How to resolve resentment in relationships; focusing on the unequal division of shared responsibilities and mental load after having children. It’s important to understanding how gender roles and societal expectations contribute to resentment. Includes a free guide with a seven-step action plan to help resolve resentment, with pointers to change your own behaviours to influence your partner’s actions. Resentment is a messenger, and listening to it is key to a happy relationship.
Resolve Resentment In Your Relationship: Explore The Roots Of Your Resentment And Strategies For Overcoming It
Are you looking for effective ways to resolve resentment in your relationship? The key to addressing this issue is twofold. Firstly, you need to get clear about how you’re approaching your shared responsibilities, and why. Only then will you properly address the mental load that often falls so unevenly between partners. In this blog post, we’ll explore the roots of resentment in relationships, and provide actionable steps to help you achieve a more harmonious and contented partnership.
What Causes Your Resentment? The Mental Load And Shared Responsibilities
Couple relationships change after kids come along, and sadly resentment often follows, especially where shared responsibilities are divided unequally. In the UK, as in most of the rest of the world, it’s women who are picking up the lion’s share of this unpaid labour. According to the Office for National Statistics,
“In March 2022, employed women living with dependent children spent more time on unpaid childcare (an average of 84 minutes per day) and household work (an average of 169 minutes per day) than employed men living with dependent children (55 and 106 minutes per day, respectively).”
New mothers soon discover how much of the of the work involved in managing the household and family is invisible. The mental effort associated with these tasks is known as the mental load.
Ultimately, the mental load is about knowing what everyone needs and making sure those needs get met. Carrying responsibility for the tasks, and overseeing their completion, uses a lot of mental and emotional energy. And when women are using their energy this way, they don’t have it available for other things. They don’t have the mental capacity or energy to live a full and balanced life, because, quite simply, they’re exhausted. So this can become a major cause of resentment.
Do you feel resentful towards your partner for any of the following…?
- Not sharing the mental load – meal planning, laundry, activity ideas, what the kids need
- Not doing housework/chores
- Leaving childcare duties to you – brushing teeth, bath and bedtime, prepping nappy bag
- Low standards for clearing up and cleaning
- Waiting for you to ask them for help
- Being able to switch off
How many of those items above do you relate to? Do you ever wonder why so much of this seems to fall to you?
Resolving Resentment In Relationships: Understanding Gender Roles
These days most couples have pretty balanced partnerships – at least until they have children.
Despite our best intentions, once kids come along, we often find ourselves struggling to run our homes and family lives quite as fairly as we planned.
New mothers often feel a deep responsibility to nurture, while new fathers feel a deep responsibility to provide. And societal expectations around gender can be difficult to push back against, especially when they remain largely unconscious or unspoken.
My free guide to resolving resentment goes into more detail about why so many couples still struggle with this unbalance. Plus it includes my seven step action plan, which you can start implementing today to resolve the resentment in your relationship.
Read how inspired this person was by just one of the seven tips:
“Thank you for pointing me in that direction! I feel seen! I know it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy and your guide really drove that home for me. I have an incredible partner and I’m going to take the advice of brain dumping. Not to make a list for him but to share the load. I think it will also trigger him to take things off my plate.”
Limiting Beliefs About Resentment
A limiting belief is anything you think to be true that holds you back in some way.
When we feel blocked from making changes that we want, there are usually limiting beliefs at play.
Often there are whole lists of them.
When it comes to resentment, one way we dismiss our feelings is with the words “it doesn’t matter”.
For example, you might tell yourself,
“It doesn’t matter that my partner does things I feel resentful about.”
Maybe you actually say these words?
Or perhaps you dismiss the way they leave so many of the domestic responsibilities to you as “just the way things are”?
Resentment Builds When We Ignore Choices That Bother Us
Not every irritating or thoughtless thing your partner does matters.
None of us is perfect and we all do things that bother our partners.
As Donald Miller says,
“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.”
So let’s start with compassion.
Let’s give our partners the benefit of the doubt.
It’s highly likely that your partner doesn’t want or intend for you to end up feeling resentful.
But sometimes you do.
And that resentment you feel? It’s how you know that whatever they have done/not done matters to you.
If you’re in a bad mood, hungry, exhausted, feeling insecure… attend to that first.
But if you’re finding yourself feeling resentful about things your partner does even when you’re basically feeling okay within yourself? Pay attention to that feeling.
It’s a messenger.
Your feelings matter, and it matters that your partner does things you feel resentful about.
You can’t change your partner’s behaviour.
But you can change your own, and that will influence theirs.
My free guide to resolving resentment is all about the changes you can make which will nudge your partner to start doing things differently too.
Strategies For Resolving Resentment In Relationships
Do you want to know how to resolve resentment in your relationship? To get unstuck, you might need to stop telling yourself that it doesn’t matter when you partner consistently does things that bother you. You’ll find resolution when you find new ways to respond to that resentful feeling.
Resentment is a messenger, and the secret to a happy relationship is to listen to it. Click here to download your free guide to resolving resentment and get started making the changes you want today.
If you found this article about how to resolve resentment in relationships helpful, you might like to check these out too:
- Is It Normal To Resent Your Partner After Having A Baby?
- How To Deal With Resentment Towards Your Partner
- The Contented Relationship Guide, my short course all about how to go from resentment to contentment