I resent my partner what should I do?
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Graeme Orr MBACP(Accred), UKRCP Reg. Ind. Counsellor
10th June, 20140 Comments
A surprising number of people in relationships today resent their partners. They find that they irritate, grate and make them angry and soon find themselves fighting. Yet it has been said by many that “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die”, so why do so many of us get caught up in the trap? That sense that somehow the feelings you have ring true, yet you know your partner isn’t (or wasn’t) a bad person so you feel guilty for feeling this way and it can feel a bit like kicking a puppy.
It might seem hard to let go of resentment but if you both want to save your relationship it is possible. There are three broad pillars that you will need to build the foundations of your future on.
Commitment: Both of you have got to want the relationship to work. The reality is that you are going to have to look at your relationship and accept that there is pride and frustration and ego mixed in with the problems and you are going to both have to find a way to set it aside to see the person you first fell in love with.
Acceptance: There has to be an acceptance that your partner is not setting out to irritate and frustrate you they are coming at the situation from an alternative point of view. It is a point of view that you disagree with and leads to your frustration and resentment, but if you can accept that that is not your partner’s intent then perhaps you have taken the first step.
Start listening and talking to each other: Somewhere along the line communication has ceased. Perhaps you never feel understood; perhaps you feel that you never get the chance to try your ideas out in the relationship. Perhaps you feel that your needs are not understood in the relationship. The only way to change that is to start talking and listening to each other. Many couples of course feel that they have been together for many years so they ‘know’ what the other is thinking. But perhaps the point is that if that were true, your relationship would not be in trouble. Until things get better be explicit about needs, thoughts and feelings.
It’s a cliché of relationship self-help books in libraries and shops all over the world, but you need to find time to spend time with each other so spend time with each other (call it a date if you like). The important part is that you need to focus on your relationship, tending and repairing it. If you try to learn to listen and talk again when there are distractions like the TV, or children or cooking or the phone … it won’t happen and you will end up frustrated. Your life and your relationship are intertwined so it is important that you can focus on putting it right.
Remember that it can’t all be about criticism we all need praise, so remember to say when things are improving notice when your partner does something that makes a difference makes a positive outcome more likely, eve acknowledges a mistake.
Finally it is worth saying it is a difficult journey and often it is made much easier with a counsellor, who can help you both focus and talk through the big issues and problems. They can use their skill and experience to help you to find a way of seeing a different perspective and that might just make the difference.
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