You resent your husband, but you want to stay married. Here are a few ideas for dealing with resentment in relationships, inspired by a reader’s comment.
Don’t Bite the Hook: Finding Freedom from Anger, Resentment, and Other Destructive Emotions by Pema Chodron will help you stay centered in the midst of difficulty, improve stressful relationships, and step out of the downward spiral of self-hatred.
Here’s what one resentful wife says on my article about leaving your husband: I have been married to my husband for 32 years. We both worked and contributed to paying our bills and creating assets throughout the years. He has been physically abusive to me a handful of times. He is non-communicative so I just learned from him to sweep our problems under the rug. We never talk about our problems. The last straw for me is when he retired early. He has a nice pension and I was happy for him. When I brought up the subject of him working a part-time job so we could sock some money away for me to be able to retire, he blew me off. I mean, who retires at 48? I will be working at least 20 years more than him. I find myself resenting him more each day. He hunts, fishes, and plays all the time. I’ve lost so much respect for him because of this. To be honest, I’m not sure I even love him anymore. I’m afraid if I don’t divorce him now, I’ll always wonder what could have been. Problem is, I’m scared. I don’t want to make a major mistake. What do you think I should do — any advice?
I don’t know the whole story, and I’m not giving specific advice. My thoughts are more general in nature, and I want to focus on what to do when you resent your husband.
Dealing With Resentment in Relationships
Figure out what you resent about your relationship. Do you resent handing over power to your husband? Often resentment indicates powerlessness or a lack of control. What have you given your husband – what does he control? Or, maybe you resent that he’s not more of a life partner. He’s not helping you retire early, he’s not meeting your needs, he’s not a “good” husband. I encourage you to write down all the things you resent about him. Be specific, and don’t worry if you’re being petty. Just be honest with yourself. That’s the first step towards dealing with relationship resentment, I think.
Attach feelings to your resentments. Do you feel frustrated because your husband does whatever he wants, and you have to take on more responsibilities? Are you jealous because he has all the free time in the world, and you are working your ass off? Tune in to how you feel.
Brainstorm ways to take your power back. The third step to dealing with resentment in relationships is to regain control. Look at the list of things you resent, and how you feel about his actions and statements. How can you regain control? Say, for example, you resent his recreational activities and how he spends his free time. What are you doing to pick up the slack – and what would it look like if you stopped?
You have more power than you think. You may feel helpless and scared, but you’re not. Your feelings and thoughts aren’t reality. What is real is your strength, intelligence, and resourcefulness. You have the ability to overcome this, to stop dealing with resentment in your relationship and start living your life with power and intention.
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Be scared, and take action. This is the best tip on dealing with relationship resentment because it applies to every little thing in life. Of course you’re scared to leave your husband and get divorced – it’s a huge life step! Of course you’re scared to change how you’ve been living – you’ve been living this way for years! Decades, even. So what if you’re scared. Be scared. But act.
Read How to End a Relationship When You’re Scared to Be Alone if you don’t want to think about dealing with resentment in relationships. Maybe it’s time to move on.
What do you think of these tips for dealing with resentment in relationships? I welcome your thoughts below…
I added new information about gratitude in relationships, and republished this article on The Love Blog: How to Stop Feeling Insecure in Your Relationships.