Resentment in a Relationship

Resentment in a Relationship

You may fins yourself in a situation where resentment is part of your relationship. So, What is resentment?, And How do you deal with it?

Resentment is unresolved annoyance and frustration. Resentment in a relationship commonly comes from misinterpretation and misunderstanding of one’s intention. Sometimes it turns into an argument and other times it can give rise to resentment. When undressed, this resentment can become chronic and eat away at your relationship. When resentment persists for a long time, it can manifest in seeing your partner as an enemy. You will have negative emotions when they do something that displeases you and leaves you feeling angry.

In this article, you will learn about resentment, how it affects your relationship, and different ways to dealing with it.

What Is Resentment in a Relationship?

Let’s have a look at what resentment means. Here’s the definition of resentment according to the Merriam-webster dictionary:

1: a feeling of anger or displeasure about someone or something unfair

2: a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will at something regarded as a wrong, insult, or injury

When you resent someone you are basically perceiving the action that a person did as wrong. When you see things as good and bad, you are assigning moralistic judgements to the actions of others.

When a person does something, you interpret it based on your experience, values, beliefs, and expectations whether that something is good, bad, or enough.

Resentment in a relationship tends be linked to unfulfilled expectations you have about what your partner should or shouldn’t do. So, when your partner doesn’t do what you expect them to do, or do something else, you can perceive it as wrong and unfair.

When you are resented you feel that things were done to you on purpose. For example, you will be resented when the expectations for your partner to be loving and caring with you are not met. Or when they spend too much time in work and your time together is less and less.

Or, when your partner stops helping with house chores because they are busy with something else. And, you perceive it as if they are not fulfilling their commitment, and being unfair on you having to do everything.

What Causes Resentment in a Relationship?

There are many causes that can lead to resentment. It depends on what your expectations are, what you perceive as right or wrong, and what you feel as being unfairly done to you.

Resentment comes from unfulfilled expectations. For example, you do something for your partner expecting them to be able to do the same for you in the future, but maybe this does not happen and you feel let down.

You may consider your partner did it on purpose, and that they don’t care for you. Or that you are doing more for them and they are doing little to none for you. Then you start resenting them.

When you expect that you and your partner contribute 50/50 to your relationship regardless of anything else. There can be annoyance and irritability when this arrangement is not fulfilled.

Here are some causes of resentment in a relationship:

  • Unsatisfied sexual needs
  • Unfulfilled expectations
  • Spending less time together
  • Feeling unheard
  • Feeling not cared for
  • Your partner not paying attention to you
  • Not expressing the things that are bothering you and expect your partner to know what’s wrong
  • Thinking you are giving too much and not receiving enough
  • Doing things you don’t want to do just to please your partner
  • Wanting things to be done in a certain way and this way to be the only right way

How Does Resentment Affect a Relationship?

Resentment is a sign that you have unresolved issues and eventually lead to a toxic relationship. When you are resenting your partner, your relationship will start suffering from:

  • Lack of empathy
  • Lack of communication
  • You may want to treat your partner in the way you feel they are treating you
  • Thinking you are giving too much
  • Having negative thoughts about your partner and your relationship
  • Your relationship will turn bitter
  • You will start communicating with passive aggression
  • Arguments and fights that could end in insults
  • Lack of physical and emotional intimacy
  • Turn your relationship toxic
  • Thinking you can be better off with another partner that appreciates you
  • Cheating

Signs of Resentment in a Relationship

  • Pointing out faults to your partner
  • Having some awkward silent moments when you are together
  • Saying things like ‘you always’ or ‘you never’ do something
  • Withdrawing emotionally or sexually
  • Stop caring much for your relationship
  • Having the same arguments over and over
  • Feeling annoyed when you partner does or doesn’t do something and keeping your frustrations to yourself
  • Making sarcastic jokes about your partner not doing enough in the house
  • Being constantly annoyed, upset or angry at your partner

How to Deal with Resentment in a Relationship

  1. Acknowledge your feelings of annoyance, and frustration
  2. Identify what is causing these emotions
  3. Share them with your partner
  4. Tell your partner how their behaviour, (what exactly they say, and do) that leave you feeling annoyed and frustrated.
  5. Talk to your partner about possible changes you could make to have a healthy relationship with love and understanding.
  6. If you are struggling to deal with resentment on your own, consider getting professional help.

Dealing with resentment can be challenging. Resentment comes from negative emotions that accumulated as a result of unresolved issues. So, the reason it was hard to express these emotions and solve these problems previously is still the same.

In fact, now, dealing with these issues is harder because unexpressed emotions from before have piled up over time and probably became a lot more intense. Furthermore, the unresolved issues from the past are likely to have led to different problems. These two factors make dealing with resentment more challenging than addressing a resent issue.

Ending a Relationship Because of Resentment

If you do not express your frustrations right away and do nothing to address the issues as soon as they arise. Overtime they can build up and lead to resentment.

Unresolved resentment can lead to a toxic relationship and bring much misery and suffering to your life.

You will be so disappointed of your partner and relationship that you will want a way out of this suffering. At this point, it may no longer be worth staying together with your partner.


Resentment in a relationship can be a very challenging issue to address. By its nature, resentment comes as a result of unexpressed frustration about unresolved issues.

It manifests as chronic negative emotions and a build up of problems that quietly eat away at your relationship.

Overtime, resentment penetrates into every aspect of your relationship creating a toxic environment, which isn’t healthy for anyone.

By the time you become aware of resentment, you should be aware that the problems and frustrations that caused it has been part of your relationship for quite some time.

It’s also worth noting that the reasons you haven’t addressed these issues earlier are the same reasons you need to work through at the moment.

While it is quite challenging to handle resentment in a healthy and objective way. It is certainly possible to do provided both you and your partner have the willingness to do what it takes to have a healthy relationship.

Getting Help to Deal with Resentment in Your Relationship

Tips to Deal with Resentment in Your Relationship

  • Check if your expectations are realistic
  • Work on your communication
  • Work as a team, where you help each other
  • Agree on how to split the chores in the house
  • Realise if you want things to be done your way
  • Recognise the things your partner does
  • Talk to your partner about the things that are bothering you before they turn into a bigger issue
  • Don’t expect your partner to comply with what you want them or not to do
  • Process the emotions that are building up or they can destroy your relationship

If you don’t know how to deal with the resentment in your relationship and need professional help and advice, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a relationship recover from resentment?

You can get your relationship back on track provided you and your partner have the willingness to acknowledge your frustrations, express your emotions, hear each other out, and objectively deal with unresolved issues.

Is resentment normal in a relationship?

Resentment is a result of chronic frustration and unresolved issues. It can quietly destroy your relationship unless you become aware of your feelings and can openly express them to your partner.

Can a relationship survive resentment?

The only way for a relationship to survive is by acknowledging the resentment and dealing with it appropriately.

Does resentment kill love?

Resentment can lead to you seeing your partner as an enemy. Once you do that, you are no longer working together towards common goals. At this point having this relationship doesn’t make sense.

How do you let go of resentment?

To help you deal with resentment, the first step you could do is to let it go by:
• Changing the way you look at the situation
• Changing the way you see your partner
This does not replace the fact that you still need to address the underlying reasons for your frustration that led to the resentment in the first place.

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