Blog > I Am So Resentful

I Am So Resentful

How I Traded in My Resentment for True Partnership

By Stefanie, Laura Doyle Relationship Coach

I remember when I learned that the word “resentment” comes from the French word “sentir,” meaning to feel. As in feeling something over and over.

No wonder my opportunities for chronic resentment were on automatic replay in my head.

And I lost no opportunity of telling my husband about them. I was overwhelmed and unsupported, doing everything myself.

My deepest fear had come to fruition: I was alone. Or at least it felt that way.

My definition of marriage had been clear (to me, at least). It would be a partnership, everything split 50/50: the bills, housework, childcare. But for some reason, this was not happening.

How could this be? When I met Marco, I didn’t think people like him existed. He was so happy. He said that the word “stress” was not in his vocabulary and that he was here to simplify my life.

But it wasn’t so simple. Who would want a peaceful romance when I could opt for drama? I seemed addicted to it, with zero experience having a peaceful relationship.

Here’s how I kicked the drama and resentment for lasting peace. Click To Tweet

We were just too different. I’m vegan; he’s mostly carnivorous. I worked days as a professor; he works nights as a waiter. I’m a reader; he’s a TV addict. I’m too serious; he’s too carefree.

The naysayers in my ear said it would never work, and I started to see that they must be right.

I don’t know why Marco stayed with me. I broke up with him sometimes weekly. The security guards at my apartment must have laughed watching his TV go out the door with him, only to return within a day or two every time.

As I neared thirty-five, my biological clock was ticking louder than ever, and I needed to make sure he was “the one.” How could I have a baby with someone I couldn’t trust to take out the trash?

I was like the woman in the cartoon holding a sign saying “waiting for Mr. Perfect.” She was a skeleton.

Then, one day, Marco proposed. As we left the gourmet vegan restaurant (he loved me enough to try raw swiss chard), I flipped on the radio, and the Shirelles’ song “Going to the Chapel” was playing.

Today’s the day we’ll say “I do,” and we’ll never be lonely anymore.

My doubts and fears fell away. Finally, I put both feet in.

The sky remained blue and the birds kept singing as we bought a house, adopted a puppy, had a baby. My fears of being like those couples whose baby drove a wedge between them turned out to be unfounded. Our bleary eyes kept smiling at each other, the mutual sleep deprivation yet another connection between us.

I felt such gratitude for my dreams coming true that things remained blissful for most of that first year of motherhood.

Then, Marco went back to work.

Increasingly, I felt like I had to do everything, like I was the only grown up in the house. His happy-go-lucky demeanor, which had attracted me, became my bane.

I was overwhelmed. I was trying to manage everything and failing miserably. I kept trying to come up with a system to make things run according to my standards, but Marco was so unmoved by my chore charts and spreadsheets that they would have been more useful as toilet paper.

I sought out self-help mentors, who listened patiently as I complained about—what else—Marco. I worked on myself, but even with my more glaring shortcomings in check, I continued complaining about Marco until one mentor suggested I read The Surrendered Wife.

I recoiled. Me, surrender to Marco? I don’t think so! But, I was desperate enough to check out the book.

Of course, it resonated with me. I was the control freak bemoaning her lazy husband watching TV all day rather than spending time with or supporting her.

At the worst of times, he was incompetent; at the best, I was just smarter.

By this time, he should have known the right way to do things: my way. Though he had barely cooked anything in his life, he would make exotic vegan dishes for me. But I told him to wash the vegetables, which pan to use, how to heat the oil.

For his inexhaustible honey-do list, I told him what to do and how to do it. I knew I had always been hypercritical, but after all this work on myself I was better now. Or so I thought until Laura’s book showed me differently.

Respect? I used to quell the urge to throw something at his head and settle for swearing at him instead, while lamenting that his cursing was unacceptable and traumatic for me. Then we’d argue about arguing, and I’d end up in tears, feeling lonelier than ever.

The Shirelles had lied.

My resentment took aim at his going out. If only he didn’t stay out so late, he would have time to spend with me, time to help me. I resolved to give him an ultimatum.

Only, I knew I would not be prepared to leave him if he did not comply with my demands. Not to mention, I wanted another baby and was soon pregnant again. I decided to put both feet back in and commit myself to Laura’s suggestions.

The first phrase I tried on was “Whatever you think.” It was freeing not to have to solve his problems or tell him what to do or say or wear. (Other family members happily filled in for me, and I could sit back and smile, confident that my man had his own answers.)

When I gave up micromanaging him, I found the silence to explore my own desires.

When resentment creeps back in, my favorite Intimacy Skill comes to the rescue: gratitude. Sometimes I have to force myself to find something to say thank you for, but it always shifts my perspective.

We now have a culture of gratitude in our home. My three year old would even say, “Thank you for saying ‘you’re welcome.’”

How do you respond to that?

My refrain used to be that I didn’t feel supported. Now, I feel so supported that it’s sometimes hard to accept.

When I wanted to fly cross-country for the Cherished for Life Weekend right after being laid off, Marco said to go for it. When I called two days later to say I wanted to blow my (soon to be our) savings to train as a coach, I was sure he’d say I was being naive. Instead, he said, “You would be perfect for that. Go for it!”

I’m still overcome with gratitude to think that, if not for his support then, I wouldn’t be doing what I feel born to do today as a certified coach.

I long for the days of watching TV with that “lazy” husband of mine as he works multiple jobs to support me so I can stay at home with our two boys.

Yes, he even takes out the trash now and, despite claiming to have been traumatized washing dishes in the Marines, does that too!  Not to mention he is a doting father who takes care of the kids whenever I have work to do or a nap to take.

I’m still prey to the illusion that I’ll find the right system to Get Things Done. When I have the urge to dust off those chore charts and honey-do lists, I instead jot down my desires so they stop running circles in my mind. Marco snatches my list and sets to work to fulfill my desires.

As he was leaving the house one day and I asked where to, he said, “To make your dream come true!”

Amid such gallantry, I feel like a queen. With a toddler and a newborn, the chaos gets to me sometimes. But even with baby vomit in my hair, it feels luxurious.

When I get overwhelmed or annoyed at Marco for not doing something “right,” I know what to do (start by washing my hair).

It looks like I’ll have to cut the Shirelles some slack after all.

By Laura Doyle

Hi! I'm Laura.

New York Times Bestselling Author

I was the perfect wife--until I actually got married. When I tried to tell my husband how to be more romantic, more ambitious, and tidier, he avoided me. I dragged him to marriage counseling and nearly divorced him. I then started talking to women who had what I wanted in their marriages and that’s when I got my miracle. The man who wooed me returned.

I wrote a few books about what I learned and accidentally started a worldwide movement of women who practice The Six Intimacy Skills™ that lead to having amazing, vibrant relationships. The thing I’m most proud of is my playful, passionate relationship with my hilarious husband John–who has been dressing himself since before I was born.

6 replies on “I Am So Resentful”

I’m in my third marriage. My husband is nearly 75 and I’m 67. We married nearly 16 years ago so we have no children together. He had never been married before so having been a bachelor for all his life until he was 59, he compares me to other men’s wives. They aren’t like me. They are laid back and easy. We are just two roommates. He won’t let me drive in this city where drivers are crazy and he himself was hit badly and is fighting to get compensated by someone who ran a stop sign. He shows me love, I guess, by doing all the shopping. It upsets me when he doesn’t get what I want for food in the house, I have to snap photos of what I wat and text him. He says he’s a dinosaur having written his PhD on a typewriter. I’m tired of having to do everything. For Passover when we needed a thorough cleaning, and I have severe scoliosis and fibromyalgia, when I was doing the cleaning all by myself, and the floors, I broke down in tears since my back was in such pain I couldn’t mop anymore. The only sympathy I received was from our dog. I’ve tried to find household help, but it’s hard since we live where most of the housecleaning women speak are Mexican and Spanish and I don’t.

Remember the magic phrase “whatever you think” or I actually use “whatever you decide” only works when it’s regarding him and his choices and his decision. When he’s asking you what you want when you go out and such you should tell him what you want nicely and directly

Thank you Stefanie for sharing your story. I deal with lots of resentment in my marriage right now. It is my 3rd marriage and his first marriage. We are both in our 40s with kids from prior relationships. We both work full-time jobs and he is “trying” to get a radio station going and he is a gaming addict. Heck I admit I am addicted to my phone. But I am the one who does 99.9% of the housework. HE will yell at the kids to do stuff and pick their things up as he leaves things laying around. He tells me how hard he works and how he is so busy doing the radio stuff. He talks about how if I didn’t do the house stuff it wouldn’t matter but then he gets upset over the house and always asking what “we” are fixing for dinner and I am the only one who cooks.
I know I really need to work on my resentment and read the Empowered Wife. Thank you again Stephanie for sharing your story. It hit home with me.

Hi Laura. My man and I fell in love at 1st sight 8 years ago in our 40’s. He moved out mid Jan and we have sort of kept in contact – he has called me and sends the odd text, still with kisses on. But he won’t come back. Ive tried out all your recommendations.
I am in shock. Our friends and family are shocked. We have had such a brilliant fun affectionate relationship. I accept our situation now as I am able to write reflectively. We haven’t handled all the challenges very well and have taken it out on each other. I’ve started to take HRT, exercise again, go out to work, buy nice clothes do my hair & make up and I feel completely back to my old self and full of the joys of life. I feel great but I miss my man. After advice I started no contact 2 weeks ago. He hasn’t even tried to contact me. I do trust that this is the right thing to do so that he can reset his feelings for me and attraction levels. I love your recommendations. I had started to say things like: whatever you think, thanking him, apologised for disrespect and asking him for help which received brilliant reactions. But he still won’t come back. We are all locked down and I don’t even know where he is. I am distraught. Can you help please?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *