How to Let Go of Resentment In Your Relationship

Updated: May 25

A couple sitting on the couch looking away from each other, appearing frustrated, need to let go of resentment in their relationship

Here are the signs that you might be harboring resentment in your relationship, and how to let go of it.

Key takeaways:

  • It’s true that many couples argue about money and sex, but resentment is actually a huge underlying driver of many fights.

  • When we have empathy for our partners, our behavior towards them is different than when we are feeling resentful of them.

  • There are many causes of resentment in relationships; some of the more common ones are infidelity, feeling unheard or unsupported, inequitable division of household labor/finances, and frustration about unresolved issues.

  • Signs of resentment include changes in your sex life, passive-aggressive behavior from one or both partners, living as roommates instead of romantic partners, and feeling a disconnect from each other.

  • Resentment can cause withdrawal, fighting, or even abuse/neglect.

  • Healing resentment in a relationship is possible, but it requires the commitment and dedication of both partners.

  • Couples therapy may be able to help a lot.

There’s a famous quote by Nelson Mandela about resentment: “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” Resentment is indeed a poison…and it can be a relationship-killer. While it’s true that money and sex are two of the most common things that couples fight about it, resentment is one of the sneakiest, most pervasive underlying emotions that could be driving these fights.

When we have empathy for our partners, we are able to listen to them, hold space for them, and validate them. But, when we start becoming resentful, we stop doing those things, the hurt begins to accumulate and compound, and things can take a turn for the worst – hello, toxic relationships!

Everyone makes mistakes and that includes you and your partner. Harboring resentment towards each other for these mistakes can ruin your relationship. Here are the signs you may be harboring resentment in your relationship and how to let go of it.

What causes resentment in a relationship?

There are so many things that can cause hard feelings and resentment in a relationship, but there are generally some common culprits. Here are some of the frequently seen scenarios:

  • Infidelity