Resentment in relationships: it’s not just for unhappy couples that are bitter and unsuited for each other.
It’s fair game for ALL of us at times. Givers, Lovers, Nurturers, Heroes — where you at?
You know the feeling you get when you’re giving so much to your relationship but you’re not getting the same love, appreciation, and effort that you’re putting forth?
You almost don’t notice that you’re compromising until you have nothing left. It’s nothing to be ashamed of but we do need a solution because a one-sided effort is not the foundation for a sustainable happy relationship.
There is a way to change the dynamic and get rid of resentment in relationships. It all comes down to a relationship secret NO ONE tells you and two simple steps you can implement the second you finish this post.
I really love your blogs, they make a lot of sense, and I need your help with something. I’m 39 years old, and I’m engaged to a woman I adore. Here’s my problem: She’s on me all the time about stuff. I want to be there for her, but it feels like she’s always demanding so much time and energy. I know you’re supposed to “compromise” in a relationship, but it seems like I’m making all the sacrifices, and I’m starting to feel like this relationship is one-sided. This isn’t sustainable. What can I do?
Sounds like you’ve got Resentment Flu. And you’re right — it isn’t sustainable. So let’s talk about how to get rid of resentment in relationships so you can enjoy yours again!
The #1 Clue You’ve Got Resentment Flu
The first step to any recovery is a diagnosis. So let’s figure out: How do you know if you have resentment flu?
Resentment enthusiastically takes over anytime you feel like you’re giving more than you’re getting in a relationship.
There’s a big stigma around the word “resentment;” no one wants to own that they feel resentful. It doesn’t feel particularly flattering. I understand.
But when you take the word out of the mix and just look at the feeling that you get when you’re giving so much but you’re not getting the same love, appreciation, and effort that you’re putting forth, it becomes a LOT more relatable and a lot more approachable.
Who tends to give more in a relationship? The Givers, Lovers, Nurturers, and Heroes!
I mean, have you ever felt like you give more than you get? I HAVE!!!!
So, when you look at your partner and think: “They’re not pulling their weight around here,” that’s the number one clue you’ve been infected with resentment flu.
Own it. Now you have the power to get rid of it!
The Relationship SECRET No One Tells You
Right now, you feel resentful because it seems like you’re making all the sacrifices and doing all the work. You genuinely want to be there for your partner, but the reality is, in this case, she’s draining all your resources, time, and energy.
It’s normal, at this stage, to think that that is HER fault.
After all, you’re doing so much for her; you’re sacrificing so much for the relationship, you’re doing everything right, right? And instead of giving you a break or offering to help you with your stuff, she keeps getting on you for more support and attention. So this is her fault, right?
Here’s the relationship secret no one tells you: Saying “no” to your partner is sometimes the most loving thing you can do for your relationship.
Sounds CRAZY, right? But here’s the logical breakdown:
- She asks you for something, demands something from you, or needs you for something, and you say, “yes” because you love her and you want to be there for her. You want to be a good partner.
- Except, it’s not really loving at all because you hold it against her later. You resent her for making you do that thing. Instead of bringing you closer together in intimacy, your “romantic sacrifice” is actually just wedging an ice-cold wall between you.
- It’s not her fault you said, “yes.” It’s unfair and unjust to blame your partner for something you chose to do. Ultimately, if you don’t have it to give and you give it anyway, and then you get mad at her – you’re the asshole, not her.
You give what you can give with love. Anything else isn’t being a good partner.
That goes for men AND women. We need to learn how to say, “no” to each other for the sake of our relationships.
What Is “Romantic Sacrifice” for Men vs. Women (and Why It Matters!)
“Sacrifice” can be a very misunderstood concept in relationships. On the one hand, we see it as romantic; on the other hand, we see it as the dark side of compromise and the source of resentment flu.
The root cause of this misunderstanding can be found in the hormonal differences between men and women.
Let me explain.
Romantic Sacrifice for Men
The act of sacrifice releases the hormone testosterone. Releasing testosterone for men specifically lowers their stress levels. It feels good.
When a man has enough testosterone, sacrifice for his partner feels heroic, grand, sexy, and romantic. Think about how it made you feel in the beginning of your relationship when you gallantly offered her your jacket when it got cold. She was warm, you were cold, you had every right to be miserable, and yet, you felt on top of the world!
That’s hormones for ya!
However, when you don’t have sufficient levels of testosterone, sacrifice doesn’t make you feel good. In fact, it only makes you feel more depleted.
Too much sacrifice on an “empty stomach” over time leads to Resentment Flu.
Romantic Sacrifice for Women
This is kind of an oxymoron because when a woman sacrifices her needs for her partner, there’s nothing romantic about it.
This has nothing to do with women being more “selfish”— far from it! The reality is simply that releasing testosterone doesn’t have the same stress-reducing, feel-good effect on women that it has on men.
However, women get a huge hormonal benefit from giving to their partner from a place of abundance. Women are givers, lovers, and nurturers, and when we are giving from a place of fullness, we are releasing the hormone oxytocin, which lowers our stress and feels really good to us.
When women give from a place of stress or scarcity, it becomes a sacrifice, and over time will lead to Resentment Flu.
2 Steps to Get Rid of Resentment in Relationships
1. Recognize when you’re being THE ASSHOLE for saying, “yes”
When your partner asks for something or looks like they could use your support, check in with yourself: “Do I have this to give right now, or will I hold it against them later?”
If you have it give, by all means, give from your heart and don’t look back.
However, if you don’t have it to give and you suspect you’ll hold it against them later, say, “I can’t right now. But I’d be happy to help you later.”
2. Only give from a place of fullness and abundance
*For men, this means rebuilding your testosterone levels.
When you’re low in testosterone, sacrifice feels weighty and terrible! But when you have sufficient levels of testosterone, sacrificing for your partner can feel empowering and romantic.
You can rebuild your testosterone by taking “cave time.” For example, sit on the couch, watch TV, play a video game, read the newspaper, rest, and refuel.
To learn more about this essential hormone and how it can make or break your relationship (your work, your health, and your life!), read Beyond Mars and Venus.
For an awesome nutritional plan that will help you rebuild testosterone naturally – helping you feel more energy, patience, and generosity with your partner (your work and your life!) — watch this video.
*For women, this means filling your tank and lowering your stress levels.
When you’re stressed and depleted, giving loses all its magic mojo; it just doesn’t fulfill us like it did before. It starts feeling like one giant sweaty sacrifice.
Cough cough… I feel the flu coming on…
But it doesn’t have to! You can fill your tank and lower your stress levels, and you don’t need to add anything MORE to your plate to do it. You can give and receive in a way that supports and nurtures your relationship! Click here to learn how.