17 Subtle Signs Your Husband Resents You

Working On the Marriage | | , Writer
Updated On: February 7, 2024
signs your husband resents you

There’s a famous quote by Saint Augustine that states that “resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” Resentment in a relationship affects both parties and can appear in multiple ways. For example, if you are looking for signs your husband resents you, it may show up as anger, criticism, mockery, and even abuse.

When your husband resents you or if you are in a relationship where your partner seems to hate everything you do or say, you may struggle with many conflicting emotions. There are feelings of low self-esteem, a crippling lack of self-confidence as well as the yearning to make things better and make him “fall in love again”. If you feel your relationship can still be saved, read on to discover how to salvage the situation…

17 Subtle Signs Your Husband Resents You

Any relationship expert worth their salt will, at some point in time, refer to Gottman’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. In Biblical terms, the presence of these four horsemen (conquest, war, hunger, and death) signified the end of times. Gottman’s research swaps this metaphor to describe communication styles in a relationship. According to the theory, the four horsemen of a dying relationship are criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.

Among these four, contempt or resentment is considered one of the worst. When a partner communicates contemptuously or resentfully, it indicates long-lasting negative thoughts and an overall feeling of superiority. None of these are situations any person wants to be in, so what can be done to eliminate them? Before getting into the solutions, let’s consider whether you read the room right.

What does resentment look like in a relationship? If you are looking for signs your husband resents you, these are the following you need to keep an eye out for:

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1. There are endless arguments

A study on dealing with anger in marriage by Ohio State University concluded that “Many people feel uncomfortable about expressing anger directly, so they learn not to make an issue of things. Suppressed anger can be dangerous because it is always there, simmering below the surface. Another substitute for expressing anger directly is passive aggression. Chronic criticism, sarcasm, and nagging are some examples.”

One of the most common signs that your husband resents you is that he is constantly looking for a fight. Your well-being can take a beating if your conversations regularly end in arguments, irrespective of the tone or topic. It’s not easy having to fight your ground every day; such behavior can surely be a marital red flag.

2. You rarely spend time together

Forget quality time and moments of intimacy; you and your partner rarely enjoy being in each other’s company. If your husband feels happier doing his own thing and isn’t interested in trying things as a couple, you need to ask yourself what has changed in your relationship. And more importantly, what would it take for you both to get on the same page and look forward to being with each other again?

Related Reading: Love After Marriage – 9 Ways It Is Different From Love Before Marriage

3. There is no affection anymore

Remember the early days of your relationship — when the both of you couldn’t keep your hands off each other? Does it seem too far away? A Reddit contributor summed it up beautifully, “When you start feeling nostalgia for the relationship you’re currently in, you know things are coming to an end.”

One of the more subtle signs of a husband’s changed behavior is a lack of affection. The absence of daily hugs, loving kisses, and even simply holding hands can affect your self-esteem and confidence. When a husband resents his wife, one of the first things to disappear is his physical attraction to her. As a result, the body language changes, and physical touch becomes a rarity. Resurrecting feelings of intimacy could require the intervention of a licensed therapist, so don’t be afraid to seek professional help if possible.

4. He has become “forgetful”

If your husband always remembered important dates such as anniversaries or special celebrations but now forgets birthdays and appointments, it’s a pretty clear sign that there’s something wrong. Don’t try and convince yourself that this is not a big deal. It’s important to feel special and appreciated, and if he doesn’t care enough anymore, then it’s time to address this and resolve the issue once and for all.

Related Reading: How Does Cheating Affect A Woman – An Overview By An Expert

5. You are making all the effort in the relationship

A major cause of dissatisfaction in a marriage is the unequal effort made by one partner. If your husband is not paying attention to your needs or putting any effort into the running of the household, or childcare, or does not contribute financially anymore, it looks like he feels resentful about something but does not have the guts to discuss things, and has chosen to just withdraw from the relationship instead.

6. There is abuse

Let’s put this out here — abuse of any kind is unacceptable. In any relationship, when a partner becomes physically or emotionally abusive, it is time to pay heed and look after yourself first. It’s one thing living with the “my spouse resents me” or he ‘hates’ me realization but quite another to deal with abusive behavior. No matter what the reason behind your husband’s angst and resentment, there is no justification for abuse.

This is not the sign of a healthy relationship, and you need to take immediate steps toward protecting yourself. This might necessitate intervention from family, friends, or even a licensed therapist. If the abuse does not stop, consider taking a break or ending things for good. There are helplines and associations that can provide you with all the support you need to do so.

If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

7. He has been cheating on you

Discovering that there is a third person in your relationship may help you make sense of your husband’s changed behavior. An extramarital affair can both be a cause and a sign of feelings of resentment in a relationship. When your husband resents you, he may have found someone else and now needs excuses to justify his transgressions. Cue the complaints, arguments, and lack of intimacy.

Related Reading: How To Handle A Husband Who Has No Respect For You Or Your Feelings

8. There is a lack of respect

“My husband resents me for not working? He always complains that I don’t contribute to the relationship.” Sounds familiar? Apart from love, mutual respect between both partners is essential for a healthy relationship. If your husband is openly critical of you or indulges in passive-aggressive behavior, it could mean your marriage is in trouble.

If your partner feels resentful about you, there is a tendency to act out indirectly at first. Small incidents and irritations start bothering him, and sarcasm and mockery become his go-to reactions. When left unchecked, these patterns develop into disrespectful behavior and abuse.

9. He’s always complaining and criticizing

When your husband continuously complains and brings up his frustration about anything and everything you do, you know that all is not well. It could start with generalized statements such as “lighten up” or gaslighting phrases like “stop making such a big deal about everything”, but can quickly descend into criticisms about how you dress, who you hang out with, or why you don’t earn more money. When your husband repeats these things repeatedly, the anger and frustration settle in, and the boundaries of anger and respect get blurred.

signs of a husband’s changed behavior
If he just can’t stop criticizing your every action, he, by all means, resents you

10. He keeps you away from his friends and family

Another sign your husband resents you is when he keeps you away from his close circle of friends or family. If your husband refuses to allow you into his family circle or doesn’t include you in his plans with his friends, it could mean he is not entirely content or at peace with having you as a life partner and there’s resentment in your marriage.

Perhaps, there is a sense of shame or disappointment, or he has started feeling like you’re not good enough for him. And that’s why he prefers to keep you at an arm’s length from the people that matter the most to him.

Related Reading: 15 Signs Your Spouse Takes You For Granted

11. He won’t let you make any big decisions

There’s a strange situation that may occur when you earn more than your husband or if you are the primary provider. Your husband may end up feeling emasculated because of his lack of control, which can cause feelings of resentment to build up. Now, he also knows that he can’t speak openly about these feelings and keeps them under wraps.

What he does, however, is try to make all of the big decisions and keep you out of them. In this way, he tries to retain his ‘power’ and reduces you to a figurehead without a day. Your husband being jealous of your success can destroy any chance of a healthy relationship.

12. He brings up old issues

If you had an affair and your husband found out, or if you hurt your husband in the past in any other way, he may find it very hard to forgive and forget. The residual hurt can turn into resentment and taint all your future plans. While it may look like he’s moving on, his secret resentment of you comes up repeatedly. What does resentment look like in such a relationship? This could manifest in different ways, such as bringing up old complaints, constantly referring to the past, or holding on to grudges.

13. He never admits he’s wrong

A friend of mine recently brought up a pet peeve of hers in connection with her marriage. She complained that her husband never admitted he was in the wrong. No matter what the situation, he rarely apologized for any hurtful behavior on his part. “Does my husband resent me?”, she asked. Unfortunately, it sure seems like it. When your husband refuses to take any accountability in the relationship and ignores your feelings, you can be pretty sure that he is not treating you with kindness.

14. He blames you

“You never clean up after the kids.” “You always leave the dirty dishes.” “The house is a mess because of you.” “You keep making us late.” “You are such a control freak.” “You spend too much money.” “Your family is the worst…” If any of this sounds familiar and all you hear in your relationship is a backdrop of complaints and blame-shifting, it’s a sure sign that your partner feels resentful about your marriage.

15. The sex is non-existent

We previously touched upon a lack of physical touch as a sign your husband resents you. Well, take that one step further and remove any form of physical intimacy from the table, and it’s pretty conclusive that something is seriously wrong with your relationship. Sex is essential for any healthy relationship, and when it disappears, it can only be for one of a few reasons — resentment is high up on that list.

Related Reading: Sexless Marriage Effect On Husband – 9 Ways It Takes A Toll On Him

16. He compares you to others

Feeling jealous can make your partner resentful and act out in various ways. For example, he could start comparing you to others openly to make you feel bad. He may even bring up other people’s happy relationships all the time to let you know how discontent and ill-at-ease he is in his.

17. He makes sweeping statements

Signs your husband resents you could include his use of generalized statements to describe your relationship. For instance, if the kitchen is messy, he could complain about how the house is always dirty. When the credit card bill arrives, he could fly into a rage about how you never stick to a budget.

Small transgressions are blown up, and you find your husband moody and angry at all times. When people feel resentful, their minds look out for more and more reasons to hate the other person. Every small mistake is amplified, and the negative attributes precede any positive moments.

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Why Does My Husband Resent Me?

The signs are all clear. It’s pretty evident that your husband feels resentful toward you. This may lead you to wonder, “Why does my husband resent me?” Remember that his resentment could be a culmination of several factors or situations. The signs your husband resents you did not just crop up overnight. Here are a few reasons that might be responsible for your husband’s negative attitude toward you:

1. Lack of communication

If you regularly complain, “My spouse resents me”, it may be because your partner feels unheard or misunderstood; it’s usually a result of bad communication. Honest, direct communication is the cornerstone of a successful relationship — without which things usually take a turn for the worse. If your husband feels constantly dismissed or not taken seriously, it can lead to feelings of resentment.

Related Reading: 15 Warning Signs You Need A Divorce For Sure

2. He might be cheating on you

Infidelity can be a major cause of contempt and resentment in marriage. One possibility is that he is having an extramarital affair and likes to spend time with his affair partner instead of you. The fact that he feels ‘stuck’ with you might make him resent the time spent with you.

3. You may have cheated on him, and he finds it difficult to forgive

Being apologetic about it might not be enough if you’ve cheated on him. He might be unable to forget the betrayal, making him bitter and resentful.

4. You may be closer to your friends than to your husband

This is one of the most common reasons that husbands develop a resentful attitude toward their spouses. They might feel a little intimidated, jealous, or suspicious of your friends — more so if they are male friends. Such thoughts are also the result of insecurity or a patriarchal mindset that a woman or spouse is expected to not talk to or share a rapport with men other than her partner.

5. You both fight dirty

Fighting fairly and respectfully is a sign of a healthy relationship. If you’re hurling abuses, taunting, engaging in personal attacks, blame-shifting, or name-calling him, it might lay the ground for too much resentment from the husband in the marriage. Both partners must solve the problem respectfully and calmly, not accusing or threatening each other.

6. There may be an imbalance in your responsibilities

This is another one of the common reasons why resentment seeps into a relationship or marriage. When one partner feels like they are contributing more than the other or they are more invested in the relationship than their partner, it is bound to create resentment. Whether it’s the house, children, family, or financial matters, if your husband feels he is shouldering a major chunk of responsibility or you’re not contributing as much as him, you might have to deal with contempt and resentment in your marriage.

Related Reading: 13 Ways To Make Him Realize Your Worth

7. You nag, criticize, or treat him like a child

If you talk negatively, try to change him, find fault in everything he does, treat him like a child, and make him feel incapable, he might begin to resent you. You are his partner, not his parent. Putting yourself in the role of a parent and considering your husband a child can make him feel inadequate and ‘less-than’. He might feel like you’re trying to control the relationship or ‘manage’ him.

8. You have a life beyond your husband and marriage

Another reason you might face too much resentment from your husband could be your thriving social life. Friends, family, a great job, a successful career, colleagues to hang out with, interesting hobbies, and focus on self – if you have all of these but your husband does not, he might wrestle with feelings of inadequacy and jealousy. Having a social life beyond marriage is important. There could be several reasons that your husband doesn’t have one – financial stress, extra responsibility, lack of friends, to name a few – which might make him resent you.

sign of feelings of resentment in a relationship
Having your own social and professional life can be a threat to your husband causing resentment

9. You earn more than your husband

One of the most common reasons husbands resent their wives is if the woman is the primary breadwinner or earns more. Social conditioning and patriarchal gender norms across the world put all the responsibility of being the sole breadwinner of the family on men. When a wife earns more than the husband, he feels like his masculinity is being threatened and that he isn’t good enough, which eventually impacts his attitude toward his spouse, making him resentful of them.

10. You make important decisions without consulting him

Making decisions regarding the house, expenses, travel, work, career, kids, or any other important subject without consulting your husband can spell doom for your marriage. Whether it’s buying a refrigerator, inviting friends over, spending time with each other, deciding which school is best for the kids, or booking a vacation, your husband deserves a say. If you do everything by yourself, he will begin to resent you, and eventually, both of you will drift apart in your relationship.

Besides these, there could be other causes as well like

  • Work pressure
  • Familial responsibilities
  • Unresolved conflicts
  • Strained relationships with friends or colleagues
  • Mental health issues
  • Career or financial setbacks
  • Lack of boundaries in the relationship

All these can make your husband resent you or drift apart from you.

Related Reading: 13 Things To Do When Your Husband Ignores You

What To Do When Your Husband Hates You?

A research paper on the optimal characteristics of a happy marriage by the University of Northern Iowa quoted a study by Whisman, Dixon & Johnson (1997). It mentioned that the most common issues that bring couples into counseling are “lack of loving feelings, power struggles, communication, affairs, and unrealistic expectations”. It’s no surprise then that resentment can be the final nail in your relationship’s ‘coffin’ as it’s a cumulation of all these unpleasant factors.

So, what to do when your husband hates you? When your husband resents you and your relationship is rife with passive-aggressive behavior, a lack of physical intimacy, or even name-calling and snide comments, it’s time to talk things through if you want your marriage to work.

And even if you feel the relationship is too far gone to save and there’s nothing to change your partner’s behavior, do the following for your sanity, if for nothing else.

1. Take stock of your actions

Being an adult means taking control. This implies taking a long, hard, honest look at yourself and your contribution towards the mess that is your current relationship. There was a friend of mine who used to complain about her marriage all the time. She used to say things like, “My husband resents me for not allowing me to catch the baby, and my husband resents me for being a stay-at-home mom.

When I asked her to try a different perspective, why she didn’t let her husband be more involved with the household chores or childcare, she had no practical answers. Her inability to treat her husband with maturity was making the situation untenable. When she realized the effect of her actions and opened up to her partner about shouldering responsibility more equitably, both parties felt involved, heard, and appreciated.

Related Reading: What To Do When Your Husband Doesn’t Want You Sexually?

2. Close the communication gap

You could tell all your friends, “My husband resents me for not working” or “My husband hates me but says he loves me” over and over again, but there isn’t much they can do about the situation, except lending you a patient ear and a shoulder to lean on.

Have you ever tried talking to your partner about these negative feelings? Here’s the thing, if you don’t bring to the table your feelings in an honest, straightforward fashion, odds are there will be more miscommunication and ill will. All these then add up to one partner assuming the worst and another partner repeatedly behaving in the same antagonistic manner.

3. Learn to listen

You may feel your husband hates you, or you may know that he is resentful about something in particular. You may also know that it’s going to take some effort on your part to talk things over and not be triggered by what he has to say. If you want to revive a loving relationship, you need to be ready to listen. It won’t be easy and you will have to swallow your pride. But if he is ready to spend time and talk to you, be ready to keep an open mind and let him get things off his chest first.

Quora user Reddgie Thormann had this piece of sage advice to add, “You need to get into your husband’s head. Find out how he feels about himself. You need to talk to your husband and ask him if he dislikes himself. If he says yes, ask him why. Usually, a man dislikes himself because he’s not who/what he thinks he should be. That dislike for himself is transferred over to his wife if she’s been with him for a reasonable amount of time.” Words to think about, for sure.

Related Reading: 15 Warning Signs Your Partner Is Losing Interest In The Relationship

4. Start from scratch

At times, it might be worthwhile to approach the problem with a different perspective. Could you find it in yourself to start afresh? Can put past hurts and transgressions aside for the greater good of making your marriage work? Instead of digging into the past and arguing about age-old incidents, you must focus on moving forward and rebuilding your love.

5. Seek professional help

If you are unable to tackle your problems and things are getting worse, you could try marital counseling. Speaking to an unbiased third party in the form of a licensed therapist can help get to the root of the problem and help both of you forge stronger bonds to face the future together. Needless to say, this option will be more successful if both parties are equally invested in saving the marriage.

It’s not easy feeling this way. No one likes to feel resented or unloved. It brings up terrible emotions of rejection and low self-esteem. The fact that you want to make things work and are ready to take the steps toward building a healthier relationship speaks volumes about your commitment to your marriage. If you feel that there is a shred of hope and all is not lost, try out these suggestions and see if things change for the better.

Or as this Reddit user had to say, “Eventually, he’s going to have to recognize that the current state of your relationship is unsustainable. You can either work to fix things and bring emotional safety and trust back into your marriage or part ways.” It’s time to make that decision.

Key Pointers

  • Resentment is a complex emotion — more corrosive and with longer-lasting effects than anger
  • When a husband resents his partner, the signs become obvious in various ways such as lack of affection, endless arguments, or ugly fights
  • Once you recognize the signs of resentment for what it is, the next step is to get to the root of the problem
  • There are ways to tackle resentment and save your relationship, but they require a commitment from both partners

Dealing with resentment is a complex affair. Unlike anger, it won’t disappear with mere apologies or contrite behavior. If you agree to most of the discussed signs your husband resents you, understand that it will be a long, hard slog before things change. But they can, especially if both of you are committed to changing.

Start by taking the onus of the situation and pinning your husband down for that much-needed heart-to-heart. Only when you are both clear about what has led to this resentment can you begin to remedy the situation. All the best, and remember, if you need to talk to professional, skilled and licensed counselors on Bonobology’s panel are always here for you.

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