Resentment is a type of unspoken anger that is toxic in relationships. Resentment in relationships stems from one partner feeling they have been treated unfairly. This is an indication that an imbalance is present in the relationship.
One harboring resentment may feel personally victimized and may be experiencing feelings of anger or shame. If the feelings of anger and shame are strong, it becomes difficult to talk about. As one continues to foster these emotions and holding them in, eventually they reach their limit and start expressing these emotions in the form of anger, disgust, and disappointment.
A disrespectful comment made by a partner could enable a build up of resentment, as could lack of attention. Unresolved resentment can cause conflict between partners, if left unresolved it could eventually lead to separation.
Here are 7 signs of resentment that show up in relationships:
1. Unresolved Arguments
You notice your partner continues to do things that bother you, despite you telling them. You start to complain to your partner and find faults in each other. One argument after the next and none of them are effectively spoken about. The same arguments continue to surface and you are left with many unresolved arguments. Eventually, this shifts the positive outlook on the relationship and over time, all you notice is the negative aspects of the relationship. Instead of focusing on the problem, you are focusing on your partner's flaws. In your mind, your partner becomes the problem and the relationship becomes daunting.
2. Lack of Attention
Lack of attention in a relationship can be apparent in different ways. If you feel like you are not being listened to, you may feel like your partner does not attend to you and you begin to build resentment toward them. If you feel like your partner no longer makes time for you, you may feel uncared for leading to feelings of resentment. Maybe you notice your partner is spending too much time on their phone or they are always late. This could elicit feelings of insecurities and distrust providing fuel for resentment.
3. Overthinking the Bad Experiences
You catch yourself persistently thinking about something that happened or something that was said which shaped strong emotions toward your partner. You feel emotionally stuck and unable to stop thinking about it.
4. Decreased Interest in Physical Intimacy
You notice your drive for physical intimacy has decreased and you start losing attraction for your partner. You can’t remember the last time you enjoyed having sex with your partner. You realize that you have been avoiding your partner in hopes to avoid confrontation. This is a sign that resentment is present.
Criticism can be defined as attacking your partner’s character at the core. You start to voice your partner’s flaws and judge their character to justify their behaviors. Usually, criticism is expressed in sentences that start with the word “you” and directed at your partner, not the problem. Likewise, it usually includes “always” or “never” used in the form of an attack. For example, “You are so selfish and inconsiderate," "You always ignore me,” or “You are never on time, you are so irresponsible.”
If you felt hurt by your partner you may experience feelings of anger and the need to hurt them so you partake in revengeful acts. You find yourself intentionally doing things you know makes them angry or hurt. You do this looking for attention and a reaction from your partner.
7. Feelings of Regret
When resentment is built up over time, you start to feel regretful for investing your time into the relationship. When you are not happy and your needs are not met, you unintentionally avoid your partner and start withdrawing from the relationship to avoid being hurt. You begin to reflect on your relationship as you become detached from it.
If any of these signs are actively present in your relationship, it is time to speak with your partner. To resolve feelings of resentment, you have to be willing to confront them with patience and empathy. Be mindful that leaving the relationship unattended to or destructively addressing problems will not relieve feelings of resentment. To have the relationship you imagined for yourself, it is important to take care of yourself. Sometimes it can be difficult to talk to your partner especially if you feel like your partner does not listen to you. Mental Health Counselors are available to help you and guide you toward your journey of healing.
About Sam Nabil
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