Roots of Resentment – Shared Responsibilities
I asked you on Instagram what your partner did that left you feeling resentful. And it started a really helpful discussion about how resentment builds in a relationship.
Guess what? The mental load and and how you tackle your shared responsibilities was a big theme.
For example, you listed:
- 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 Resentment Builds In A Relationship – The Mental Load
The mental load is the invisible work involved in managing a household and family.
Ultimately it is about knowing what everyone needs and making sure those needs get met.
Carrying the responsibility for the tasks and overseeing their completion uses a lot of mental and emotional energy.
And the part that often doesn’t get mentioned? When we’re using our energy this way, we don’t have it available for other things.
We don’t have the mental capacity or energy to live a full and balanced life, because we’re exhausted.
How many of those items above do you relate to?
Do you ever wonder why this all seems to fall to you?
My free guide to resolving resentment explains how we got here – and what we need to do to change things.
Click the link to download yours today.
It’s a 10-minute read. (That’s 0.7% of your day.)
You’ll get a link to a Google doc so you can read it in the browser on your phone, and the link will be emailed to you too.
I won’t send you lots of emails. If you don’t love the ones I do send (free tips from an expert in relationships after kids!) you can unsubscribe at any time.
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”.
“It doesn’t matter that my partner does things I feel resentful about.”
Maybe you actually say these words?
Maybe you dismiss the things they do as “just the way things are”?
How Resentment Builds In A relationship – Ignoring The Choices That Bother You
Not every irritating or thoughtless thing your partner does matters.
None of us is perfect and we all do things that bother our partners.
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 will.
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 OK 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.
Roots of Resentment – Putting Themselves First
When I asked about the things your partners do that leave you feeling resentful, putting themselves first was a big theme.
For example, you mentioned:
- Prioritising their career over yours
- Working when domestic jobs need doing
- Working when childcare needs doing
- Expecting sex even when you’re feeling touched out
- Relaxing when you don’t feel relaxed or have asked them to do something
- Eating lunch in peace instead of joining the family
- Prioritising their own needs
Some of your messages were about prioritising their own needs.
Lots of them were about work.
Our Culture Has Changed – Or Has It?
A generation ago, it was the norm in our culture for dads to work and mums to stay at home, at least while kids were little.
Now it’s much more common for both parents to work.
But careful consideration of each family member’s work/domestic/childcare/leisure balance seems to be rare.
In many straight relationships, men are still taking responsibility for most of the earning, while women take most of the responsibility for childcare and domestic labour.
This is not necessarily a problem.
But your answers to my question about resentment seem to have uncovered something.
Sometimes working means putting the family first.
Sometimes working means putting oneself first.
Many of you tell me how grateful you are for how hard your partners work.
And many others tell me about feeling like you “should” be grateful, when actually you’re unhappy, fed up, resentful.
We need to have open, honest discussion about our choices.
We need to talk about what each of us wants, as well as what the family needs.
This can be a difficult topic, especially when money is tight, as is often is when we have young kids (and is for many families right now).
It’s important to acknowledge though, that decisions made on financial grounds often uphold patriarchal capitalist systems.
We can’t get closer to the balance we want without being open and honest about how things are, and how we feel about them.
What holds you back from sharing how you feel?
“There’s No Way My Partner Is Going To Change Their Behaviour”
Focusing too much on your partner’s choices can actually hold you back from resolving your resentment.
Do you ever think “There’s no way my partner is going to change their behaviour”?
If you do, it makes sense that you feel stuck.
Because your partner’s behaviour is not within your sphere of control.
But it IS within your sphere of influence.
You can let go of your concern about how you’re going to change your partner’s behaviour.
And feel the power in you as you start to change your own.
Take just ten minutes to yourself to read it today.
Nothing’s going to change unless you take some action.
How Resentment Builds – And How It Gets Resolved
Want to know how resentment builds in a relationship? It happens when we tell ourselves that it doesn’t matter when our partners consistently do things that bother us.
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 resentment builds in relationships helpful, you might like to check these out too:
- Is It Normal To Resent Your Partner After Having A Baby?
- My Free 7-Step Action Plan Out Of Resentment
- The Contented Relationship Challenge, my short course all about how to go from resentment to contentment