It may be a completely over used cliché, but relationships are fluid. They ebb and flow, they have droughts and floods, they remain stagnant if left to their own devices.
Unfortunately, when it comes to long term relationships, there are times when that precious pool of water dries out and we see resentment start to creep in. Essentially, we start to lose sight of our partner and how important they are to us, and we forget how to maintain the day to day of our relationship.
Resentment is a hard beast to conquer, if left alone it can build and grow like a huge dam in a river and starts to block all the good that flows. We wanted to provide you with a few tips on how you can help reduce that resentment and start to re-build the foundations with your partner.
How To Reduce Resentment and Start to Re-Build
Use “I" statement feeling terms, but don’t use “you.”
Finger pointing is damaging for all involved, by putting all the blame or emphasis on your partner you can start to alienate them. Try bringing the conversation to how it makes you feel, and how it can be resolved.
Here is one example about how to phrase dissatisfaction over another partner’s actions: "I feel hurt that our safety, and the safety of others isn't a priority as fixing the car is taking longer than anticipated. What can I do to assist in making sure our car is road-worthy? I'm concerned for us all, and willing to do what is needed so that we can relax and enjoy ourselves."
Count to ten before speaking.
Anger can be the fuel to so many issues. Too often we blurt out words that we often regret and have no reflection on who we are when calm. The age-old tactic of counting to ten is something that cannot be overlooked – stop, breath, think and then reply.
Practice active listening.
Repeat back what you heard in order to confirm you understood and affirm your partner’s feelings - seems simple but can be hugely effective.
Physically connection comes in all shapes and forms – from a simple hug to being intimate – physical closeness can help ease a huge range of issues.
In fact, even science has proven this fact!
“A very simple, straightforward behavior — hugging — might be an effective way of supporting both men and women who are experiencing conflict in their relationships,” explains co-author Michael Murphy, a post-doctoral researcher in Carnegie Mellon University’s Laboratory for the Study of Stress, Immunity and Disease.
Meet somewhere neutral.
Sometimes getting away from home or the place where you spend a lot of time can serve two purposes.
One, a relaxed setting with fresh air can lend itself to openness, as well as taking things less seriously. Secondly, it takes all negative feelings away from the house. The last thing you want is to have negative feelings about the place where you spend most of your time.
Engage in daily empathy actions.
Empathy is not necessarily a default feeling and needs some retraining to become par for the course. Routine empathy can be checking in with our partners about how they are feeling, looking them in the eye, and regularly giving the benefit of the doubt. Once empathy becomes intrinsic behavior, resentment often becomes a thing of the past.
If resentment if playing a role in your relationship, we're here to help - book in an appointment with us today.