If you want to keep your love relationship or marriage healthy and close, here’s something to watch out for because it can cause disconnection and even lead to breakups or divorce…
The Big “R.”
No, it’s none of these.
The Big “R” we’re talking about is something that can start out quietly– maybe even on a deep, unconscious level. From there, it gradually builds and builds. It’s not easily ignored even though a lot of people try to pretend it’s not there.
At a certain point, it becomes SO big it destroys the love and connection that was once present in the relationship.
Recovery is possible, but doesn’t always happen.
Resentment is the relationship-killer we’re referring to.
When resentment takes hold in a relationship, love, passion and connection are suffocated. The person (or both people) mostly, or only, feel the irritation, anger, blame, hostility and fury that boils within.
The reason why we call resentment the Big “R” is because, even when it’s “small” and new, it can bring BIG problems to a relationship.
How does resentment form?
Resentment doesn’t usually appear all at once. It builds and can often be traced back to an array of different– but related– experiences.
- It might be the way that your partner teases you and makes jokes at your expense.
- It may be his or her comments about your weight or body size.
- It could be the fact that your partner never seems to do any housework.
- It could be how little money your partner brings home to contribute to your joint finances.
- It might even be how successful your partner appears to be (compared to your own accomplishments).
Resentment can develop because of the things your partner says and does or because of what he or she does NOT say or do.
The more you can learn about your resentment, the easier it will be for you to resolve it and let it go. Then, you can get back to living the kind of happy and connected life you want to live.
Resolve your resentment.
Two important questions to ask yourself are these:
- How do you treat your partner when you feel resentful?
- How do you treat yourself when you feel resentful?
You might not feel comfortable with or proud of your honest answers to these two questions, but this is really useful information to know.
A third question is:
- What are you willing to do to resolve your resentment?
You get to decide whether you will continue interacting with your partner and feeling the way that you do. The choice is yours to make…
Will you do what it takes to release this torment and to re-connect with your partner? Or not?
If you decide that resentment is causing more trouble in your relationship and is more painful than you want, then it’s time to get to the root of this Big “R.”
Think about a recent experience when you felt resentful about your partner. Get curious about what happened– be as objective as you can when recalling this. Also, try to remember what you were thinking.
If you can’t remember the thoughts that were going through your mind when you felt resentment, start to pay closer attention to your thoughts in general. What are some of your usual thoughts that switch you into irritation and annoyance at your partner?
Your thoughts are a vital clue that will help you know what will help you resolve your resentment and release it.
Sheila notices her thought, “He never appreciates me,” about her husband.
Jerry hears himself thinking, “My partner is so lazy! When will he get a job?!”
Elizabeth recognizes the familiar thought, “Will he ever stop shutting me out when he’s upset? He never shares his emotions!”
These are all distressing thoughts in different ways. Thoughts like these are often the fuel for resentment.
The thoughts that you frequently have that build up resentment in you can actually point the way to resolution, release and happiness.
The trick is to listen to your thoughts for the underlying need you have.
Is it a need for respect, acknowledgement, support, sharing or something else?
Once you know your need, then start formulating requests. Come up with a way to ask your partner for more of what you DO want instead of fixating on how you believe he or she is giving you what you don’t want.
Communicate your request or even a boundary without blame.
Speak with as much kindness, love and honesty as you can and really listen to your partner so that you two can create agreements that will help dissolve your resentment and move you closer to one another.