By: Sarha Machamer 

Even in the most adequate functioning relationship, resentment can be present. How does this happen? Resentment is when one partner feels they are being treated unfairly and emotions become overwhelming. The emotions that may align with resentment are bitterness, disappointment, jealousy, anger, and many more that can put you in a poor mindset. 

Resentment tends to take over when negative emotions become present in an uncomfortable situation. As human beings, we try to be level-headed in our approach to solving the dilemma, but bias from the past seems to lead our judgment. Some examples could be disguising our hurtful comments as “jokes” or our behaviors that don’t match what we are trying to communicate verbally. Retaining resentment creates the perfect atmosphere for an argument to appear with our significant other because we are in a negative headspace. What could have been a rational conversation, now turns into a whirlwind of arguments, over multiple days. It can be hard to communicate how you feel if you don’t know how to or it could be difficult to understand your partner because you aren’t feeling the way they do.  Whether this is being done cognizant or not, the relationship suffers immensely. Over time the quality of the relationship will become strained if resentment is not handled. This snowball effect will eventually lead to destructive emotions in the relationship. The 5 R’s, reflect, role, revival, rebuild, and rehearsal is five ways that can help relieve resentment in your relationship.

Reflect- Journaling is a great way to create a tally of current resentments in your relationship. Journaling about past events can help us clarify situations where resentment took place. 

Role- What is the part you played in the issue? Shed light on your role and look at things from your partner’s perspective. This understanding helps bring self-awareness and helps show understanding for your actions. Ask questions to your partner to help understand their side.

Revival- “Let go” of resentment. To revive the relationship you must revert your focus back to what you CAN control and “let go” of everything else. Revive the positive mantra in your relationship to help counteract the painful thoughts. Thinking of the positivity in your relationship and shining light on your partner will show appreciation. We need to strengthen ourselves with positivity and gratitude towards one another. When we learn to let go of the bad, it is important to harness and focus on the good. This does not make you passive to your feeling of injustice but creates acceptance of your partner’s feelings. A great way to revive yourself and break up with resentment is to engage in self-care and be mindful. When we are able to be in a healthier place ourselves it shows our relationship in a different light.

Rebuild- During conversations with your significant other, stay present. Rein yourself in if you find your mind wondering. Rebuild your communication patterns, it’s important to stay present in conversations with your partner. Staying present is the only way you will be able to hear your partner and provide true empathy for your partner. Reinforce this process by trying to keep eye contact with your partner or use grounding techniques to stay focused. This can help to eliminate destructive emotions that become present when one is harboring resentment.

Rehearse- Know it is a process and it takes time. There will be ups and downs and it can be a lifelong process.  Harboring resentment can be exhausting and take a large amount of your timekeeping in negative emotions. If you are ready to take the next step, start creating healthy positive habits. It is important to remember to be gentle with yourself. You’re not going to fix it all in one go-around. Over time rehearsing the positive habits, will increase the healing of resentment within your relationship. 

Resentment is normal in relationships, the important key aspects are how to communicate it to your partner and how you both work through it. Hopefully, the five steps can help you provide insight on ways to work through resentment in your relationship.

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