Resentment is killing my relationship

Published on January 30, 2020
Resentment is killing my relationship

Ken felt like he did everything in his relationship.  He works long hours to provide enough money to support his family.  When he comes home from work, his wife, Sherie, is out with her friends, at the gym or otherwise doing her own thing.  Ken usually comes home hungry and to hungry kids.  Ken then cleans the kitchen, takes the dog out and makes dinner.  After dinner, he cleans the kitchen and helps his children with their homework.

After the children are bathed and in bed, his wife usually comes home.  He is exhausted and resentful.  What about his needs?  Why doesn’t he count?  Instead of saying anything, he gives his wife the cold shoulder and falls asleep.

Meanwhile, his wife, Sherie, is resentful because she gave up her education and her career to be a stay at home mother.  At first, she enjoyed it.  Over time, she felt unstimulated and unchallenged.  Instead of telling Ken that she wanted to go back to work, she kept it in and became resentful. She plans her time so that she is not home when Ken is home.  Both Ken and Sherie have grown distant from resentment and neither feel that they have the right to talk about what they need.  Both are afraid that they will be shut down or dismissed.

Resentment can be challenging to speak about.  Not talking about your anger or resentment can destroy your relationship.

1. Understand what you need

Sometimes people are so used to putting their needs behind others, that they do not even know what they need.  In an ideal situation, what would you need from your partner?  Do you need more time? More division of labour or more affection?

2. Put your needs forward in a compassionate way

When people don’t say what they need, resentment builds.  You can tell your partner what you need quite merely by saying how it benefits the relationship.

“Would you mind making dinner once a week so we can have more time to spend together?”

“I really like it when you are affectionate with me, it brings us closer as a couple.”

3. Don’t give what you can’t or don’t want to give

Expectations can lead to us feeling like we will be letting our partner down if we don’t over give. Examples are going into debt to buy an expensive gift, or not setting time aside for yourself.  When we give when we don’t want to give, we might resent the other person.  There are times when compromise can be spoken about.  For example, “We both would like time for the gym, can we work out a schedule that works for both of us?”  One-sided relationships do not work.

4. Control and power

Where are you feeling out of control in your relationship?  How much control do you need and are you being controlled or controlling your partner?  Most people do not like to be controlled.

5. Don’t avoid conflict.

Conflict if handled appropriately, can help resolve underlying issues.  Don’t put your feelings and needs aside to avoid conflict.  This will only lead to more anger and resentment.  If you don’t feel safe to talk about your needs and feelings, ask your partner when a good time to talk would be.

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If you would like to set up an appointment please reach out to me on +852 2521 4668 or email m.borschel@mindnlife.com. You can book a private or Skype session.

Photo by fizkes from Getty Images Pro


Category(s):Control Issues, Ending a relationship issues, Relationships & Marriage

Written by:

Dr Monica Borschel

Dr Borschel specialises in Attachment and Loss. She is experienced in helping adults, teens, children, and families adjust to anxiety, trauma, abuse, divorce, separation, or loss of a loved one.

Dr. Borschel’s attachment-based psychodynamic therapy along with EMDR, enables her clients to find healing within themselves. In so doing, she can help adults, teens, and children to overcome grief, anxiety, trauma, neglect, emotional, verbal, physical abuse, and child abuse.

Furthermore, as an attachment specialist, she also helps individuals understand relationship patterns which prevent them from developing or maintaining healthy relationships. She is able to help reduce anxiety, insomnia, depression and promote confidence and self-esteem. This may include deciding what is in the best interest of the children during custody disputes, strengthening the relationship and communication between the parents and the children.

Dr. Borschel is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. She graduated with her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University in New York City. She later moved to Hong Kong to pursue her doctorate at the University of Hong Kong in Social Work and Social Administration.

Registered Clinical Psychologist with The Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology. Member of the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Counseling Association (ACA), The British Psychological Society (BPS), and the Hong Kong Family Law Association (HKFLA).


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