If you could take one name, who would you choose to see in the rear view mirror of life? Is it your kid, spouse, a friend or someone from an old relationship? In the final moments, that one person is all that matters. All those words that were left unsaid, promises that you didn’t keep, the what ifs and could haves, flood your mind. You find yourself drowning in melancholy as you rewind your life to figure out where it all went wrong. That’s when you realise you took life for granted, and along with that, your relationships too.
Often, we stop cherishing relationships the way we used to once upon a time. Of the many reasons for it, resentment tops the list. A son hasn’t spoken to his father for a decade; a wife walked away from her marriage of 20 years; a couple who were once inseparable can’t stand each other now—the stories of dysfunctional relationships are everywhere, although with different spins and backdrop. Unless the bitter emotion of resentment is addressed and eliminated in a relationship, it turns sour.
What is this resentment anyway? According to Claire Hatch, a relationship counsellor, resentment is a sneaky emotion that takes more forms than people might realise. It may look like boredom at first, small talks or like an everyday routine of finding flaws in your partner. But eventually, it takes the shape of “less everything”. Less warmth, less affection, and of course, less curiosity and less fascination. In many ways, resentment is like those chronic illnesses that show the standard symptoms in the beginning but destroy the nervous system a few years later. It does the same to a healthy relationship—killing it slowly and silently, without raising any red flags. In the feature, Soulveda explores the reasons that could create the poison of resentment in a relationship, and its antidote.