My husband resents me
How To Fix Toxic Resentment In Marriage: 7 Practical Steps
When left unchecked, resentment in marriage is fatal. It destroys the love and leaves you feeling bitter and angry towards your partner.
But the surprising thing about resentment is that when approached correctly, it can actually be an unexpected gift.
In fact, knowing how to overcome resentment in our marriage has helped us to address important relationship issues and create an even stronger marriage – and a better sex life.
In this blog you’ll learn exactly how to deal with resentment in your marriage, including:
- What causes resentment in a marriage, and the toxic signs to watch out for
- What to do when you feel resentment towards your spouse
- What to do when your spouse resents you
- A proven action plan for how to overcome resentment in your marriage
- And how to turn resentment into a force for growth and fulfilment
Whether you’re the one feeling resentment towards your partner, or you think that your partner holds resentment towards you, this is the complete guide for healing resentment in your marriage.
What Is Resentment In Marriage?
Resentment in marriage is the buildup of negative feelings towards your partner when you feel wronged, betrayed, neglected, poorly treated, or taken for granted. Resentment is toxic to a relationship and over time will erode the safety, connection, and good will necessary for a successful marriage.
Resentment towards your spouse basically comes down to this:
Your partner has knowingly or unknowingly broken the agreements of your relationship. And that hurts.
Whether it’s how you want to be treated, what you thought your marriage would look like, or the life you thought you were building together, the disappointment, anger, and frustration of these unmet expectations can be devastating.
What Causes Resentment In Marriage?
The causes of resentment in marriage are many and varied, but common causes include:
- Feeling like you contribute more to the relationship than your partner
- A long-term lack of emotional intimacy and connection
- Feeling unimportant or that you’re not a priority to your partner
- An unfulfilling sex life
- Toxic communication or unresolved arguments
- Feeling unappreciated or like your partner doesn’t really ‘see’ you
- Selfish or controlling behaviour
- Intense criticism or demeaning comments from your partner
Resentments often start small:
A careless remark, a forgotten commitment, a lack of appreciation.
But if these small hurts are not resolved effectively, they intensify over time. One minor incident builds upon another until you’re carrying around a heart full of past grievances.
What Are The Signs Of Resentment In Marriage?
Resentment in marriage can look like:
- Obsessive thoughts about past hurts
- Criticism, negative judgements, and ‘thinking the worst’ of your partner
- A constant feeling of tension or walking on eggshells
- Stonewalling, defensiveness, and emotional withholding
- Not feeling safe and finding it difficult to trust
- Fantasizing about leaving the relationship
- Actively attempting to hurt your partner’s feelings
- A sense of feeling let down or betrayed by your partner
- Chronic arguments and an inability to collaborate effectively
- Consistent fault finding
- Fearing vulnerability and not feeling safe to open up to each other
- A lack of plutonic touch and everyday affection
- Experiencing sexual rejection and feeling unwanted
Does Resentment Lead To Divorce?
If left unaddressed, resentment can erode a marriage to the point where divorce seems like the only option. Resentment undermines the positives making it difficult to deal with problems in a constructive way. It can make staying together feel hopeless and often pushes one partner – or both – towards leaving.
But a marriage can recover from resentment:
It takes shared responsibility, a willingness to talk openly, and a dedication to doing the healing work. You have to understand the hurts in your relationship, be able to talk them through together, and then commit to meeting each other’s needs.
Think of it like this:
Imagine that in your relationship there’s a glass window between you and your partner.
For connection to flow easily, the window needs to be clean and clear.
But when some small hurt happens between you, it’s like a dark stain on the window. One or two aren’t a problem as you can still see each other clearly. But a build up of unresolved issues creates a wall so that you no longer feel close or connected.
Overcoming resentment in your marriage is the process of ‘cleaning the relationship window’, allowing you to come back together and build a more fulfilling marriage.
How To Overcome Anger And Resentment In Your Marriage
The next section guides you through a process to understand the hurts you’re feeling, uncover the valid needs underneath them, and help you communicate those needs in a way that will help you get them met.
And, parts of this process will be difficult.
Resentment can be challenging as it colors your perception and creates harmful narratives about your relationship and your partner that aren’t always accurate. (We call them ‘poo goggles’ – the opposite of rose-colored glasses).
To overcome anger and resentment in your marriage you have to be willing to question these assumptions and consider different perspectives.
Keep an open mind, and trust that this process has the power to transform even the toughest of resentments – if you’re willing to try.
What Do You Do When Your Spouse Resents You?
If your partner holds resentment towards you then you’ll want to open up a conversation where the two of you can go through these steps together.
If you’re not sure how to do that, try initiating a relationship check in.
Or you could send them this article and let them know that you want to work through the resentments in your marriage, whether that’s by yourselves or with the guidance of a relationship coach or a marriage therapist.
1. Look For The Positives
Ready to put that open mind into practice? List all of the things that are awesome about your partner and your relationship.
Let’s be clear that this is not an attempt to gaslight or be all ‘toxic positivity’*.
These positive attributes aren’t going to magic away the negatives or instantly fix your resentment.
But before we dive into the more challenging aspects of healing resentment in marriage, start by remembering what’s great about your spouse, and why you’ve chosen to be in a relationship with them.
Challenge yourself to write down at least 20 things. This is your ‘why?’ for getting over resentment in your marriage.
2. Understanding Hurts & Complaints
Now list the ‘negatives’ and the things you’re feeling resentful about:
- What are some of the complaints you have about your partner?
- What have they done that’s hard to let go of?
- Where do you feel disrespected, unloved, or wronged?
Then pick one resentment you want to focus on healing:
- How do you feel when you think about this? (Hint – go beyond anger and frustration, and feel what other emotions are there)
- What really hurts about this?
- Why is this important to you?
- What assumptions have you made about your partner and their actions? Why do you think they’re doing what they’re doing?
And most importantly:
- What is it that you truly want?
- What is the need or vulnerable desire underneath the hurt?
- What would you like them to acknowledge, change, or take action on? (We call this the ‘yearning beneath the complaint’)
Hint: The need or desire will usually be something positive but vulnerable to articulate. Something like, “I want to feel like you truly love me.” “I want to know that you still care about me.” or “I want to have more play and fun in our relationship.”
If you keep getting a need that feels adversarial, dig a little deeper.
3. Communicate Your Needs
Now that you have a better understanding of your resentments, it’s time to talk to your partner. But be careful.
Because as relationship experts John & Julie Gottman discovered, “If a conversation starts with criticism or other destructive communication, it’s going to end as an argument 96% of the time.” *
So instead of making ‘you always’ or ‘you never’ accusations, try talking about your resentment from your own perspective.
This formula can be helpful:
Effective Communication Formula
When ___________ happened / happens, I feel / felt ___________. What I would like / need from you is ___________, / I want to feel ___________.
For example, instead of, “You never make time for me. Work is always more important to you than me.”
“When you work late nights and weekends, I feel unimportant and abandoned. What I would like is more quality time together. I want to feel like I matter to you, and that I’m your priority.”
- Choose just one resentment to focus on at a time
- Be mindful of not making assumptions or interpretations about their behaviour
- Avoid personal attacks
4. Be Sensitive To Their Triggers
When we turn to our partner with a complaint or request about our needs, one of the most common responses is defensiveness or turning away.
Is it because they’re an asshole?
Look, it’s certainly possible. But in the vast majority of relationships there’s a much more compassionate reason:
Something you’ve said has brought up their insecurities and unresolved emotional wounds.
If you make a request that you’d like to spend more time together, they hear:
“You’re not doing enough. You’re a failure.”
When you tell them you feel unhappy in your marriage, they hear:
“You don’t make me happy because you’re not good enough for me.”
It’s why resentment breeds resentment. When you try to communicate about your hurts, it hurts your partner. They react, which hurts you more. It’s a toxic cycle that can be difficult to break.
But if you can notice when your partner gets defensive and respond with empathy – reassuring their triggers and insecurities – you set yourself up for a much more productive conversation.
5. Get Curious About Their Perspective
Refer back to the interpretations and assumptions you were making about your resentments:
I’m not important to you.
You don’t respect me.
You don’t appreciate all of the things I do.
You’re not attracted to me anymore.
It’s time to practice curiosity and ask what else might be going on. To do this well you’ll need to summon all of the compassion and open-mindedness you can:
“I’m curious about why you’re working so late each evening? What’s going on for you at work? Is it actually possible for us to spend more time together now?”
“Why do you think we’re not having as much sex as we used to? Are you struggling with anything? How do you feel about our sex life? How do you feel about yourself sexually?”
“When that thing happened / when you said that thing – what was going on for you? What did you actually mean when you said that?”
This is a delicate step that can be difficult to master. Our communication course for couples equips you with proven tools to have more productive conversations.
6. Make An Action Plan
In as few words as possible, what actions would help you to get your needs met and resolve the situation? Is it:
- An apology?
- A commitment to a regular date night?
- A plan to re-distribute the chores?
- A request for more affectionate touch or words of appreciation?
- Or to have more sex dates?
The clearer you are on what you need, the more meaningful and effective this action plan becomes.
Don’t forget to also ask what your partner might need:
“How can I support you in making these changes?” can be a great question to ask.
Sometimes we don’t realise that there are very real obstacles standing in the way. So if you can help remove those obstacles you have a better chance of success.
And remember – needs aren’t demands. Expressing a real need will usually feel soft and vulnerable. Because the truth is, there’s no guarantee. And that can be scary.
7. Celebrate Success
Change doesn’t happen overnight. It happens step by step, moment to moment. And any positive momentum you make certainly won’t continue unless you take the time to actively appreciate and celebrate it.
Because when it comes to behaviour change, the science of positive reinforcement is clear: it works.*
So be on the lookout for all the ways your partner is trying. Tell them how much it means to you. Tell them how it makes you feel.
Yes, there’ll be mistakes along the way, and you might need to course correct many times. But never forget to appreciate what you’re each doing every step of the way.
And to help maintain the positive momentum, check out our complete guide to having a relationship check in. It’ll keep you on-track and help address any potential complaints before they turn into resentments.
Or if you want to take your relationship to the next level, our ultimate guide on how to build emotional intimacy, or these 11 conscious marriage goals, will help get you there.
Sources & References
At Practical Intimacy we’re committed to keeping our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. We use only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles.
Cherry, K. (2021) https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-toxic-positivity-5093958
Gottman, J. (2014) https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-6-things-that-predict-divorce/
Nicholson, J. (2017) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-attraction-doctor/201703/how-build-rewarding-romantic-relationship
Reece Stockhausen & Jodie Milton have made improving people’s lives and relationships both their passion, and their career. With over 25 years experience in the Personal Development industry, and 8 years coaching singles and couples, their no-BS advice has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Bustle, and HuffPost.
Book in for a complimentary online video call to discover how their men's, women's, and couple's coaching programs can support you.
8 Subtle Signs Your Husband Resents You And What To Do About It
The sooner you spot signs like constant fights and falling respect, the better you could work on them or move on.
Sometimes relationships between married couples can be tricky, and as time passes, you might develop a feeling that your husband resents you. However, before you jump to any conclusion, you should recognize his behavioral patterns that suggest any form of bitterness.
During the initial phase of marriage, couples are strongly attracted to each other. They share a loving relationship and create beautiful memories. However, differences may arise as the relationship grows older, and couples may feel detached. As a result, your husband might start behaving differently.
However, this does not necessarily mean that he dislikes you. If you are concerned, read this post for clear signs that tell you about your husband’s feelings and the steps you can take to resolve the matter.
When Is Your Husband Likely To Resent You?
Hate is a strong, negative word and may not always be apt for describing your husband’s behavior towards you. But if you think that he really resents you, then there might be specific reasons for it. We have listed down a few possible reasons below.
Please understand that these are only possibilities and not necessarily the reasons why your husband’s behavior towards you has changed. The only way to know the reasons your husband resents you is to talk to him about it.
1. You might have hurt him
Think of the first time you noticed your husband’s behavior changed towards you. Try to recall the incidents from the recent past. Did you do or say something that could’ve hurt or offended your partner? Did you disrespect them or insult them in any way? If you think you may have done something to hurt them, that could be the reason for the sudden change in his behavior. It is best to address it sooner than later.
Another possibility is that you might have kept some secrets from him, and he got to know about them from someone else. It may seem irrelevant to you, but your husband might think it to be big deal.
Related: How Do You Know If A Guy Likes You Secretly: 25 Signs
2. You might have betrayed him
When you have been unfaithful to your partner, being sorry about it may not change what has happened. He might have forgiven you, but not forgotten what you did. Whenever he recalls the incident, he might become bitter and show a strong dislike towards being with you.
3. He might be cheating on you
He might be having an extra-marital affair and likes to spend time with his new partner. The fact that he is obliged to be with you and not with that person might make him resent you.
Related: 9 Reasons Why Some Affairs Last For Years
4. There is conflict in the relationship
Have you and your husband been fighting a lot lately? The fights could be about sex, having babies, finances, work-life balance or anything else – they could create a rift between the two of you. If they have been too frequent, your husband may have developed resentment.
5. Other reasons
The reasons need not always be significant. Sometimes, constant, petty issues could become problematic in the long run. For instance, if you talk down to your husband (intentionally or unintentionally), or you don’t let your husband do anything, or are too nagging without realizing how annoying it is, you could make your husband feel frustrated and resent you.
Sometimes, your husband’s changed behavior or lack of interest towards you could be due to his problems as well. For instance, he might be stressed due to his work or his relationship with his family, friends, or colleagues.
Related: How To Please Your Husband: 23 Tips That Always Work
Possible Signs Your Husband Resents You
Here are some signs that will give you an idea of things to think about pertaining to your husband’s behavior. These could suggest that he may currently dislike you, but not necessarily resent you.
1. He is constantly fighting with you
You and your husband might not be talking as much as you used to. When you do, you don’t have an effective conversation and instead end up fighting. He might be blaming you for everything. Even if you try talking gently and cooperate, he seems to be furious. Such behavior could be a red flag in a marriage, signaling that he might have issues with you.
2. He doesn’t spend time with you
Your husband might be trying to avoid you. Maybe he likes spending time somewhere else other than at home. Or he may not show any interest when you try to spend some quality time with him. This is an indication that he enjoys his time doing things without you. If your husband doesn’t miss you and enjoy spending time with you, this is a red flag that something is missing in your relationship.
Related: 10 Ways To Create Family Bonding And Its Importance
3. He doesn’t show affection
Hugging, kissing, holding hands, and other forms of physical intimacy happen naturally between a husband and wife. If your husband is trying to move away from you or not showing any such signs of love or affection, then it could signify that his physical attraction and feelings for you have changed.
Point to consider
Your husband may be going through some issues personally or professionally that he cannot share with you. So don’t blame him for not showing affection. Instead, encourage him to open up to you and show him that you care.
4. He doesn’t remember important dates
It’s okay to forget birthdays and anniversaries sometimes. But if your husband was someone who always remembered important dates and made all arrangements to pamper you, and now he doesn’t seem to care, it could be bothersome. If you notice this happening in your relationship, it’s time you have a talk.
5. He puts no effort in the marriage
You both did everything together and were always on the same page about the relationship. But now, your husband doesn’t seem to pay attention or make any effort to keep the relationship alive. He is mostly distant or avoids doing things with you. These signs might suggest that your husband is not happy being with you.
6. He is emotionally abusive or violent
He might be showing signs of anger and disrespect towards you. He could be verbally or emotionally abusive or physically violent. Such behavior in the marriage is unhealthy and may signify that your husband has some issues with you and is not comfortable being with you. You should seek help if your husband is abusive. It could also mean that he is going through a rough patch and needs your support. The constant disagreements are bringing out the worst in him. This is a sign that your relationship is in need of attention.
Abuse of any kind is a big ‘no’ and should not be tolerated. So if your husband is being abusive physically or mentally, take immediate action. You may seek help from a family member, friend, or counselor. If he doesn’t mend his ways, consider taking a break or parting ways.
Related: 12 Reasons Why Women Stay In Abusive Relationships
7. He doesn’t respect your relationship
Besides love and trust, mutual respect between the partners is essential in a marriage. If your husband doesn’t seem to be caring about you or if he is too rude to you or criticizes you in front of others, then it could mean your marriage is in trouble.
These signs may signify that your husband resents you. Those are not the only signs so don’t be so sure about it without talking to him. The behavior could also mean that your husband is angry or upset with you, and resolving the issues causing the anger could save the marriage.
What To Do When Your Husband Hates You?
There is always hope. Your husband could be angry or disappointed with you.There is always a chance he will become fond of you and love you like before. Nonetheless, a change for the good cannot be guaranteed. But if you love him and have faith in the relationship, here are a few things to try that could save your marriage.
- Make communication better
He might want to tell you many things but may not know how to communicate well. Try to talk to him with an open mind and keep your ego aside. Share your feelings and ask him if he has any issues with you. Be cooperative, understand what he is going through, and make mutual adjustments to save your relationship.
- Start afresh
Rather than digging into the past, try to turn the page and start afresh. Don’t argue about the incidents that have happened. Leave everything aside and focus on new things such as going on dates, exchanging gifts, and doing something together to rebuild your bond. Try not to bring up the past during an argument or a conversation.
- Be supportive and not harsh
Either of you could be at fault, but instead of nagging about what happened to make the partner feel guilty, try to support each other. Think of it as both of you are on the same side looking at the problem with an intention to overcome it together. Say ‘it’s okay; instead of ‘I’m hurt.’ Try to respect each other and show affection, and it could help both of you to reconnect and forget the past without feeling guilty.
- Work on your insecurities
You may be ready to move on, but certain things from the past could make you insecure. It can cause you towant to be with your husband to monitor his actions. You may have positive intentions, but your actions could have a negative impact, and your husband might not like it. So, try to contain your urge to control his movements and give him space.
- Get professional help
When you are unable to sort out the issues on your own, you may seek help from a professional. Therapists can help you figure out what’s lacking in your relationship. Also, talking to a third person who is objective about the relationship can help you get a different perspective of what your husband may be feeling and where your relationship stands.
1. How to live with a spouse who hates you?
Talk to them about your concerns and try to ascertain the reasons why they behave distantly. If there is nothing serious, you can sort things out through communication. Go to couple counseling if you can’t resolve issues by yourself. If they continue being abusive, consider taking a break or ending the relationship.
2. What does it mean when your husband resents you?
You may have hurt your husband, and he may be upset with you. He may be dealing with personal problems or challenges at work. It is also possible that he has fallen out of love and doesn’t care about you anymore.
3. Can resentment destroy a marriage?
Yes. A marriage cannot sail smoothly with resentment. Resentment can give way to abusive behavior and trigger fights and arguments. If you don’t iron out differences promptly, it can ruin a marriage. So, identify the signs of resentment in marriage early and take measures to resolve it.
Avoid nagging and try reestablishing proper communication if your husband resents you. If he has stopped enjoying his time with you, engages in fights, avoids physical intimacy, or has stopped respecting you, he may have stopped caring for you. The change in your husband’s behavior may be due to frequent arguments, work stress, feeling of betrayal, or an extramarital affair. Try working on your insecurities, keeping your ego aside. Seek professional help if required. If nothing seems to work, you know that you left no stone unturned. The next step is to focus on your well-being and future.
- Every marriage has challenges, but your husband resenting you can be a cause for concern.
- He might be giving hints and indications of his dislike and disapproval that you might be oblivious to.
- Do not panic, as you can still resolve issues and get your relationship back on track.
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Shikha is a writer-turned-associate editor at MomJunction. Having done a certification in Relationship Coaching, her core interest lies in writing articles that guide couples through their courtship to marriage and parenthood. She also specializes in baby names. Being a postgraduate in Human Resources from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, she likes understanding people and their relationships. This reflects in her relationship...
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Iten Elyassaki is a Licensed Professional Counselor experienced in serving clients with diverse needs. She works with children, adolescents, and adults needing support with stress management, relationship challenges, self-esteem, behavioral issues, trauma, marital discord, infidelity, parenting difficulties, grief, and addictions. Currently working with ENI, she uses a variety of therapeutic interventions to develop a holistic understanding of behaviors, emotions, patterns,...
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If the husband is offended as a girl
Hello everyone! Husband acts like a woman! I came up with it myself, I was offended! Defiantly does not spend the night with me, sleeps on the couch. Approached him, said that he would go to sleep in the room ... mumbled something indistinctly, like let me sleep
It's a pity that people going to the registry office underestimate the importance of character. they look at sexuality, money, status, someone at talent and charisma, but few people realize how important it is for an adequate light disposition to be for ordinary everyday life
Pick a time when your Pierrot is in the mood and make your claims clear. Do not understand - a complete ignore. She will go to mom - take the keys and things there too. I hate such fools. nine0005
I don’t know how the author is, I tried, it seems we agreed, time passes and again 25. I also began to ignore it as a joke, it’s better to wait half an hour than 2 hours to persuade.
6 My mother-in-law has such a personality. Constantly plays silent. It revives when it is necessary that it be transported to the dacha. Father-in-law spat long ago and left her. Now she is offended by the whole world. Yeah, to hell with her. He sits like an owl in his dacha. It seems to me that this is some kind of mental disorder. nine0005
Often. Just do not say that you personally have never been capricious.
, your kids have not yet grown, this is the lot of children,
the same nonsense at home. I even told him once that he behaves like a heifer.
I personally put an end to it. got. I want a decent man. 18 May 2017 living in my apartment. The reason is that it's not worth a damn. it was important for him that I confess my guilt and bring the officer. apologies)) I just got tired of enduring his psychos. if you haven't had it yet, still ahead :))). nine18 May 2017 living in my apartment. The reason is that it's not worth a damn. it was important for him that I confess my guilt and bring the officer. apologies)) I just got tired of enduring his psychos. if you haven't had it yet, still ahead :))).
You know, I apologized for the sake of the world, well, I just can’t live like this in cold and silence, but he didn’t forgive me right away, he still pouted for a while. And she translated as a joke, and did not pay attention, nothing helped, everything just got worse. nine0121 He did not go to any constructive dialogues, he just kept silent and that's it. I didn't want to discuss or solve problems. I have a feeling that he liked to be offended,
well ... and now he is manipulating .. in general, the master's business, of course, but really you need to either learn to perceive it differently "I apologized, scored and went to the salon", or depression will devour you and you will look like a spaniel with bruised eyes
that he acts like a chick. 18 May 2017 I got depressed, I felt squeezed out like a lemon. May 18, 2017
Guys, do you understand? Beat the women with their own weapons! It works !
Vera Vladimirovna Zolotykh
- nine0006 Letosheva Tati
Expert in Eastern practices
everyone should have their own weapon.
otherwise, all the women, as you put it, will start to suck, scratch their internally grown balls of steel and swing rights / decide everything for a man.
You are already doing all this, so there is nothing to be ashamed of. And especially you like to decide everything for the peasant, as soon as it concerns children. I wanted - I flew in, I wanted - I had an abortion, but no one asks a man, xyle. nine0005
Once again: is it bad to behave like a chick? 18 May 2017
You're doing all this anyway, so there's nothing to be embarrassed about. And especially you like to decide everything for the peasant, as soon as it concerns children. I wanted - I flew in, I wanted - I had an abortion, but no one asks a man, xyle. nine0005
I am infuriated with my children and grandchildren ...
Such a salary - I don’t want to work
A lie 22 years long. How to destroy? nine0330
Husband left, 2 months of depression... How will you cope if you are left all alone?
Obuzhenka or what?))
Guys, do you understand? Beat the women with their own weapons! It works !
Mom kissed any whim in her son's ass. There is a transfer of relations in the parental family to one's own. nine0005
And who are your horoscope touchy? )
Husband drives to work. Where is the logic?
Arguing with my husband every weekend
was a guy as a guy, standing a full freak
19000 19 answers