is Key

When you feel resentful, discuss your feelings with your significant other. When you don’t talk about your feelings of resentment, feelings of anger and bitterness can stew, creating distance between yourself and your significant other, says Glickman. Don’t pretend that nothing is bothering you or minimize your feelings. Neglecting to confront an issue of resentment does not resolve the issue. Rather, unresolved resentment negatively impacts your relationship and positive feelings towards your partner, says Babi Pecenco Kolski, a therapist and author of “Marriage: The Impact of Resentment on Relationships.”

3 Approach Your Significant Other

When you start to feel resentful toward your significant other, approach him immediately. Even if you feel that the issue might be perceived as trivial, bring it up before it gets blown out of proportion. Pick a time when you are calm and can talk without distraction. Express your feelings and avoid pointing blame by using “I” statements, suggests Clay Tucker-Ladd, a clinical psychologist and author of “Building Assertiveness in 4 Steps.” For example, you might say, “I’m feeling resentful because I don’t feel that I’m getting enough attention.”

4 Reach a Resolution

Resolve the issue with your significant other so that you can let go of your feelings of resentment. While venting can make you feel better, at other times, you may have to come up with a solution to meet your needs. Tell your significant other specifically what changes you’d like to see, says Tucker-Ladd. For instance, if you feel that your significant other places more value on his friends than on you, you might ask that he spend another night of the week with you. If your significant other is not willing to make changes to meet your needs, you need to decide if the relationship is worth continuing, says Kolski.

Stacey Elkins is a writer based in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Masters in social work from the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she specialized in mental health.