Does Resentment Kill a Relationship?

Resentment is Just Anger That Isn’t Being Expressed

Resentment can really damage a relationship, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the relationship. While we may think of anger being expressed as stomping around or slamming doors or, on the other hand, as giving the silent treatment, resentment is anger in another form. Resentment is just anger that isn’t being expressed. It’s being held inside, and that’s something that stays with us. It eventually seeps into the relationship. 

What is Underneath the Anger?

What is underneath the anger? Maybe you’re feeling sad or hurt because your partner said something to you that didn’t consider your feelings.

Anger is a cover emotion – it usually hides another emotion. And resentment is unresolved anger, so resentment is really just anger you’re holding on to, and that anger is probably caused by other emotions. 

Related: Are You Passive-Aggressive in Your Relationship?

How Resentment Affects the Relationship – And How to Fix It

When we feel resentment, we create our own narratives about our partners – these stories about what we think is going on with our partners – and this can influence how you see your partner or how you see your relationship. We then begin to behave ‘ as if’ – meaning as if the narratives we’ve created are true. So then we are not able to be on the same side of an issue with our partner. But talking to our partners about the emotions we’re feeling, how it’s affecting our thoughts, our bodies, our lives – and then allowing our partners to do what they can to help us, that can allow us to figure things out together.

It’s perfectly ok to be angry with your partner! But it’s our responsibility to be able to work our way through it in such a way that we can share it and to share it in such a way that we can build a bridge. Then when we can really understand what’s really bothering us, and can really share that with our partner, then we’re in a position to really resolve the problem – so that our love can work.

In the following video, I go deeper into resentment in relationships and how you can work with your partner to remove resentment from your relationship.

Ready to Make Your Love Work?

Whether you’re struggling with feelings of resentment in your relationship, want to improve communication with your partner, or just want to avoid future problems before they arise, couples counseling can help. If you’re ready to make your love work, get started today.