How to deal with resentment in a relationship?

This article will focus on discussing how one can deal with resentment in a relationship. It will also explain what causes resentment in a relationship, how to prevent it, and how it impacts the relationship.

How to deal with resentment in a relationship? 

When resentment takes over your relationship, know that there are ways to deal with it. Here is what you can do.

Recognize you are experiencing resentment 

Sometimes you may not know that what you are feeling is resentment. All you can feel is that something has changed in the way you feel about your partner, there is a sense of sadness or even disappointment, but you can’t grasp exactly what is happening.

When that is the case, it may be important that you dig deep into your feelings, to recognize them. For that, you may write how you are feeling, and try to answer what has made you feel like this. That will help you figure out why this is happening, and then later you can focus on acting on whatever is making you resent them.

Try to focus on the positive 

When resentment takes over you, it can often just make you just want to quit the relationship. If that is happening to you, you can try to think of the positive things that this relationship has brought you.

This won’t make resentment go away from one moment to the next, but it will give you a chance to look at your relationship as a whole, so you can decide if you are going to put in the work to deal with the resentment, or if you are just letting go of the relationship.

Learn what is your role in this situation 

Resentment is often based on each person’s perception. You may feel like something your partner did has left you resenting them, but if it was the other way around, for them it wouldn’t be a problem, but they could resent you for something different.

Because of that, you must understand that the resentment is yours and that you need to address it. So when it happens, communicate it with your partner, otherwise, you are also responsible for letting things get worse, and resentment takes over your relationship.

Think if it is possible to compromise

Whenever you are resenting your partner about something, try to understand if the two of you can find a compromise in the situation. If you resent, for example, that your partner is not caring for their finances as well as they should, what you can do is talk about it with them, and maybe separate how each of you deals with the finances.

Knowing that you won’t be able to control the other person, but that the two of you can have a strategy to not let this matter take over you can be a powerful tool in preventing resentment to get the best of you. 

If you feel that having conversations towards compromising has become difficult in your relationship, you may look for professional help. Getting a couple’s therapist can surely help the two of you to talk about how you feel, and think of ways to deal with the conflict you are in.

What causes resentment in a relationship? 

Resentment can build a relationship for various reasons. It often will come from the perception that your partner hasn’t treated you in an unfair or bad way. So even if they didn’t mean to act in that way, or meant to cause you pain, you can feel extremely disappointed in their actions.

Aside from that, research has shown that resentment seems to be the combination of many feelings such as anger, surprise, disgust, and even shock. Because resentment often comes from the perception the person has of how others acted towards them, there are no fixed rules on what would make you resent a person. 

What is known is that people that have codependent relationships, or even people that have trouble confronting others will often be more resentful because it can be difficult for them to tell others how they are feeling, and what they need, which tends to make problems bigger than they were initially.

How can I prevent resentment from taking over my relationship? 

If you don’t want resentment to take over you, and your relationship, there are some things you can do to prevent it.

Talk about matters as they start to bother you 

Sometimes, when things bother you in a relationship, you can decide to just let it go, and wait for the feeling to pass. You may want to avoid a discussion, or even fear that your relationship is too fragile, and if anything happens, it may lead it to end.

But it is by avoiding dealing with things that you will make your relationship worse. Not dealing with things as they happen will make you bottle up your thoughts and feelings. And at some point, you will either just spill it all out, or feel that the unsaid things are eating you up, and making you resent your partner.

Improve the way you communicate 

In other cases, you may even decide to tell your partner what is bothering you, but your communication skills are not that good, and you realize that you are not giving them the proper information about what you want or need from them.

Writing out what seems to be bothering you can help you have a clear idea of what is the matter and can help you know what to tell them.

Don’t expect too much of your partner

Sometimes we may have the expectations that our partners will know, or even guess everything we need or want. And it is important to know that this will not happen.

Your partner will never know what you need unless you tell them. In the same way, you can’t expect them to want the same thing as you do all the time, and communication will surely help you manage the expectations you have of them, allowing you to not resent them.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): How to deal with resentment in a relationship? 

What are the signs that resentment is taken over my relationship?

When resentment is taking over your relationship, you may notice that you and your partner have a lot of unresolved arguments. At that moment it seems like everything they do is bothering you, but the two of you are unable to discuss it.

It may also happen that there is not enough attention given to the partner and the relationship. This can appear in various forms, from not being heard, to not making time to be together. When resentment is taking over it is also common that you will spend most of your time thinking about the negative things.

You will also be less interested in physical intimacy, and will often criticize your partner for every little thing they do. Resentment also builds space for the idea of retaliation, so it may be that when you resent your partner, you will likely have plans to retaliate against them for something they did.

Is it normal to feel resentment in a relationship?

Yes, experiencing a little resentment against your partner can be normal. That was even more common, for example, during the isolation times of COVID 19. 

You and your partner may have been locked inside the same house for so long that at some point someone may have done something that wasn’t perceived as positive by the other.

In that case, resentment can easily build up, and it is not only through COVID times, that your partner can also do, every day something that doesn’t feel good to you. But the issue with resentment is that you shouldn’t let it build up, and grow unresolved.

That is when resentment turns into a problem, that can even ruin a relationship. So if you don’t want that to happen, you and your partner should have an open line of communication in which the two of you can discuss those matters, and let resentment go.

Are resentment and hate the same thing?

No, resentment and hate are not the same things. Resenting someone means you are feeling something negative towards them because they have done something that you perceived as negative. 

And you may feel it without them even realizing they did something you didn’t like, but it is likely something that has a root and can be worked on.

Differently from that, hating someone can often be a more irrational condition, it may not be related to any wrongdoing by the other person, being sometimes even illogical. It is mostly an emotional response, that sometimes is difficult to move past.

Can resentment be a choice?

In talking about the fact if resentment is a choice or not, it is important to keep in mind that, first of all, what builds resentment can change from one person to another. And that doesn’t mean that it is a choice, but rather a perception of being affected by something or not.

But resentment in itself can be a choice. When you are resenting someone you are deciding not to forgive them, or even move past the matter. And it is understood that, sometimes, letting go of things may be harder than we can think, but working towards letting resentment go is ultimately a choice.

Is there a difference between being resentful, or being bitter?

Yes, although the two can be similar, and often happen together, there are some differences between someone resentful and someone bitter. A resentful person is usually experiencing this feeling towards something or someone. It is something that there is a target.

But bitterness is when a person has a deep sense of not agreeing, or even feeling angry towards a person, or even a group of people.

Why is my partner angry at every little thing I do?

When your partner seems to get angry at every little thing you do, it may be a sign that they are not angry at that action. It may be that those new behaviors are making them relieve situations they were mad at you in the past but didn’t deal with.

This means that they may be always angry because they are resentful of you.


This article focused on telling you how you can deal with resentment in your relationship. It also explained what causes resentment to build up in the relationship, and how to prevent that from happening.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.


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