The one thing that will slowly kill your relationship — and how to fix it
Whether it’s forgotten anniversaries or feeling like you’re not being heard, when resentment takes hold in a relationship it can be hard to come back from.
“Resentment can build when bids for connection have been dismissed or discounted,” says Melissa Ferrari, a Sydney-based psychotherapist and couples therapist.
And once it gets started, it’s a slippery slope.
Over a period of time, Melissa says this behaviour “creates an erosion (in the relationship) when things are not being repaired and being attended to”.
If this sounds familiar it might be time to get back on track with these simple but effective strategies:
Don’t ignore how you feel
Putting up with feelings of resentment can be damaging to your relationship in the long term.
“If you stay in a world where you’re just busy and avoiding each other and not confronting issues when they happen, then you are going to end up in a consistently resentful relationship,” says Melissa.
To avoid this, she says it’s important to start paying attention to your relationship again.
Notice when your partner may be feeling hurt or upset and don’t be afraid to wave the white flag a little more often.
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Get up close and personal
Michelle says while it’s important to talk issues out right away, what’s crucial is how you talk about them.
“The greatest thing to repair damage when you are a couple that have been in love and want to be back in love is face-to-face, eye-to-eye exchanges and skin-to-skin contact,” says Melissa.
Before discussing anything, stop and actually make eye contact with one another when you’re talking.
And get into each other’s arms for a good old-fashioned cuddle.
Michelle says this can make a profound difference when you’re trying to talk things through.
“You’re regulating each other’s nervous system and you’re calming the system down,” she says.
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Own the situation and examine your own behaviour
Melissa says taking ownership of the issue and looking inward of how you can change your own behaviour can also help stop resentment from building.
“Resentments and conflicts and arguments arise because we’ve forgotten to be friendly,” says Michelle.
“We’ve forgotten that we’re actually meant to be on the same team.”
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So if you’re feeling resentful, look at your own behaviour and become the partner you’d like to have.
Melissa says this includes being more attentive and stopping to ask your partner questions when you notice they’re unhappy or upset.
“Be the one that does pay attention rather than just acting like you don’t care and couldn’t be bothered,” says Melissa.
After all, a relationship is a two-way street and by making these tweaks, you could find yourself back on the road to feeling loved up all over again.
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Written by Tania Gomez